The Kirkwood Urban Forest is a testament to the power of community. Once an illegal dump site, this 7.5-acre tract of land is now a thriving park that has been designated as a nature sanctuary by The Audubon Society.
The City of Atlanta acquired the land for the park in 2005, then turned it over to members of the Kirkwood Neighbors Organization, who put in thousands of volunteer hours to clean it up. They repurposed dumped building materials to build trails and other park features, cleared invasive species, replanted native plants, and restored the section of Hardee Creek that flows through the property. Trees Atlanta also helped by planting hundreds of trees, transforming a deteriorating landscape into the lush oasis that greets park visitors today.
One of the park's best dog-friendly features is its trail network. The trails cover about one mile and have several branches you can connect in different ways to vary your route a little bit each time you come through. There's so much to hear and see along the way—the gentle trickle of Hardee Creek, grass waving in open meadows, frogs splashing into the pond, fruit and nuts growing in the orchard, and plants blooming in the rain and shade gardens.
Wildlife thrives in the Kirkwood Urban Forest. The meadow draws several species of butterflies. Woodpeckers drum on the trees while hawks soar overhead. Songbird species including wrens, warblers, goldfinches, and chickadees sing from the trees. Poppies, violets, and phlox, as well as what's been planted in the community garden beds, bloom in warmer months.
The park has a few places where you can relax and hang out, including a covered pavilion and picnic tables. There are also a few places where you could spread a blanket. Just remember to keep your dog on a leash and to clean up after them. You will need to bring your own waste bags and water. Limited parking is available at the DeKalb Street trailhead, and you can otherwise park along the street.
Bring your dog to this hidden haven and you're sure to leave inspired.