The Richard Martin Trail is a furrific point-to-point trail that welcomes dogs on-leash. This trail is 10.2 miles long, and it takes you through a charming small town and beautiful natural areas.
To start your journey, head to one of the Richard Martin Trail’s two trailheads. If you’d like to start at the southern end of the trail, head to the Athens trailhead. Or, if you'd like to begin at the northern end of the trail, go to the Elkmont trailhead. Both trailheads offer parking and restrooms, but there’s no water available, so it’s a good idea to bring a bottle or two with you.
If you start at the northern end of the trail in Elkmont, the first thing you’ll see is a historic white church. Then, you’ll walk through a lovely, shaded forest. After that, you’ll walk across a beautiful wooden bridge that goes over Swan Creek. Then, you’ll go through Downtown Elkmont. Here, you’ll pass cute local shops, and you’ll also see a historic caboose.
After you go through Downtown Elkmont, you’ll pass the Battle of Sulphur Creek historic site, where a famous Civil War battle took place. For the rest of your walk, you’ll go through a picturesque wetland area filled with wildlife, including frogs, blue herons, and egrets. There are also tons of beautiful wildflowers in these wetlands, including redbuds, azaleas, dogwoods, and irises.
The trail ends at Coffman-Mitchell Park in Athens. If you’d like to have lunch or a snack with your pup after your walk, a shaded picnic pavilion is available next to the trailhead.
The Richard Martin Trail is a pawesome trail that takes you through the forest, across a creek, and into a scenic wetland habitat. Bring doggy bags so you can clean up after your pup while you’re walking, and have a great time hiking here!
Many people ride horses on the Richard Martin Trail — be on the lookout for them as you’re walking. Also, be aware that the wetland part of the trail can get muddy. There’s also limited shade in the wetland area, and so it’s a good idea to give your dog extra water as you walk through here.