The Silver Comet Trail was once the Seaboard Airline railway, the route of the luxury Silver Comet passenger train New York to Birmingham. A portion of the old railway, spanning from Smyrna, GA to the Alabama state line, is now one of Georgia's most pawpular recreational trails.
After the decline of rail travel, the trail lay in wait until the PATH Foundation undertook a ten-year campaign to develop it as a destination for hikers, bikers, and puppers from throughout the state. Completed in 2008, the Silver Comet has quickly become a weekend mainstay for adventurous pups from metro Atlanta and beyond.
With the "Mile Zero" trailhead on a secluded residential street, Mavell Avenue in Smyrna, the Silver Comet gets off to a suburban start. The railroad trestles ahead, as well as miles of deep forest on the way to the Alabama line, will have your fur-babies making the call of the wild in no time.
The first dramatic crossing is on the bridge over Nickajack Creek at the 2.6-mile point. Hope your buddies aren't afraid of heights! Or afraid of the dark, for that matter: The 700-foot tunnel at mile marker 30.8 is just spooky enough to be fun.
Periodic trailheads lead out to parks and communities along the way. A number of small towns along the Silver Comet have developed luxurious trailheads as part of their own city recreation initiatives. In Hiram, for instance, you'll find an off-leash dog park adjacent to the Silver Comet entrance.
Nonetheless, restroom stops are sporadic. Download a full trail map and plan your pit stops in advance. While facilities are fairly common in the Metro Atlanta portion of the trail, they become increasingly sparse as you venture west.
If 61 miles just isn't enough for your adventurous pups, you can connect to the Chief Ladiga Trail connects to the Silver Comet on its western trailhead, providing an additional 30-plus miles of wilderness on the way to Anniston, AL.