You'll find the Sope Creek Trail in the Cochran Shoals Unit of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area in Marietta, Georgia. The criss-crossing trail network has a spiderweb shape and covers about seven miles. Each strand of the web is part of the Sope Creek Trail, giving you various ways to hike the same trail.
One of the highlights of the trail is a scenic ruined paper mill that can be reached by routes ranging from 1.5 to 3 miles long. The parking lot is located on Paper Mill Road Southeast. Though the trailhead lacks bathrooms, it does feature trail information, and a nice touch for canine-human hiking duos—a dual human-and-doggie water fountain! There's also a waste bag dispenser, though it's never a bad idea to bring your own in case the bags run out.
At the trailhead, you'll have the choice of following a multi-use biking and hiking trail, or a hikers-only trail. The hiking trail is located just beyond the picnic area and water fountain. If you want to see tranquil Sibley Pond, you'll need to take the multi-use trail a short distance beyond the trailhead. Otherwise, head out on the hikers-only trail going clockwise and you'll reach the mill ruins in about 0.5 miles. The Sope Creek Mill was destroyed by Union soldiers during the Civil War and now looks and feels more like a ruined castle. It's a fun place to explore, and the shallow, rocky creek behind it is scenic in its own right.
Continue your hike clockwise through the forest. It's a good idea to consult a map to avoid getting confused at the numerous branches of the trail. There are maps to consult at various points along the way. Each branch or strand marked as "SC" is part of the Sope Creek Trail. Note that the Sope Creek Trail connects to the popular Cochran Shoals Trail. Some people specifically plan their routes to include both trails. Most routes feature some hill climbs. While the inclines are mostly gradual, the elevation gain can add up, making longer hikes a better option for people and pups ready for the cardio challenge.
Whether you want to get some exercise or enjoy a calm, meditative walk in a tranquil setting, the Sope Creek Trail is a great place to enjoy a beautiful afternoon with your dog.