The West Palisades Trail is a pupular trail in the Palisades Unit of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area in Atlanta. Just across the river from its sister trail, the East Palisades Trail, the West Palisades Trail offers a few different routes from two different trailheads.
Most people start the West Palisades Trail at the northern trailhead on Akers Ridge Drive and follow it along different loops to the south and east. There are no bathrooms at this trailhead, though there are some at the edge of the river about half a mile along the trail. The southern trailhead off of the Cobb Parkway does have bathrooms right at the trailhead.
Note that two different trails make up the West Palisades Trail network, and that different maps name them differently. The official West Palisades Trail map from the National Park Service names the paved biking and hiking trail that originates at the Paces Mill trailhead as a branch of the West Palisades Trail, while other maps call it the Rottenwood Creek Trail. If you only walk the unpaved hiking trail that starts at the Akers Drive trailhead and ends just north of Interstate 75, your hike will be about four miles round-trip. If you include part or all of the paved trail, you'll extend your hike to five to seven miles round-trip. Make sure to consult a trail map and plan your route before you begin.
Whichever route you choose, you're in for a treat. This section of the Chattahoochee River is a gorgeous place to bring your dog for an all-day adventure, with sandy shores, chiseled limestone bluffs, and lush forests that are equally beautiful in the green hues of summer and the many-colored coat of fall. In warmer months, the woods are a paradise of blooms in shades of peach, white, and pink. You're also likely to spot wildlife along the trail, including deer and wading birds like herons. Wooden boardwalk sections and bridges over streams add more unique views.
There's a little more elevation gain along the West Palisades Trail than other trails in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, so come ready for you and your pup to get your tongues lolling and pant as you tackle the trail together. Be sure to bring any essentials, such as water and clean up bags.
Whether you take an intense or a leisurely pace, you're sure to have a barking great time at this beautiful river retreat!