After spending time in bicycle friendly Breckenridge CO, we came back to Atlanta with a different outlook, more experienced riders and a desire to find some great places to bicycle Atlanta. Enter the Atlanta BeltLine.
The Atlanta BeltLine is built on former railroad paths and when complete, will be 22 miles of continuous trails circling Atlanta and connecting 45 neighborhoods. Note, at some point this will be a continuous trail, but at the moment, these are out and back trails.There are five sections of the BeltLine: Northeast, Northside, Westside, Southwest and Southeast. My only complaint about the BeltLine is that it’s difficult to figure out where to get on the trails and which trails are currently open. Here are three trails currently open for bicycling Atlanta on the BeltLine. We’ve been on each of these and we’ll tell you where to park and what to expect.
The Atlanta BeltLine trials we’ve done have been paved and flat, perfect for the novice rider, or even the child on training wheels. Another great bonus for families, there are several playgrounds and interesting stops along the routes to keep kids engaged and entertained. So, here are three trails…
Length: About 1 mile from Ardmore Park through Tanyard Creek Park.
Where to Get On: Parking is available at Tanyard Creek Park along Collier Road (there is a sign that says Tanyard Creek Park). You’ll have to look for the entrance to the BeltLine, it’s not well marked and easy to miss.
What You’ll Find: Along this route are two playgrounds and a large field where we saw kids playing baseball. At one point you go under a railroad tressel through a bridge, which was quite fun.
Length: 2.25 miles from 10th St. (tip of Piedmont Park) and Monroe Drive to Irwin St.
Where to Get On: Park on the street at 10th Street and Monroe or in the pay lot at Park Tavern restaurant at the corner of 10th and Monroe.
What You’ll Find: At the moment, this is the best section of the BeltLine and most easily accessible. It was interesting to me to view the city from this perspective. As anyone who has been to East Atlanta knows, they have fabulous neighborhoods, but you just can’t get there from here. Along the BeltLine, we easily rode through some of Atlanta’s most historic neighborhoods. We stopped to watch skateboarders at the Old Fourth Ward Skate Park and play on the playground. We watched as Alex Rodriguez’s sculpture Whirling Wheels was installed along the route and I pined for more time so we could visit a few of the shops and restaurants in Inman Park. In Inman Park, we branched off on the Freedom Park Trail and just a short distance from the Carter Center.
Length: 2.4 miles from White Street to Westview Cemetery and includes the historic West End, Mozely Park and Westview.
Where to Get On: We got lost in a not so great neighborhood trying to find the trailhead. We finally found the trail and parked on the street in a neighborhood where I wasn’t sure whether it was ok or not to park.
What You’ll Find: The ride to Westview Cemetery was along a busy roadway and of the three sections, this one had the fewest people on it. Gordon White Park is a pretty pocket park, but I’d like to see more areas like this along this trail.
This apparently was the trail I thought I was going on when I found the West End Trail. I was looking for the splash pad at D.H. Stanton Park in Peoplestown which looks like a lot of fun and is open May 1 thourgh Oct. 1. I’m still not clear if the BeltLine actually hooks up to this park yet or this is a future trail.
Art on the BeltLine
Through November, there is an extra incentive to bicycle Atlanta on the BeltLine. The third annual Art on the BeltLine is showcasing temporary visual and performance art from Sept. through Nov. 2012. We watched as they installed one of the sculptures along the Eastside loop. In addition to sculpture and paintings, there are also performances. You can view a complete schedule at the Art of the Beltline website. Be sure to check out my neighbor Laura Noel’s piece, The Enchanted Forest of Books.