This trail is #2 in the book 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Atlanta. I picked this book up recently and I’ve set the goal of hiking all 60 trails in the book. With this hike I’ve completed 4 of them, only 56 to go!
The Big Trees Preserve is off Roswell Road in Sandy Springs, the trailhead is actually in the south parking lot of the North Fulton County Annex. The preserve has several trails that criss-cross each other, which confused the heck out of me but admittedly that’s not always hard to do when it comes to navigating. Your hike starts off on a paved path and then splits onto a mix of packed dirt and wood mulch, certain areas of the trail had piles of mulch where they were improving the trail. Depending on the branch of the trail you take the hike can be from 1.2 miles and up, I ended up at 1.3 miles over a 35 minute hike. There are some steady hills on the Backcountry Trail and although the book states they are “so well done they are effortless” they gave me a pretty good workout.
You get some nice views of a rocky creek as you wind through the trails. My dog cooled herself off in some of the clear pools that formed. Several of the trails wind along and over the creek with small bridges to cross. In certain areas you can walk along the creekbed on rocks and still stay dry. There is quite a bit of wildlife as well with bird feeders scattered throughout. I saw a variety of birds as well as squirrels, chipmunks and a couple lizards. Some of the trees are marked to identify them, there are a lot of large white oaks in the preserve. This is a great escape from the city that sits just outside of the area and is secluded enough to block out the traffic noise from Roswell Road.
One complaint on this trail, and I’m not sure if it was just the people there this particular day, but even though the trail sign clearly states that dogs must be leashed at all times I came across 3 different people allowing their dogs to run free. I forgot my leash and home and had to MacGyver one up so I used an old cell phone charger tied around my dog’s collar to “leash” her. May have looked totally redneck but it got the job done. One family had a little schnauzer with a bad attitude, they were holding the leash but allowing the dog to run free. We passed each other 3 separate times and each time they’re dog ran up to my dog an started growling and barking, they would run up and grab him and say, “Sorry, sorry about that.”, but still didn’t put him on the leash. Another couple had two large dogs running free and as I passed one of them said, “We’re good here, all of us are friendlies.” That’s not the point though as you don’t know how my dog will react to your dog running up to her. There are also people who are quite afraid of dogs and even if you have the friendliest dog out there they could be intimidated. So a note for those that hike with dogs, please leash your dog at all times. My dog is super-friendly but she will defend herself if need be, and I absolutely love dogs but if a dog runs up to me snarling and barking I’m not going to take too kindly to it.
Even with the dog problems I enjoyed this little trail. It’s good for a quick hike and the continuous tree cover keeps it fairly cool. It’s nice to find something like this so close to the city where you can tuck away for a little while and avoid all the hustle and bustle.