The perfect park

No Piedmont Dog Park for me until my run is over. Cuteness = too distracting.

No Piedmont Dog Park for me until my run is over. Cuteness = too distracting.

Since I moved to Atlanta in September, I’ve been a bit lazy about exploring. Mostly because I’m navigationally challenged, so I figure even if I get lost, as long as I stick close to home eventually I’ll wander onto my street.

I live in Grant Park, so, as you might guess, I tend to run in Grant Park. It’s a nice combination of incline and flat road, with enough variation in scenery that it keeps boredom at bay but not so large that you it swallows you up. But when I was almost taken out by a gaggle of overexcited third-graders standing outside Zoo Atlanta a couple of weeks ago, I figured it might be time to branch out a little bit.

Sad that it took a bunch of 10-year-olds to change my running world. In the past two weeks, I’ve done two runs each in Freedom Park and at Piedmont Park, and I’m mad at myself for not having expanded my running horizons sooner.* Both offer a great change of scenery and terrain, not to mention a look at different types of people I wouldn’t necessarily encounter in Grant Park. I have to drive or take the MARTA to get to the parks, but it’s worth it – I’m finding myself more motivated and excited to go on my runs.

I’m not going to give up running in Grant Park – it is still the closest to me – but it’s nice to know there are other nearby spots to break a sweat and shake things up a little bit.

What are your favorite parks to go running? Are there any I absolutely need to check out? While your at it, vote for your favorite park in Atlanta at Best of the Big A.

*One caveat: While the Piedmont Park Dog Park might be my new favorite place, I was so distracted that I had to stop mid-run to revel in the cuteness. So I had to cut that part out of my route. On the bright side, I’ve decided that when I finish a run in Piedmont, my new reward to myself will be a visit to the dog park.

9 comments Add your comment

g

May 11th, 2011
3:22 am

Kennesaw Mountain

Senior Citizen Kane

May 11th, 2011
4:32 am

Cochran Shoals at the Chattahoochee National Recreation area. Beautiful scenery and totally flat except for one tiny hill. But it can get a bit crowded with people who don’t control their dogs and kids and walk four abreast.

Jim Philips

May 11th, 2011
4:46 am

I also love running in Piedmont Park. But the best scenery is at Stone Mountain Park. One lap around the mountain is five miles. The scenery there can’t be beat.

iRun

May 11th, 2011
5:26 am

Yvonne,

Why not run from Grant Park to Freedom Park and back? It’s maybe an 8-miler, or could be less.

You could also run to Piedmont Park.

I live in Candler Park and I regularly run to Grant Park and Piedmont.

Head north on Boulevard, cross over to Carroll St through Cabbage town then up Krog then east on Edgewood, head north on Elizabeth to N Highland and jump on PATH at Freedom Park.

Or, once you get on Krog, keep going past Edgewood and take a left on Irwin. Right there at the tracks is the Beltline trail. Take it all the way to Piedmont Park.

NL

May 12th, 2011
7:50 pm

Cheatham Hill off Burnt Hickory Road. It offers a hilly woodlands run on wide dirt trails, historical battlefield landmarks, and an exhilarating (or frustrating, depending on your risk taking tolerance) road-crossing at Dallas Highway. One caution: if you run past the Illinois monument though (on the south side of Dallas Hwy), you can easily get lost on the seemingly endless set of trail options.

[...] this week, the topic was parks. And that’s a good place for me to start this entry. My runs are starting to get [...]

Doug

May 14th, 2011
4:42 pm

My fav running route is to start at the Emory Clairmont campus behind the VA hospital on Clairmont, run around the beautiful Lullwater Park and the mansion where Emory’s prez lives, then through the main campus, into beautiful Druid Hills on Oakdale, the Bye Way and Lullwater, back through the campus quad and through Lullwater to end, a total of ~7 miles. Then swim in the outdoor pool at the Clairmont Campus gym. I feel so lucky to have this beautiful nature to run through.

BC

May 15th, 2011
6:07 am

You have got to love Chastian Park of Roswell Rd.

BC

May 15th, 2011
6:09 am

Sorry, off Roswell Road.