The AJC Peachtree Road Race is approaching, and you need nice places to train. There’s no better place to start than with Atlanta’s PATHs, a trail system that travels throughout metro Atlanta. Over the next few weeks leading up to July 4, we take a look at the miles of paved paths that form the PATH trail system and tell you what you need to know about using them to get ready. For more information on the PATH Foundation and to check out all the PATH trails in metro Atlanta, visit pathfoundation.org.
Location: Chastain Park near Buckhead (MAP)
Parking: Chastain Park red lot on Powers Ferry Road near the amphitheater. A large map of the trails is at the parking lot entrance.
About the PATH: Two 3.1 mile mostly concrete loops with some of the trail covering an asphalt side street. The two big loops are mostly the same, with a slight diversion plus there is a 1.6 mile loop that shares portions of both longer loops.
The area/what you’ll see: The loop mostly follows the outside of the golf course bordering Powers Ferry Road and Lake Forest Drive. The loops also pass other park amenities and a portion is separated from the road by trees.
Hills: Some big ones. Being Atlanta, the area is rolling with some fairly long ups-and-downs. There isn’t much that is flat. Be ready to go up and down.
AJC Peachtree Road Race Practice: Run each of the 5K loops once, for a 10K – 6.2 mile tuneup.
Things around the trail: All the amenities of Chastain Park – benches along the route, water fountains, pool, golf course, horse park, tennis courts, baseball and softball fields, arts center, gym, playgrounds, green space and amphitheater. More information here.
Where to eat post-run: Horseradish Grill is on the trail and good, but might be a little nice and too much for a post-run meal. There are many restaurants and coffee shops in the neighborhood along Roswell Road including both Arden’s Garden and Jujubees if you want a smoothie. If you want just about anything else, you’ll too be able to find it including a Waffle House for a big glass of ice cold chocolate milk. I’m partial to Ringside Franks and Shakes, a new hotdog stand about a mile from the park.
My take: It’s a tough 5K course that runs along a couple pretty busy streets, but the sidewalk is nice, and the PATH is well utilized. The golf course and other park amenities add a nice touch, as does the fact that it’s a complete loop with a big parking lot. Don’t be fooled like I was when a friend told me the loop wasn’t hilly. It was including some steep downhills. And make sure you don’t miss the turn into the off of Powers Ferry in to the park. And I would recommend the blue trail finish, taking you along a shaded Park Drive.