Atlanta, GA: Sope Creek

A favorite urban escape from Atlanta, Sope Creek offers a wooded playground for hikers, trail-runners, and photo-buffs.
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A favorite urban escape from Atlanta, Sope Creek offers a wooded playground for hikers, trail-runners, and photo-buffs.

Just outside Marietta (and only a short drive from Atlanta), the Sope Creek trails are a popular gem in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. This 4.75-mile lollipop starts at the trailhead off Paper Mill Road, and traces the idyllic Sibley Pond before ducking into tree cover and picking up the ‘main trail,’ the main artery of Sope Creek. This thoroughfare is popular with dayhikers and trail runners, and what it lacks in solitude, it makes up for in relative remoteness. With blackberry stashes, cardinal flowers, and azaleas heading a diverse mix of flora, this trail network seems to take the ‘urban’ out of the urban jungle. -Mapped by Scott Sanders

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 7.6

Waypoints

SOC001

Location: 33.9379044, -84.443161

From the Sope Creek Trailhead parking lot (fee applicable), take the wide gravel trail next to the trail sign and fee box. Hike southeast toward Sibley Pond.

SOC002

Location: 33.9372597, -84.4416656

Turn right @ 4-way intersection, heading toward Sibley Pond. Bear right at the lake's edge to walk along the shore towards the end of the lake.

SOC003

Location: 33.9364128, -84.4422455

Turn right @ 3-way intersection heading uphill away from the lake.

SOC004

Location: 33.9370499, -84.443428

Turn left @ 3-way intersection.

SOC005

Location: 33.9365501, -84.4452362

Go straight @ 3-way intersection.

SOC006

Location: 33.9355621, -84.443718

Go right @ Y-junction.

SOC007

Location: 33.934948, -84.442688

Go right @ Y-junction.

SOC008

Location: 33.9346619, -84.4424362

Turn right @ Y-junction.

SOC009

Location: 33.9342384, -84.442482

Turn right @ 4-way intersection onto a large wide trail. This main trail is heavily used by hikers, runners, and mountain bikers. Several side trails spur off this main trail. Stay on the main trail unless waypoints specify otherwise.

SOC010

Location: 33.9336624, -84.4430161

Go left @ Y-junction, following main trail.

SOC011

Location: 33.9328842, -84.4424667

Go straight @ 3-way intersection, following main trail.

SOC012

Location: 33.9280891, -84.4433136

Go right @ Y-junction, following the main trail and crossing over a small seasonal spring.

SOC013

Location: 33.9269753, -84.4437027

Continue straight (bearing right) @ Y-junction, continuing to follow the main trail.

SOC014

Location: 33.9268913, -84.4438248

Go left @ T-junction, continuing on the main trail.

SOC015

Location: 33.9263344, -84.4438629

Continue straight @ 3-way junction on the main trail.

SOC016

Location: 33.925724, -84.4439316

Stay left on the main trail (do not take the right turn).

SOC017

Location: 33.9244652, -84.4435806

Continue straight @ 3-way intersection.

SOC018

Location: 33.9240875, -84.4437866

Continue straight @ 3-way intersection, still following the main trail.

SOC019

Location: 33.9214287, -84.4469376

Bear left @ Y-junction.

SOC020

Location: 33.915863, -84.4468079

Go right @ 3-way intersection off of the main trail. Stay on this packed gravel trail for about 100 yards to Waypoint 21.

SOC021

Location: 33.9149094, -84.448555

Turn right @ 4-way intersection, just before the small bridge. From here, the trail continues back into the woods on a narrow dirt path paralleling a small creek on the left. In the summer, blackberry stashes are common here.

SOC022

Location: 33.9188309, -84.4516144

Continue straight @ 4-way intersection.

SOC023

Location: 33.9194412, -84.4514465

Go straight @ 3-way junction. To the left, the trail veers over to a view of the stream.

SOC024

Location: 33.9201508, -84.4501877

Continue straight @ 3-way intersection.

SOC025

Location: 33.9215508, -84.4472809

Take a hard left @ 4-way intersection back onto the main trail. This is the same junction as Waypoint 19, and from here you'll retrace your steps back to Waypoint 9/Waypoint 26.

SOC026

Location: 33.934227, -84.4424133

Bear right @ Y-junction to stay on the main trail.

SOC027

Location: 33.9351501, -84.4403152

Bear right @ 3-way intersection, following the main trail.

SOC028

Location: 33.9363441, -84.4390335

Turn left @ 4-way intersection to stay on the main trail. Immediately after the turn, there is a large exposed root from a fallen tree.

SOC029

Location: 33.9363708, -84.4403915

Bear right @ 3-way intersection to follow the trail around the pond by crossing the dam. Continue straight and uphill (ignoring any side trails) on the way back to the parking lot.

Sibley Pond

Location: 33.9372444, -84.4416504

©Scott Sanders

Pond View

Location: 33.9368178, -84.4417441

©Scott Sanders

Sibley Pond

Location: 33.9364624, -84.4422607

©Scott Sanders

Fallen Tree

Location: 33.9348773, -84.4426131

©Scott Sanders