5 Within 50: Pace Yourself


While the metro-Atlanta area that we Gwinnetians call home isn’t exactly known for it’s high mountain peaks and thundering waterfalls, you’d be surprised at the natural wonders that exist no more than 50 miles outside of Gwinnett. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to load up a backpack, strap on a fancy pair of hiking boots or know how to read a map to enjoy the perks of the great outdoors (though the latter may come in handy). 

The beauty of nature is that there are no prerequisites to enjoying it. Even the most skeptical homebody can look out their window and witness wind blowing, leaves falling, rain dropping.

For that reason, this list of our favorite hikes around Gwinnett is organized based on factors such as challenge level, attraction, distance, etc. so that you can choose the trails that best fit your needs this spring. So fill up your water bottle, grab a hiking buddy and let’s get outside, Gwinnett!

Level 1:
Indian Seats Loop @ Sawnee Mountain  1.5 (or 3.2) miles
~28 miles from Gwinnett

The Indian Seats is a go-to trail in the metro-Atlanta area, and there’s a good reason for it. In just 20 minutes, you’ll be on the top of Sawnee Mountain taking in views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you’re looking to hike longer, opt for the Indian Seats Loop Trail, which is about 2 miles longer than the out-and-back trail. 

Address to trailhead: 2500 Bettis Tribble Gap Rd, Cumming, GA 30040

Level 2:
Vickery Creek Trail @ Roswell Mill
3.4 miles
Dog friendly
~33 miles from Gwinnett

If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of suburbia without traveling too far, this is a great option. You’ll find yourself surrounded by trees and sounds of the river for most of the hike. Be sure to walk across the covered bridge and start (or end) your hike at the breathtaking Vickery Creek Falls for the full experience.

Address to trailhead: 95 Mill St. Roswell GA 30075

Level 3:
Preacher’s Rock
2.0 miles
Dog friendly
~50 miles from Gwinnett

Similar to Sawnee Mountain, Preacher’s Rock is a quick hike. In fact, it’s one of the easiest hikes along the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. It should be noted that the last ¼ mile is a steep incline, so pace yourself. Besides, you don’t want to miss the overlooks and wildflowers that can be spotted on the way up the mountain.

Address to trailhead: GA-60, Dahlonega, GA 30533

Level 4:
East Palisades Trails & Bamboo Forest 
3.3 miles
Dog friendly
~32 miles from Gwinnett

Maybe you’ve had enough of streams and overlooks for a bit. Don’t fret. The East Palisades trail offers a completely unique experience. Hidden in the trees along the Chattahoochee River is a bamboo forest that will have you forgetting you’re in the US. You’ll have to wander a mile or so farther than the trail to reach the bamboo, but it’s worth it!

Address to trailhead: 1425 Indian Trail NW Sandy Springs, GA 30327

Level 5:
Mt. Yonah
4.5 miles
Dog friendly
~50 miles from Gwinnett

If you’re looking for a hike to get you out of your comfort zone, the Mt. Yonah trail will get you there. It’s a fairly long trail, and a good portion of it consists of steep, rocky inclines. Don’t give up! You’ll quickly forget about the turmoil of your journey up the mountain once you get a peek at one of the most stunning mountain top views in the state. Make sure to snap a few pictures at the insta-worthy overlook. After all, you earned them!

Address to trailhead: GA-75, Cleveland, GA 30528

Maps of all trails mentioned can be found on alltrails.com. We recommend using a map while hiking in case of poor trail markers or lost reception.