“A quick little jaunt through shady woods next to a gently flowing river.”
— Heather Pruner
If you are here for a paddling excursion and would also like a (short) hike in the woods to get into the shade (but want to explore more nature), this trail can be worth checking out. It's not necessarily day-trip worthy as it's very short (just shy of a mile total), flat, and straight-forward - but the trail is still nice if you are near the boat ramp anyway. There are a couple of impressively large old-growth oaks near the beginning of the trail which are worth seeing.
Need to Know
There is a $3.00 parking fee (bring exact cash) or it will be covered by the annual Chattahoochee NRA parking pass. This pass covers all other Chattahoochee NRA trails for one year and can be bought at the visitor center at Island Ford.
Start by the boat ramp. Looking to the left of the "check the flow..." and "lifejackets save lives" sign, you'll see the dirt path of the trail clearly winding up into the woods. This will take you into the trees right along the river heading southwest. Almost immediately, you'll see a couple of large old-growth oak trees on your left.
Continuing on, the trail stays by the river and is completely flat for about 0.3 miles, then begins a short jog to the left (south) around a ravine and then back to the right, hugging the ravine all the while. After this, at about 0.4 miles, the trail becomes overgrown and impassable. You'll have to begin your return journey here.
On your way back, when you get to the point of the ravine bend, you can also go right instead of turning left back towards the river. This takes you through a few hundred yards of thin, young woods before ending at a clearing near a soccer field. Head back to reconnect with the main trail and follow the way you came back to the boat ramp. The entire trail including the extension to the ball field is around one mile round-trip.