Georgia’s Silver Comet Trail is impressive. The paved greenway stretches for 61 miles from Smyrna, in the heart of bustling metro Atlanta, to the Alabama border, where it meets the 33-mile Chief Ladiga Trail. Put them together and you have almost 100 miles of paved trail, making it one of the longest continuous greenways in the United States. And it’s not finished. Plans are underway to connect the eastern portion of the Silver Comet, in metro Atlanta, with a large network of greenways in Cobb County, just north of Atlanta. There’s already a 5-mile spur stretching from the eastern terminus. Eventually, the Silver Comet will connect with the Chattahoochee River and the Atlanta Beltline Trail system. Meanwhile, in Alabama, they’re working on a 6-mile connector that will bring the Chief Ladiga into downtown Anniston, where an Amtrak station offers the potential for a train ride back to Atlanta.
But there’s no reason to wait for any new developments to pan out. The Silver Comet is already a destination for walkers, runners and cyclists right now. The trail has more than 30 established trailheads, many with restrooms and water, and passes through half a dozen small towns on its way to Alabama. The surface is a smooth, 12-foot-wide path of concrete and the terrain shifts from busy suburbs to bucolic farmland as it heads west. Not only is there no traffic to contend with, but the Silver Comet is relatively flat because it follows an old railroad grade. Here are the best destinations along the Silver Comet, whether you’re looking for a quick post-work run or a scenic getaway.
Best Post-Work Run: Heritage Park Section
The Fontaine Road Trailhead doesn’t have bathrooms, but its location in the middle of metro Atlanta’s bustling suburbs makes it prime for a quick after-work run. Start at the trailhead (Mile Marker 1.2) and run west entering the 100-acre Heritage Park, where you can pick up the 1.7-mile Heritage Park Trail, which follows Nickajack Creek through the forest back to Fontaine Road. Connect a short section of Fontaine Road to complete the loop back to the Fontaine Road Trailhead. All in, it’s a 3.5-mile circuit that’s split evenly between the Silver Comet and Heritage Park Trail.