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Big Creek Greenway Forsyth
Georgia Trails

Trail Length: 6.8 miles Type of trail: In and out
County: Forsyth County, GA Our rating: E
Features: stream, paved, handicapped, family, bathrooms Your rating:
Usage: Medium Added on: November 20, 2011
Last hiked: February 15, 2014 Updated on: March 01, 2014
About these ratings
Additional Trails
Hiking trails in Forsyth County, GA

Directions

Forsyth County Big Creek Greenway begins (or ends, depending on your perspective) at McFarland Parkway and ends at Bethelview Road, following Big Creek (or Vickery Creek) for 6.8 miles in the county. The county plans to extend the greenway in 2 phases, phase 4 to Johnston Road and Phase 5 to Sawnee Mountain on Spot Road, where the Indian Seats Trail offers the best view in the county. The first three phases of the trail are a total of 6.8 miles while Phase 4 and 5 will add 7 additional miles of trail. The northern end of the Big Creek Greenway (Northpoint) will be extended to McFarland Road to create a planned 26-mile path.

The Greenway path is a lineal park featuring a 12-foot wide concrete poured path and incorporates boardwalks in environmentally sensitive wetland areas. Norcross-based Pond and Company designed the Greenway for walking, jogging, biking and inline skating. There is a 15-mile-an-hour speed limit throughout the Forsyth Greenway, including entrances and parking lots. No smoking is allowed with the park. There are four developed entrances to the trail, McFarland Road, Fowler Park, Union Hill and Bethelview Road.

History

Big Creek (Vickery Creek) in Forsyth County
Alpharetta City Engineer Rob Warrilow conceived the original 1.6 mile section of the trail in a 100-year flood plane near Northpoint Mall. He presented his plan to the Alpharetta city council, who endorsed the idea and worked with Rob to find resources to fund the idea. His original plan called for the greenway to follow the river in the flood plain just east of Northpoint Mall.

As city planners for both Roswell and Forsyth County saw Alpharetta's success they wanted to extend the trail into their communities. Forsyth has led the way, completing 6.8 miles of pathway and planning 7 more miles. But Forsyth County would have to wait for a connection to Fulton County's Big Creek Greenway to extend to McFarland Road in order to join the larger plan.

Big Creek/Vickery Creek

Vickery Creek rises in Forsyth County, south-southwest of the city of Cumming. The creek was named for the owner of the land at the headwaters, a Cherokee woman named Vickery. As the settlers moved west they began calling the stream Big Creek. The stream runs some 13 miles to its confluence with the Chattahoochee River just east of the bridge on Highway 9. Today the river is known by both names.

On The Trail

Big Creek (Vickery Creek) in Forsyth County
Traveling north from the McFarland Road Parking Area, the trail follows Big Creek under McFarland Road quickly turning into a elevated boardwalk on the west side of Big Creek that extends to Georgia 400. Watch for some large pine, oak and elm in the flood plain of the river. Also note the lack of small to mid-size trees over much of the flood plain. Just before reaching that road, at 1.1 miles a bridge crosses Big Creek and the boardwalk ends. At 2.1 miles the paved path turns right, leaving the creek and rising to a crossing of Union Hill Road. The county has a minimal parking area with access to the trail.

North of Union Hill the trail once again becomes a boardwalk, crosses Big Creek on a concrete bridge and returns to boardwalk. The distance on the mile markers is reset as the trail passes the Union Hill parking area. My understanding is that the mileage resets on each new section, and the first section was indeed from MacFarland Road to Union Hill.

The trail continues north to Fowler Park at 1.1 miles (total hike at this point is 3.3 miles). Open in February, 2011, Fowler park is a great stop for the kids, with a skateboard park, multiple pavilions, a 1.5 mile walking trail and a dog park. At 1.7 miles the mileage is reset for the last section of the trail, from Atlanta Highway to Bethelview Road.

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