|Trail Length: 6.1 miles||Type of trail: In and out|
|County: Fulton County, GA||Our rating: E|
|Features: river, paved, handicapped, fishing, bathrooms, 60hikes||Your rating:|
|Usage:||Added on: December 15, 2000|
|Last hiked: July 04, 2010||Updated on: August 14, 2010|
|About these ratings|
Hiking trails in Fulton County, GA
In a single day thousands of cars stream by an obscure driveway just north of a long abandoned furniture store at North Point Mall. For those that do stop Big Creek Park offers peace and quiet from a hectic day at the office or a tranquil moment after a couple of hours of power shopping.
During the winter when weather makes it difficult or unproductive to go to the mountains, we use Big Creek to give our dogs (and ourselves) a treat from the standard around-the-neighborhood outings. With the trees bare it is easy to spot some of the large wildlife that still call Big Creek home. We have seen deer (bucks and doe), wild turkey and copperheads from the paved path and many smaller mammals from the wood-chip path that runs through a swampy marsh.
In this area a number of feeders have been built, designed to attract wild birds of the area. During the summer the marsh is alive with songbirds. The winter tends to attract finches, bluebirds and an occasional cardinal.
Just outside the bathrooms is a bulletin board that marks the trailhead. Beverages can be purchased from machines near the bathroom. As you pass the trailhead the unpaved, wood-chip covered trail veers off to the right. This wide trail is well maintained and normally passible even after heavy rains, although appropriate footgear should be worn. Since this is a marshy area, be careful with young children and dogs because snakes may be a problem.
The path continues to a wide, elevated bridge over the area, permitting excellent views of the flora and fauna of the swamp. Leaving the bridge, birdhouses can be spotted to right. The path skirts the northern end of the swamp, across a storm drain from the shopping center next to the park, then cuts back through the center of the marsh. This area of the trail can be muddy at times. From here the path joins a small tributary of Big Creek that drains the swamp. Shortly the path comes to a staircase that rises to the paved path.
From this point there are three options. To the right, the path rises slowly to Mansell Road. It is an easy climb. Ahead the path crosses Big Creek and follows the south bank of the creek back to the center of the park. To your right a boardwalk returns you to the southern edge of the swamp, following the northern bank of the river. Half-a-mile on either trail and the paths meet at a second bridge across Big Creek.
Take a couple of minutes to view the creek from the vantage point of the bridge crossing. Strewn with logs to the point of being impassible the creek creates an unusual scene just a few feet from a popular north Georgia mall. Returning to the 4-way intersection from the bridge the paved path to the right takes you towards Haynes Bridge Road, now continueing some 5 miles north from Haynes Bridge to Webb Bridge Road.
After you pass under the bridge the path to the parking at Haynes Bridge comes off to the left. The path continues, winding through the low marsh near the river. As you approach Kimball Bridge Road the footpath curves, running parallel to, but not next to this main road. The path rises to the street, crossing at a traffic light. From the road it returns quickly to the river.
From Kimball Bridge to Old Milton Parkway (1.6 miles) the Big Creek floodplain widens and the amount of birds and mammals increases. The path passes under heavily travelled Old Milton Parkway and continues north past a series of apartment homes. The distance between Old Milton and Webb Bridge Road is 1.2 miles. At .3 miles north of Old Milton is the parking lot for the north end, which is really along the side of the street. As you pass the YMCA building, above you on the left, the park once again becomes a more tranquil, less used setting. At .75 miles north of Old Milton an unmarked path comes off to the right, just after a bridge. A brief walk down the path is a trail head with map and directions for enjoying an off-path experience. This combined mountain bike-hiking trail is enjoyable and feature a quick climb up a rise.
The trail currently ends at Webb Bridge Road, however the city of Alpharetta intends to expand it further north and further south.