State Botanical Gardens | Best Places To Run in Athens, GA

Tour guides at the University of Georgia love to talk about how the State of Georgia Botanical Gardens and the State of Georgia Museum of Art are both in Athens…not in Atlanta.

And even though the Botanical Gardens are mainly a great place for walking around and looking at nature – it’s also a good (though not great) place to run in Athens – especially to change things up and get off the roads. Here’s what it’s like…


Distance – Various. There’s lots of trails available. The biggest loop you can do is the White + Orange Trail, which is 4.1 miles.

Directions – (click here for Google Map)

Nuisance Factors – Lots of roots – especially once you get away from the river. Awkward turns, and uneven trails up away from the river (great for walking – not running). You aren’t going to be setting any speed times here. Lots of steep hills. Depending on the time of day, there can be lots of people out for a stroll on narrow trails, plus the occasional off-leash dog, insane bunny, or freaked-out squirrel.

Bonus Factors – Really interesting trails. Beautiful scenery. The stretch along the Middle Oconee River is distractingly stunning, really fast, flat – and generally super-fun. Possibly the best 1 mile run in all of Athens. Maddening – but helpful hills. Generally quiet. Not too busy during off-hours. The White + Orange Trail Loop is a nice almost even 4 miles.


Photo of a Map Of Georgia Botanical Gardens Running Trails
Map of The Trails
Orange Trail Botanical Gardens
Oh Yeah – No Dogs Allowed
The Orange Trail goes through the woods at the State Botanical Gardens
Beginning of the Orange Trail
Orange Trail meanders along the stream in the State Botanical Gardens
Orange Trail Runs Along A Stream
Orange Trail Near Oconee River
Near The River The Trail Is Walled In
Trail Along Middle Oconee
Orange Trail Along Middle Oconee
Orange Trail Along The Middle Oconee River
Orange Trail Along The Middle Oconee River
Bottom Of Botanical Gardens
Orange Turning Into White Trail
White Trail Along The Middle Oconee River
White Trail Runs Almost On Top Of The River
Picture of roots on the Orange Trail at the State of Georgia Botanical Gardens
Roots Become A Nuisance Away From The River
The White Trail in the Botanical Garden Woods
The White Trail In The Botanical Garden Woods
Picture of the end of the White Trail at the Botanical Gardens
The White + Orange Trail Begin + End At The Main Parking Lot

So – you should give the State Botanical Gardens in Athens, GA a try. You won’t set any PR’s – but it is a great place for an easy run in a different scenic setting. Here’s directions to the State Botanical Gardens.

By Nate

I'm Nate Shivar - I live in Atlanta and love exploring the city, outdoors, books & Internet. Read about me, my Now page, or my work.

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