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.
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.