Where: Located in Columbus, it runs along the Chattahoochee River from the Lake Oliver Marina in the northern part of the city south to Fort Benning. There are several access points along the trail.
Features: The paved trail now has a distance of about 15 miles. Those walking and riding will have to take the public streets to navigate around the Bibb Mill until that portion is completed. But it’s worth it for those on foot or pedaling, with great views of the river and good opportunities to spot wildlife. Deer, coyotes, turkeys, snakes, rabbits, armadillos all have been spotted on the trail, with signs posted warning that some of the habitat could have alligators. And, please, beware of the water. The river may be ankle to knee deep for a few feet, then drop off like a cliff into 15 feet of swirling water or more. A number of drownings have occurred.
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COLUMBUS FALL LINE TRACE
Where: Located in Columbus, it runs from the 14th Street Bridge downtown to Psalmond Road in the northeast part of the city.
Features: The 11-mile paved trail is a rails-to-trails project that is an appendage to the Chattahoochee RiverWalk. If you do both, its length stretches 26 miles. But exercise caution. The urban trail navigates through several intersections and neighborhoods, crossing heavily traveled roadways at times. Look both ways before proceeding.
FLAT ROCK PARK TRAIL
Where: Located off Warm Springs Road in northeast Columbus. You might want to park at the exit and ride or walk counterclockwise.
Features: It’s a four- to five-mile loop off-road biking trail that also can be covered on foot, although watch out for those tackling it on two wheels. It is a moderately challenging, but clean course, a large portion of it single track. Aside from the trail, there are several dirt roads and worn vehicle and walking paths that allow riders to criss-cross the park up and down hills.
IDLE HOUR PARK
Where: This is purely a paved walking trail — no bicycles allowed — that is situated in north Phenix City between Airport Road and Idle Hour Drive, off Summerville Road.
Features: The picturesque park is anchored by Moon Lake and its geese, with paths around the body of water and a one-mile nature trail that loops into the woods and back. The nature trail does have some incline to it, so a moderate workout is possible.
STANDING BOY CREEK STATE PARK
Where: The park is located in northwest Columbus. Take Georgia 219 north, turning left on Old River Road, then go about a half-mile to the entrance on the left.
Features: Standing Boy is more than 1,500 acres of woods adjacent to Lake Oliver, offering wooded trails and places to fish, swim and boat. Portions of the park are available to deer hunters at certain times of the year. The park, created in 2004, is one of the newest in the Georgia system.
Cost: Parking fee of $5.
COLUMBUS AND PHENIX CITY PARKS
Where: Scattered throughout the two cities, with each having various types of facilities and outdoor recreation.
Features: There are roughly 50 parks in Columbus and Phenix City, with some offering either paved, clay or dirt walking paths. In Columbus, those that have trails include Britt David Park, Carver Park, Cooper Creek Park, Heath Park, Lakebottom Park, Northside Park Recreation Center, Shirley Winston Recreation Center, South Lawyers Lane and South Lumpkin. In Phenix City, aside from Idle Hour Park, Southside Park has a walking trail.
PINE MOUNTAIN TRAIL
Where: Located in Harris County about a half-hour north of Columbus off U.S. Highway 27, with most of the walking trail in Franklin Delano Roosevelt State Park, which is accessed via Georgia 190.
Features: The 23-mile trail offers a combination of secluded forests, streams and wildlife viewing, as well as occasional sweeping views of Pine Mountain Valley. The trail crosses Georgia 190 on occasion. Aside from the main trail, there are several loops that allow for shorter day trips. A popular stretch is the 6.7-mile Wolfden Loop that begins at the WJSP-TV tower near Warm Springs, Ga. It features a decent-sized waterfall — perfect for a quick sandwich picnic — and some scenic streams.
Cost: Any parking inside FDR Park is $5, with a $50 annual pass also available.