Sandy Springs is home to more than a dozen wonderful city parks, all within just a few minutes of the city’s lively downtown area. Whether you are a hiker, a wildlife enthusiast, a history buff or an all-around nature lover, the parks in Sandy Springs have trails for hiking, waterways for fishing, cultural exhibits, and plenty of green space to bask in the fresh air.
Here are eight parks, where to find them, and what you can do in each.
1. Morgan Falls Overlook Park
As one of the most well-known and loved places in Sandy Springs, Morgan Falls Overlook Park is always abuzz with paddlers, picnickers, and people of all ages. The 30-acre park is located on the Chattahoochee River above the Morgan Falls Dam, and it’s a great spot if you are interested in paddling. High Country Outfitters’ Paddle Shack rents standup paddleboards, kayaks, and canoes. Park-goers can also try a guided SUP yoga trip. In addition to watersports, Morgan Falls has a playground, porch swings along the water with scenic views, and even a firepit to lounge around.
2. Abernathy Greenway
This 6.6-acre Abernathy Greenway is a linear park in downtown Sandy Springs. It is home to a one-of-a-kind playground, made up of six playable art pieces, that are designed for kids to climb, swing, and play on. All meant to inspire creativity and thought through play, the sculptures are works of art in their own right like artist Phil Proctor’s Spider Walk, Beth Nybeck’s Twist and Shout jungle gym, and Jeff Hackney’s the Big Imagine, swings with an unobstructed view of the sky. The park was created by the Sandy Springs Conservancy through a grant from Northside Hospital, and the playable sculptures were carefully chosen from hundreds of amazing submissions.
3. Island Ford
Outdoor recreationists of all types should spend some time at the Island Ford section of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, located just north of Sandy Springs. This riverfront park is great for hiking, boating, wildlife viewing, and fishing—the Chattahoochee is stocked with trout, which makes it a destination for fly fishing throughout the year. The park is also home to the Hewlett Lodge Visitors Center where you can learn all about the area’s history.
4. City Green
The four-acre City Green is the outdoor focal point of the new City Springs shopping and dining area and therefore sees a fabulous mix of events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and movie screenings. The park has an outdoor stage, an interactive splash fountain, and plenty of green space for strolling or lounging in the sun.
5. John Ripley Forbes Big Trees Forest Preserve
The 30-acre John Ripley Forbes Big Trees Forest Preserve is a tree, plant, and wildlife sanctuary in northern Sandy Springs. Threatened by urban development in the 1990s, what is now the park was jointly purchased by Sandy Springs and the State of Georgia for preservation. Today, visitors can enjoy a serene walk on the 15-stop self-guided nature tour, which provides information about the forest, its wildlife, and humans’ effects on the environment.
6. Lost Corner Preserve
Located near the city center, Lost Corner Preserve is known for its history as a working farm in the mid-1800s. Though it’s no longer functional, visitors will still find the original homestead, walking trails, a community garden, and an apiary just waiting to be explored. Lost Corner frequently hosts public history lectures where visitors can learn all about the land’s long and fascinating past.
7. East Palisades
Another section of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, East Palisades is tucked into the southeastern corner of Sandy Springs. The park’s trails, which are abundant and well-marked, will challenge hikers and trail runners with their steep grades and rocky sections. Visitors can also explore the exotic-feeling bamboo forest and enjoy views of the river and surrounding forests.
8. Powers Island
The third and final unit of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation area near Sandy Springs, Powers Island is popular for its 2.5-mile hiking loop that showcases the park’s forests and river views. It’s also a favored put-in spot for paddlers who want to experience the Chattahoochee’s eight miles of Class I and II water. Nantahala Outdoor Center operates an outpost at the park where guests can take guided river trips and rent SUPs, kayaks, and tubes.
Written by Madison Eubanks for Matcha in partnership with Sandy Springs GA.
Please note that not all services may be available to the public due to COVID-19 and that Georgia is still under a Public Health State of Emergency until July 12, 2020. For more information on safety guidelines and closures, visit the COVID-19 resource page from the City of Sandy Springs and the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area's announcement page on their website. Interested in learning more about the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area? Check out our insiders guide!