"This is a great park! Why did they put it in a hole?" is a question BeltLine landscape architect Kevin Burke says people often ask about Historic Fourth Ward Park. The reality is that the park is a great example of "green infrastructure", preventing adjacent neighborhoods from flooding while also providing a place for nature, fitness, and events.Read More
Since I needed to be at the park by 8:00am on a Saturday, there was very little traffic when I headed out. As a result, I decided to roll straight down 10th Street between my place and the park.
Even during normal traffic conditions, Piedmont Park is quite convenient to access by bike, either via the BeltLine or by taking Myrtle or Charles Allen to the 10th Street cycletrack. If riding MARTA, there are quick rides from Arts Center, Midtown, or North Avenue station.
Distance: 1.9 miles
Traffic: Very little, because of time of day
Lately I've been trying to learn more about what I'm seeing when I look at nature, so I've been attending informative events put on by groups all over town. This weekend I decided to try out an Atlanta Audubon Society field trip for the first time. This was my first time ever birding.
I met the group leader, Jason Ward, and the other birders at the Piedmont Park community center. There was another complete newbie there, so I didn't feel alone. Jason looked at his numbers from previous walks in Piedmont Park at the same time of year, and we set a goal to see 45 species over the walk that was estimated to last 3 hours and cover 2.5 miles.
Soon, we set out. This was one of the first mornings of the year that had felt like Fall, with the temperature being around 55ºF at the beginning of our walk. We meandered around the park, checking out the different bird habitats. There was a 5K happening in the park with some loud music, which meant some of the birds had relocated to different areas of the park than they would usually be in.
I had a great time my first time birding. The group was super chill, they were friendly to newbies, and some of the more experienced birders would add helpful tidbits about how to recognize birds or the behaviors of different species. I personally saw 29 species, while the group as a whole saw 44.
I also thought it was pretty neat to go birding in what is probably the most visited park in Atlanta. There were different types of birds in different areas of the park. Jason mentioned that he thinks that Piedmont Park has great birds, but that most birders neglect it because they don't expect it to.
Jason does a Piedmont Park bird walk the first Saturday of every month, and I felt like it was a great first birding experience. I recommend checking it out. The Atlanta Audubon Society has a list of their field trips online with more information about each. They also have a checklist of birds in Atlanta available on their website.
I wanted to take some photos for this site, so in the afternoon, I covered most of the same ground again. I took a lot of photos of the park's large tulip poplars, magnolias, and pecans. The weather was quite nice, so I stayed out a long time. More photos are available on my Piedmont Park page.
Finally, I wandered up and down the BeltLine interim hiking trail that follows along the East side of Piedmont Park between 10th Street and Montgomery Ferry.
Combining the hike and the bird walk, my phone recorded 27,439 steps and 8.6 miles.
To come back, I took a little detour through the park and then took my default route of cycletrack -> Myrtle -> 5th Street and then through Georgia Tech.
Distance: 3.8 miles
from Decatur MARTA station
I biked from my place to Five Points station. From there, I took the train to Decatur station.
The 2.7 miles from Medlock Park to Shamrock Forest was the most consistently steep area I've biked in in Atlanta, which is really saying something. Long, steep uphills were followed by long, steep downhills, over and over again. It wasn't fun, but I eventually made it to Shamrock Forest. Hooray for having a wide range of gears!
Distance: 5.7 miles from Decatur station
Difficulty: Very strenuous
Traffic: Very little, other than moderate traffic on Medlock Rd.
This was my first time at Shamrock Forest. Years ago, I met someone who was also really into urban hiking, and he told me about this trail, but I didn't get around to it for a while, and then I completely forgot about it. I was planning to go to the Tiny House Festival, so I figured I'd check out a trail or two near downtown Decatur. When I looked at the map to plan out my day, I saw Shamrock Forest and remembered how highly it was recommended. It was a bit of a ride to get there, but it was totally worth it. That said, if I go back I might take an Uber or convince a friend with a car to go with me.
The ride back was much more relaxing, even though there were some heavy traffic sections until I got onto the PATH trail.
Distance: 5.6 miles to Decatur station (and later 9.8 miles back to West Midtown)
Difficulty: Very strenuous
Traffic: Moderate to heavy until reaching PATH trail
The Tiny House Festival
The whole reason I had chosen to hike in Decatur on this day was that some of my coworkers were going to the Tiny House Festival. I would love to one day live in a tiny house, so I was excited to check out the festival with them. We got to tour several tiny houses.
My Day's Stats
Hiked: 3 miles
Walked: 2 miles
Biked: 23 miles
Transit: 6 miles