In 1890, Atlanta businessman Joel Hurt was planning Druid Hills to be Atlanta’s “ideal residential suburb”. He approached Frederick Law Olmsted — a co-designer of New York City’s Central Park — to design the Olmsted Linear Parks. Originally, a streetcar ran along the edge of the park. A trolley shelter still stands in the Deepdene segment, at the intersection of East Lake and Ponce.
The park consists of six segments. From west to east, they are: Springdale, Virgilee, Oak Grove, Shadyside, Dellwood, and Deepdene. With the exception of Virgilee, the segments are names after a feature of the segment. Virgilee Park is named after Druid Hills developer Joel Hurt’s daughter who died at a young age. Virgilee Park was originally going to be called “Oaklawn.”
The five western segments are pastoral, large grassy areas punctuated by old trees. The easternmost segment — Deepdene — is very different. Deepdene is a natural woodland with a stream flowing through it. While all the paths in the five western segments are paved, most of the trails in Deepdene have a natural surface. Deepdene is the largest of the park segments, at 22 acres.
Address: 1000 South Ponce De Leon Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30306
Cost of admission: None
Approximate miles of trails: 4
Hours: The City of Atlanta part of the park (Springdale, Virgilee, Oak Grove, and Shadyside) is open 6:00am to 11:00pm; the Dekalb County portion (Dellwood and Deepdene) is open 7:00am to sunset
Miles from downtown Atlanta: 4
MARTA directions: Take the #2 bus from North Avenue or East Lake station. There are several stops along Ponce that are adjacent to the park
Cycling directions: The Freedom Park PATH is near the park
Parking: On-street parking is available on S Ponce and N Ponce alongside the park segments
Geocaching: There are geocaches in the park
Guidebook mentions: Chapter 8 in Hiking Atlanta's Hidden Forests (1st edition)
For more photos, see my flickr album.
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Updated October 9, 2016, December 10, 2017, and March 31, 2018