Beachside towns rightfully lay claim to the most active longboarding communities -- the sport's origins trace back to Hawaii in the '50s, and the hype expanded to California soon after. Today, though, there's plenty of long-distance pumping and slick tricks happening all over the world -- and Atlanta is no different.
No matter your skill level, though, there's a paradise of pavement for you in -- or very close to -- Atlanta. We’ve narrowed it down to five of the area’s parks and paved trails that offer model longboard landscapes -- perfect for all skill levels, from newbie to seasoned pro.
1. Tanyard Creek Park
You can find lots of paved trails in Atlanta that are perfect for longboarding. (Sasha Bond)
The Northside BeltLine Trail runs through this 15-acre park, tucked away in the Collier Hills neighborhood of Buckhead. The setting is exceptionally scenic: Abundant leafy trees line the edges of the paved path, which passes beneath a 30-foot-tall wooden railroad trestle before reaching a sizable metal bridge that traverses the picturesque eponymous creek below. Because of the trail's obscured entrance -- it's on a tight bend of road where Overlook Drive meets Collier Road -- the park remains only lightly trafficked. It's a genuine natural sanctuary within city limits, and its pavement winds only slightly -- making the mile-long path a mostly straight shot through, perfect for any longboarder looking for plenty of space for new learners or skilled speed-seekers.
2. Piedmont Park
Atlanta's iconic Piedmont Park is undoubtedly one of the city’s most visited, which means its paved 4-mile loop is often busy with runners, dog walkers, cyclists, inline skaters and other local outdoor lovers. Experts ready to dodge passersby, while pushing through a few slight but sudden elevation changes, will find plenty to love. You get plenty of sweet views, from Atlanta Botanical Garden's gorgeous exhibits at its entrance, the gushing Legacy Fountain and the wide, open meadows and newly opened wetlands and woodlands and, of course, the skyline view that has rightfully made Piedmont Park so famously beloved.
3. Lucky Shoals Park You can find plenty of space at Lucky Shoals Park, a great spot for beginners. (Peter Pearson, flickr)
This Norcross park, located in Gwinnett County about 20-minutes from the city, is popular with longboarders just starting out for its lack of crowds. Drawn to its many other amenities, from the rec center to indoor sports courts and outdoor fields, few folks can be found making use of its paved trail. Without so many human obstacles, that 1.14-mile loop is absolutely primed for intrepid thrill-seekers attempting high speeds. Timid longboarders-in-training will appreciate the lack of an audience, too.
4. Silver Comet Trail
The annual Chief Ladiga Silver Comet Skate Challenge is inarguably the ultimate longboard feat on the legendary paved trail, but that's not the only reason to bring your board out to Smyrna. The distance is certainly a highlight -- with the Chief Ladiga connection, the trail is the second-longest in the state -- but it's really the Silver Comet's little-to-no-elevation stretch of its initial 20 miles that fuels the appeal for longboarders. Flatter means faster from the Mavell Road Trailhead on, and there's hardly any street crossing interruptions to slow your ride from there.
5. West Palisades Trail
Flying past the Chattahoochee River by longboard brings a beautifully blurry blend of natural colors, riverbank stretches dotted with wildlife, expansive views of the water in mirror-like stillness -- what better, more beautiful setting could you ask for? The 3.6 miles of paved path round trip along the West Palisades Trail near Vinings, less than half an hour from Downtown Atlanta, is an idyllic, serene setting that leaves plenty of quiet room to focus. If you want a quickie adrenaline rush, though, keep an eye out for the steep ascent as you head toward Akers Mill Road. It's a satisfying challenge for pushing -- and an extreme zoom down when you head back to the trailhead.
Originally written by RootsRated for Atlanta CVB.