Gold Branch Trail System
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Georgia
Difficulty
hike difficulty
5.9
Length
hike difficulty
3.3
Duration 1 - 2 hours
Elevation Gain 533 ft.
State Georgia
Park/Forest Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
Parking Fee $3, $25 annual pass
Blaze None
Nearby City Roswell, GA
Trailhead Coord. 33.984355, -84.385246

Another example of a great trail without the drive, Gold Branch sits along the Chattahoochee River between Sandy Spring and Roswell in North Atlanta. Part of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Gold Branch Trail System has a range of options surrounded by an excellent 3.3 mile loop.



The parking lot is off of Lower Roswell road and, like all the CRNRA parks, there is a $3 parking fee or you can purchase a $25 annual pass at the Island Ford HQ and Visitor Center. The trail begins at the end of the parking lot and quickly descends 50 feet in the first tenth of a mile to a short boardwalk crossing Gold branch which feeds into the river. Here, the trail splits. This description will travel the outside loop in a clockwise direction.



Turning left, the trail heads directly towards the water, denoted by the blue blazes along the way. These do not continue through the entire trail system. At a quarter-mile, the trail crosses a couple footbridges, the second at a junction with one of the inside trails. For the remainder of the hike, stay to the outside (left) except where noted to form the largest loop without retracing any part of the trail.



The trail opens up to Bull Sluice Lake, created by the Morgan Falls dam just south of the park. The trail then drops directly along the water’s edge. Here, the trail becomes a little more difficult, narrowing and navigating more rocks and roots than before. It is also here that you will make the only turn away from the river. The trail used to continue directly along the water; however, it is no longer part of the official trails and thus, is not maintained and very difficult. When coming to a junction without a posted trail map that heads steeply away from the river, take it up the hill, continuing to do so at another junction. A large tree trunk has been positioned to deter hikers from this path. View the photos for more information.



Continuing along the river and past several other marked junctions, the trail navigates over several footbridges as it pulls away and drops backs down to the river. One section includes a short steep hill that climbs over large exposed tree roots. A rope has been fixed to the top to help climb the section. As the trail turns back to the trailhead, it climbs 150 feet over a half mile, levels out, and then descends again to the boardwalk and the first junction. Climb the short hill back to the trailhead and parking lot. For continued enjoyment and variety, mix and match the park’s other trails for several different loops.

IMAGES & VIDEO
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  • Gold Branch Trail System River Views
TERRAIN MAP
Green MarkerTrailhead   Blue MarkerPoint of Interest   Yellow MarkerDirections

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ELEVATION PROFILE
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GETTING THERE
Trailhead Coordinates
33.984355, -84.385246 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 33°59.06, W 84°23.11 (Degree Minutes, MinDec)
N 33°59'04'', W 84°23'07'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)

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ADDITIONAL INFO

Ranger District Information
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
1978 Island Ford Pkwy, Sandy Springs, GA 30350
678-538-1200



Cautions & Warnings
Parts of the trail follow right along the river, which can be deeper than expected. Watch your step, especially when wet.