The Silver Comet Trail follows the bed of the old Seaboard Air Line. From 1947 to 1969, the shiny Silver Comet passenger train provided luxury service between New York and Birmingham. Today, three trestles and a railroad tunnel integrated into the trail design hint at past glories.
The well-maintained 61.5-mile trail is 12-foot wide and paved; mile markers help navigate and the trail accommodates nearly all non-motorized uses. An adjacent equestrian path stretches some 40 miles west from Florence Road in Powder Springs. Rounding out the stats are 17 wheelchair-accessible access points (six with horse trailer parking), 15 restrooms, 10 water fountains, and a variety of trailside services.
Today's Silver Comet runs from Smyrna all the way to Esom Hill. The eastern section runs through residential areas, including housing developments with private trail access. The western section is more bucolic, a mixed landscape of pine stands and farmland. At dusk, the countryside comes alive with animal sounds.
Trail highlights include several relics of its railroading past. At Mile Marker 23, the Pumpkinville Creek Trestle stands 100 feet high and 700 feet long. Standing atop the trestle, you can almost picture the Comet streaking past in a silver blur. At Mile Marker 30.8, the Brushy Mountain Tunnel sounds a spooky note with 700 feet of damp, dark corridor.
You'll find the Silver Comet Depot, a trailside bike rental shop, on Floyd Road in Mableton, while Mile Marker 37.6 heralds your arrival in idyllic, small-town Rockmart. Two miles west of town, baseball and recreation fields provide more entertainment. Cedartown features a restored train depot, as well as places to load up on refreshments for the round-trip to Smyrna.
The Silver Comet offers a wide array of activities: Its rich history appeals to railroad enthusiasts, and its first-rate facilities draw recreation seekers from miles around. Whether you want to run 5 miles or bike 60, this rail-trail is an excellent option. Enjoy it for an hour or make an entire day of it.
At the Georgia/Alabama state line, the Silver Comet Trail becomes Alabama's Chief Ladiga Trail
, which stretches for another 33 miles, making the trails (combined) among some of the longest pedestrian paths in the country.
Reach the Smyrna side of the Silver Comet Trail off of I-285, Exit 15/Route 280/South Cobb Drive. Head north on South Cobb, turn left on Cumberland Parkway SE, then right on Gaylor Street. The trailhead is near the shopping complex.
Reach the Esom Hill trailhead from US Highway 278 west. Near Mile Marker 1, turn south on Hardin Road. The trailhead is 0.5 mile up the road on the right.
There are numerous access points with parking and various other facilities along the trail's entire route. Visit http://trailexpress.com/trails/silver-comet-trail/map-directions/
for more information.
The Path Foundation
P.O. Box 14327
Atlanta, GA 30324