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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. Along the way are 17 wheelchair-accessible access points, 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 Pumpkinvine 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.
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 connects to Alabama's Chief Ladiga Trail, which stretches for another 33 miles, making the trails (combined) among some of the longest paved pedestrian paths in the country.
Exciting plans are afoot to connect the eastern end of the Silver Comet Trail in Smyrna to downtown Atlanta via the Silver Comet Connector. This burgeoning pathway will also cross another important and developing rail-trail, the Atlanta Beltline, which will one day encircle the city. The connector trail is anticipated to be completed by 2022 or 2023. Another trail linkage emanating from the same starting point is already open; the Cumberland Connector begins at the eastern trailhead of the Silver Comet Trail and heads northeast, providing access to neighborhood amenities like Oakdale Park and Cumberland Mall.
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.
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