South River Trail


12 Reviews

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South River Trail Facts

States: Georgia
Counties: De Kalb, Rockdale
Length: 9.4 miles
Trail end points: Arabia Mountain Trail (at Lyons Road) to Martin Luther King Jr. High School and Constitution Rd to Doolittle Creek
Trail surfaces: Concrete
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 8037462

South River Trail Description

South River Trail offers a wooded route along its namesake river, about 15 miles southeast of Atlanta. On its west end is Martin Luther King Jr. High School. On its east end, it ties into the area’s extensive trail network with a connection to the Arabia Mountain Trail, which in turn connects to the Rockdale River Trail.

A disconnected 5.6-mile segment begins at the Georgia State University Perimeter College and follows a tree-covered path west to a point near Constitution Avenue.

In January 2018, the South River Trail was renamed the Michelle Obama Walking Trail in honor the former first lady. 

Parking and Trail Access

Mid-trail, parking is available at the Panola Shoals Trailhead (intersection of Panola Road and Snapfinger Road).

South River Trail Reviews

waste of taxpayer money. should have been funded privately.


South River / Michelle Obama Trail Experience

Treat yourself to a mental health and fitness getaway experience. Enjoy nature, scenic views and sounds of flowing water over rocks while walking the trail and boardwalk that runs parallel to the river.

Abundant gratitude to the Georgia Department of Transportation, the PATH Foundation and Dekalb County Parks and Recreation Department for sponsoring this remarkable pedestrian infrastructure that connects the Southeast communities to the Atlanta Beltline and Panola Mountain State Park (1,635 acres, 946 feet above sea level).

Be Aware if parking at MLK Jr. High School

We parked at MLK Jr. High School on a Sunday around noon, and after getting back to our car, the school had locked the entrance gates, preventing us from leaving the parking lot. Probably an accident, but keep this in mind when choosing where to park. Otherwise, it's a great trail!

Nice trail but not 9.2 miles long

We rode this trail today. It was really a nice trail but the distance to the intersection of Arabia and Panola Trails from MLK High school was about 4.5 miles one direction. It’s a nice wide and curvy trail with some decent inclines. We will ride it again in conjunction with one of the other trail systems.


It was a wonderful feeling being able to ride on the Michelle Obama trail and ending up at the Barack Obama Elementary School.

It was a wonderful feeling being able to ride on the Michelle Obama trail and ending up at the Barack Obama Elementary School.

Michelle Obama/South River Trail

This is an awesome jewel in South Dekalb County. Easy access to the Michelle Obama trail from the GSU-Decatur campus lot. It’s sparsely populated, but interesting wildlife such as deer, squirrels, and rabbits. My mom and I walk this trail during the weekday and it’s very peaceful. Highly recommend if you want a peaceful walk and or run.

Beautiful Trail and close to home!

Since I live in South Dekalb, this trail has been a jewel. From the Panola Rd entrance point to the Michelle Obama Trail entrance point, this is a hidden jewel for my area. It’s lightly populated and I’ve rediscovered its beauty during the pandemic.

Lush and (as of yet) unpopulated

Been coming here for the last 7mo and have never passed more than one or two people, each visit. As it is still undiscovered to the city, my dog gets the pleasure of running beside me on the bike without worry of heavy foot or bike traffic around. There is something to discover on every visit, if on foot (and have the curious nature about you)... including all of the seasonal edible fruits and 'weeds' that one finds in a "City in a Forest." A great section for exploring Atlanta as an abundant and vibrant marvel of the Piedmont.

Best kept secret, so far

Rode the 6 miles of concrete trail from Entrenchment Creek trailhead, over to and through Gresham Park, alongside Barack Obama School and past Sugar Creek golf course (safety netting in place), under 285 (cool) and over to the Georgia State University GPC campus. Excellent condition, very few users, lots of sites to see, parks, schools, golf courses, and it will eventually link to the eastern stretch of the trail that runs from MLK High School near Panola Shoals out to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit which is also a nice trail. Fun fact, in January 2018, a portion was renamed the Michelle Obama Trail in honor of her commitment to getting young folks moving. Sign in place at GSU campus end of trail.

The beauty of Nature

My husband and I were visiting our godchild and she took me to the park for a walk. She says it is one of her favorites places to walk and reflect. I see why. To say it is beautiful is an understatement. We saw deer, foot prints of other wild life, sandy shoals and waterfalls. The next time we come we are bringing our bicycles. Awesome!

South River Trail

This was my second time visiting the trail. We walk the trail the first time. Yesterday my son and I decided to ride our bikes. We really enjoyed the ride.


We were passing thru the Atlanta area on our way from the Silver Comet Trail, saw the sign to this trail and just could not resist stopping.
This is a little jewel of a trail, the sparkling water of the South River always delightfully close by.
We began at the Panola Shoals Trailhead. If you have a Mountain bike you could play around at the tiny 'beach' right at the banks of the river. There is a city-block long granite boulder in the middle of the South River; water flows over this rock in silvery sheets, creating a pattern that never repeats itself.
This trail is only abt. 3 miles in length, but it connects with miles of other trails .
Worth checking out if you are in the area.

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