A great loop that incorporates the best northern Island Ford trails.”
— Heather Pruner
This route offers another scenic glimpse of the Chattahoochee River, especially for those looking to supplement the Southern section. Being short in length (just under 3 miles), easy to follow, almost completely under forest canopy, and with gentle elevation ridges and flat sections, this trail is very beginner-friendly!
Features: River/Creek — Views
Need to Know
Since this section is closer to the GA 400 highway, visitors will hear background road noise on most of the trail, especially on the western half of the north loop. Don't let this deter you from giving this section a chance, however, since the river overlooks are worth it!
Also, while a bit less scenic than the southern section, it gets less traffic, so you're more likely to have the trail to yourself for the majority of the route.
For a shorter route (a little under 3 miles), start at the first parking lot on the left on the way in from Roberts Drive. One can also complete this section as a continuation of the southern loop for a longer, full-day outing (in which case, start at the main visitor center and take the trail to IF 17 and continue northwest to IF 21.)
From IF 21 (the trailhead at the first parking lot), head north to IF 30, where it crosses a service road and dives back into the forest. For about a mile into the woods, enjoy gentle rolling elevation ridges that work back down towards the river. As the trail approaches the loop beginning at IF 32, visitors are treated to a few glimpses of the river through the trees before turning west (left at IF 32) and then north (right at IF 31) for a clockwise loop of about a mile.
The section from the top of the loop back to IF 32 is the most scenic, taking visitors south along the river. There are a few spots near the north part of the loop to sit on a log and enjoy a quiet moment with the river under the forrest canopy. When the trail rejoins IF 32, take a left to continue south back towards the parking lot (or continue back to IF 17 if connecting this section with the southern section).