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The Rottenwood Creek Trail is a developing trail system, comprised of a three-mile paved trail that runs along the Chattahoochee River and Rottenwood Creek in Cobb County, and a shorter 0.8-mile trail near Kennesaw State's Marietta campus. The portion of the trail on national park land is known as the Rottenwood Creek Trail, while the more urban sections of the trail within Cobb County are called the Bob Callan Trail. The trail is a natural escape from a busy suburban lifestyle and is popular with everyone from moms pushing strollers to eager morning cyclists and older folks taking afternoon strolls.
The trail begins at the Palisades Trailhead of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area at Paces Mills. The trail starts its journey on a wide, porous concrete path paralleling the Hooch, as the river is fondly known. A screen of trees hems the trail in. After you cross under I-75, the path turns left and leaves the river, now following Rottenwood Creek instead. Boardwalks and bridges break up the monotony and are great spots to pause and take in the tranquil sights. At about 1 mile in, the terrain changes from relatively flat to hillier as it slopes up to meet I-285. Signs of urban life begin to creep back through, particularly the apartment buildings that can be viewed from the trail. At 1.5 miles, the trail exits park land – there is a sign to let you know this. From here, the trail reaches a junction with a portion of the Akers Mill Trail and ducks under the tangle of freeways which includes I-285, only for it to emerge at the designated Bob Callan Trail trailhead.
The northern segment of the trail is also known as the University Trail, after the neighboring university campus. The short pathway runs between Alumni Drive and South Marietta Parkway, providing a nice route for students on foot and bicycle.
Plans are in the works to extend the southern trail from its current terminus up to Terrell Mill Road, but for now the trail offers a pleasant three-mile trip, and helps local cyclists and pedestrians get in some exercise while navigating around the area's numerous freeways.
For the south segment, parking is available at either end. There are 10 spaces of free parking at the Bob Callan Trailhead on Interstate Parkway North. At the Paces Mills Unit of the Chattahoochee NRA, there’s much more room to park, as well as restrooms but there is an entrance fee for the park.
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