Trails at Sandy Creek Park
Bring your hiking boots or tennis shoes to Sandy Creek Park and spend some time accessing over 16 miles of trails. The trails are laid out over easy to moderate terrain and good for hikers and walkers of all ages and abilities, as well as equestrians! There are three different trails, each with its own trail-head and clearly marked throughout.
Cook’s Trail Trail Closure
Effective Until Further Notice, Closed Indefinitely | Posted: 3:09 PM 1/8/2019
Due to the wet weather and flooding along Sandy Creek, Cook’s Trail is closed until further notice. There has been extensive damage to boardwalks and bridges. Boardwalks will have to be rebuilt.
|Trail Length: 7.5 miles|
Trail Width: 5-6 ft. on Eastern Shore | 2-3 ft. on Western Shore
Surface: Compacted Earth
Trailheads: Parking Lot 14 and 15
Restrooms Along Trail: Restroom 3 (Mile 0 at Lot 14) and Restroom 5 (Mile 5.5)
Amenities Along Trail: Beach, Boat Ramp, Fishing, Picnic Areas 1, 2 & Boat Ramp, Picnic Shelters 1, 4, & 5
Connecting Trails: Buckeye Trail, Cook's Trail
Lakeside Trail follows the shore of Lake Chapman. While the trail can be accessed from a number of locations in the developed areas of the park, the trailhead (mile 0) is accessed from Parking Lot 14 adjacent to Restroom 3 and Parking Lot 15 adjacent to Picnic Shelter 3.
From the trailhead, a 5 ft. natural surface trail follows the eastern shore of Lake Chapman north intermittently merging with and splitting from the Buckeye Trail. Just past the 3 mile marker Lakeside crosses the Ellen R. Jordan bridge over Sandy Creek and the wetlands at the north end of the lake..
Lakeside narrows significantly on the western side of the lake continuing along the shoreline to Parking Lot 12 and the Boat Ramp about a quarter-mile past the 5 mile marker. Cross the parking lot following signs for Picnic Shelter 1. Lakeside Trail splits off from the asphalt pathway just beyond the Boat Ramp Picnic Area near Restroom 5.
Continuing along the shoreline, Lakeside passes Picnic Shelter 4 and portions of the Disc Golf course in the woods above the trail. As the trail reaches the Beach (~6.5 miles) it merges with the asphalt service drive passing Picnic Area 2. At the end of the Beach, take the stairs just beyond the boat rental building down into Picnic Area 1 and continue along the shore.
On the southern end of the lake, Lakeside merges with Campsite Drive to cross the dam. A crosswalk at the far end of the dam indicates where Lakeside returns to the shoreline (left) connecting to Cook's Trail via a connector trail on the right side of the crosswalk.
From here, the trail runs another half-mile passing through the remains of the old campground before intersecting the connector trails that will return you to the trailhead.
|Trail Length: 4.1 miles|
Trail Width: 4 ft.
Surface: Compacted Earth
Trailhead: Parking Lot 14
Restrooms Along Trail: Restroom 3 (Mile 0 at Lot 14) and Sandy Creek Nature Center (Mile 4.1)
Amenities Along Trail:Fishing
Connecting Trails: Buckeye Trail, Lakeside Trail
Cook’s Trail (4.1 miles) and Oxbox Loop (0.9 miles) are part of the Athens Greenway and Riverside Parks system, and runs creek-side through woods, over boardwalks and natural surface, ending at Sandy Creek Nature Center. Cook’s Trail is a one-way trail and you MUST return the way you came.
Trail-head: Located off Campsite Drive directly across the street of the first parking lot. Trail-head is to the right of the Buckeye Horse Trail trail-head.
|Trail Length: 4.2 miles|
Trail Width: 5-6 ft.
Surface: Compacted Earth
Trailheads: Parking Lot 14 with Trailer Parking at Lot 15
Restrooms Along Trail: Restroom 3 (Mile 0 at Lot 14)
Amenities Along Trail: Fishing, Picnic Table at trail end
Connecting Trails: Cook's Trail, Lakeside Trail
Buckeye Trail begins across from Parking Lot 14 just to the right of the horse mounting station and follows the park boundary northward to a dead-end furnished with a picnic table. This hilly trail provides forested views with occasional glimpses of Lake Chapman. Riders should always use the provided bridges when crossing streams. Riding through the creeks severely damages the banks leading to accelerated erosion.
Please Note: This trail merges with and splits from Lakeside Trail multiple times. Follow blue blazes.
- There is a $2 per horse fee in addition to the $2 per person park admission.
- Proof of Negative Coggins Report is required at the gatehouse for entry.
- Vehicles and horse trailers should be parked on the periphery of Parking Lot 15 with all wheels on pavement to avoid damaging the roadside shoulders.
- Riders are responsible for cleaning up all manure on roadways and roadsides. Request a shovel at the gatehouse if needed.
As always, users in natural spaces are encouraged to use caution, be aware of their surroundings, and avoid hazards. Please report damaged bridges, downed or hazard trees, and maintenance issues with geo-tagged photos or by dropping us a pin to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling us at 706-613-3620.
Keep up to date with closings and damages on our Park Closings page.