The Silver Comet Trail
Atlanta is blessed with many inner-city walking paths and trails, and including our circuitous Beltline, which allows residents to walk / run / bike around the city. More details on our many inner-city trails and paths are a topic for another month. This month’s feature is the Silver Comet Trail.
Thanks to a donation from the James M. Fox Foundation, the Silver Comet Trail is soon to become part of the longest continuous paved trail in the United States when it connects with the Atlanta Beltline. The Cox Foundation’s gift to the PATH Foundation to help it achieve its goal of creating 300 miles of trails in and around Atlanta by 2021.
The trail is named for the Silver Comet passenger train which was introduced by Seaboard Air Line Railroad in 1947. Originally fitted with an observation car and sleep lounge cars, it carried passengers through southern cities like Atlanta and Birmingham to destinations in the north such as New York, Philadelphia and Washington. As passengers traveled across the countryside, they were treated to a variety of scenic vistas. Over time, ridership declined, the sleeper cars were eliminated first and eventually in 1969, the rail line was discontinued.
The Silver Comet extends from Smyrna in Cobb County to Anniston Alabama for a total of 94.5 miles. When it is connected to the Atlanta Beltline on the Westside, the trail will be a record setting 105.2 miles long. The project is expected to be completed in the next two years.
But don’t wait for that! You can catch the Silver Comet in Cobb County. The scenic 12.8 mile multi-use trail begins in Smyrna and travels west through southern parts of the county. Traversing six trestles and bridges, the trail offers spectacular views and direct access to Heritage Park, a natural park that includes approximately 105 acres with 14.3 acres of wetland in four separate sites. Visitors can follow the 1.7-mile walking trail to the remains of a woolen mill. Casual walkers, hikers, joggers, bicyclists, inline skaters and people with disabilities can all use the trail and enjoy the same sights once reserved for the train’s passengers.
Get out and get hiking or biking on the trails! More info on the Silver Comet Trail in Cobb County and a printable map available on the links below.