Georgia boasts a wealth of natural beauty that you can discover on our thousands, maybe even millions, of miles of trails. However, there are some gems to be uncovered that weren't created by nature. This moderate hike near Atlanta leads you to a hidden community of monks that have created the most picturesque landscape by hand. 

Your journey to uncover their secret lives begins at Arabia Mountain. The "mountain" isn't actually a mountain; it's a rare rock hill that's believed to be more than 400 million years old. Even more enchanting, the rock hill is home to unusual endangered species that can only be found in this unique geology.

With over 40,000 acres of land, there are way too many trails to choose from. Rockdale River Trail is part of the massive space occupied by Arabia Mountain that'll take you straight to the monks. The 9.47 mile scenic stretches of paved roads might be a bit long for beginners, but the views are so worth it.  

To speed up your journey, you're welcome to bike instead of hike. If you still want to enjoy the beauty but cut down on mileage, you can park at any of these trailhead locations and begin your hike from a shorter distance. 

The trail leads you to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, where over 40 monks live in solitude. Contrary to any stereotypes you might have heard about monks, you can actually chat with this group of monks and discover their way of life. 

During your visit, you can explore their stained-glass church, purchase a bonsai tree from their enchanting garden, and grab a well-deserved treat from their bakery.  

This is one of the many trails outside of the bustling capital, but if you're looking for more hiking options near the city, check out the trails at Cochran Mill Park and Old Mill Park. 

 

Rockdale River Trail 

Price: Free

Address: 4158 Klondike Road, Lithonia, GA (starting point)

Why You Need To Go: This unique trail provides both natural and manmade views. 

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