Big Creek Greenway


When we think of hiking, images of steep hills or rugged trails come to mind.  We have images of a glorious struggle to conquer the terrain and self-validate our efforts. 

However, if the landscape is flat, the ardor diminishes and at best we get in a brisk walk. A level trail is easy hiking but lacks the majesty of new geology. 

The Big Creek Greenway in Alpharetta, Ga. is flat.  Pancake flat.  Smart phone flat.  More on that later.  The name “Big Creek” has a certain allure.  It brings forth images of possible redundancies such as “wide expanse” or “rushing rapids.”  Other names for the body of water such as “Petite River” or “Plus Sized Stream” might suit the topography but lack the appropriate imagery.

The park entrance brings to mind another redundancy, “Organically landscaped.”   Accessing the trail is an invitation, beseeching the nature lover.  “You’re here.  You’ve got some time.  Hang out a while.”  The piano in one of the pavilions compels tinkering.  In addition, a mini-amphitheater pulls double duty as an outdoor classroom and cloud gazing spot.

Once on the trail, the flatness dominates the scenery.  The landscape blends into an incohesive unity, simultaneously invoking the Zen calm of Forest Bathing and the perplexity of Déjà vu.  Moreover, the monotony is comically eerie.  Walking the trail, I imagined a Druid Eisteddfod poetry ceremony as well as the “We demand a shrubbery!” scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Despite the forest’s mystical allure, park management encourages visitors to remain on the trails. 

And the trails themselves persuade fitness buffs to conserve the environment.  Exquisitely paved and maintained, the paths meander and curve through the forest.  In conjunction with the overwhelming flatness, the trails attract both foot traffic and cyclists.  Lots of cyclists.  As a result, the natural sounds of birds chirping and insects stridulating are interrupted by bells ting-tinging and yelps of “On your right!”

And while the park brass not so subtly reminds us not to stray from the path, the forest offers plenty on a macro and micro level.  Maryland golden-aster dots the landscape as you wander the trails.  In addition, gaze further down and swamp dewberry Geneva bugleweed provide tiny bursts of color to the otherwise drab forest floor.

Lao Tzu said, “Nature does not hurry.  Yet everything is accomplished.”  The Big Creek Greenway lacks the awe inspiring grandeur of a towering mountain range.  Yet, the sheer flatness of the trails challenge us to figure out our own pace.  While we may not have to conquer the terrain, each step validates the effort. 

Rating: 1 out of 5.

3 thoughts on “Big Creek Greenway

  1. Big Creek Greenway is an excellent place for relaxing or exercise. You’re right about the battle between cyclists versus pedestrians. The picture of the piano looks like it’s from Rock Mill Park. Nice spot. Another nice entry point is over by the YMCA on Preston Bridge Rd.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading Bert! I’ll have to check out the other entrance!


  2. It may not ne the greatest walk but it is a beautiful post
    Laugh your way to a great day


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