While that ominous light at the end of the tunnel used to be a train on the Silver Comet Rail Trail, today it’s more likely to be an oncoming mass of cyclists in spandex. An almost completely flat rail trail composed of 61.5 miles of paved roadway running from Atlanta to the Alabama border this is definitely going to be a multi-day trip if you want to walk the whole thing with a goat. And if at the end of the day that isn’t enough mileage for you the trail meets up with the Chief Ladiga Trail at the Alabama line…and you can go on a tour of Alabama next. Just make sure to watch out for highspeed sweaty spandex barreling down on you like you’ve suddenly been transported to the Toure de France.
This is the first in a series of day hikes for the lazy goat and even lazier human on the Silver Comet. Today’s sojourn includes the turn of the century 800 foot railway tunnel under Brushy Mountain Road, (mile marker 30.9).
As an added bonus on Hwy 114 nearby there is an excellent collection of nuclear cooling towers surrounded by picturesque rural farmland!
Is it goat approved? The trail is officially open as far as I can tell for its entire length to horses. Which is a joke, because you couldn’t ride a horse around the psycho road bikers doing 35 mph down the roadway. However, since it is open to horses…it is open to goats. I also did not have too much trouble with other trail users while walking the goat, so I can recommend this trail if your goat hikes on leash and is comfortable with bikes.
How you get there: Google Coot’s Lake Trail Head for Silver Comet Trail. Google will take you right there. The parking area is right next to the trail crossing and is paved.
Time for hike: The distance for this hike is 7 miles. It is an out and back on flat, easy terrain.
Best season to do this hike: Autumn, spring, or winter. The roadway will burn you up in summer and there are plenty of insects even in fall.
Trails to Take
Okay, seriously, this is easy. You want to get out of your truck/car/minivan/goat powered Subaru Forester with optional vegetable oil distiller and walk to the clearly visible trail. Don’t cross the road, go the other way on the trail (i.e. east) ! And then walk…and walk…and walk…until you reach a really cool tunnel!
That is really all there is to it.
Coot’s Beach Trail Head Sign
- Beware of high speed bikers who don’t give goats much room.
- The only trail side water point is a pool of stagnant water at one end of the railway tunnel. You may want to bring a bottle of water for the goat(s).
- The tunnel is disappointingly lit…which means you don’t need the glow sticks, lantern, and flaming torch you were dying to try out.
In sum: Why light an otherwise perfectly creepy and ominous 800 foot railway tunnel two weeks before Halloween? Because you are a party pooper. That is the only excuse I can come up with…