Atlanta Beltline Trails

The BeltLine's Eastside Trail near Ponce de Leon Avenue.

The Atlanta BeltLine is a steadily advancing effort to built a system of trails, light rail transit, and greenspace around the periphery of downtown Atlanta, primarily on abandoned railroad beds. The original 22-mile rail loop evolved between 1871 and 1908 as several different railroad companies built lines for their own needs; eventually the historic city core was encircled by a combination of main lines and local belt lines.

The Eastside Trail, much of which opened in October 2012, runs 2.5 miles from DeKalb Avenue north to Piedmont Park on a portion of the original Atlanta & Richmond Air Line Railway route from downtown Atlanta.

Eastside Trail near Monroe Drive and Virginia Avenue.

Eastside Trail as seen from Highland Avenue bridge. The trail can be virtually traveled using Google Street View.

The abandoned A&WP Belt Line next to the old Ormewood depot.

A trail on the southeast side of town would follow the route of the 5.5-mile A&WP Belt Line, constructed in 1900. These tracks, leased by the Atlanta & West Point not long after construction, ran from the A&WP main line at Oakland Junction to Hulsey Yard on the Georgia Railroad.

On the southwest side, construction of the paved Westside Trail will begin in the second half of 2014. It will be built on sections of the former 7-mile Louisville & Nashville belt line that once extended from the A&WP main line near East Point north to the L&N main line at Tilford Yard. (The existing West End Trail is not on the old railbed, but instead runs alongside city streets.)

In the northwest, a short section that once belonged to the Atlanta, Birmingham & Atlantic may be included. This link begins on the east side of Maddox Park and heads north towards the old Bellwood Yard of the AB&C at Jefferson Street.

Unpaved section of the Eastside Trail near Amsterdam Walk.

The Eastside Trail near Piedmont Park in 2013.

The north side has few abandoned rails so other potential links are being explored.

For historical maps and more information, see Atlanta BeltLine (and Belt Lines).



Eastside Trail and Piedmont Park, 1895 railroad exhibits

1949 map of route, now the Eastside Trail, showing industries and spur tracks. Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. © Steve Storey

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