Contributed by Susie Patrick
Hiking and Biking in Haralson County
The launch of the Haralson County Local Scenic Byway has given drivers a reason to get out and explore the local area, but there are also some great routes for those of us who like to travel on foot or by bike. Getting out and about is easy in Haralson County, so if you want to plan a day out with the family or simply start enjoying a more active lifestyle, there are some wonderful places to explore and plenty of different ways to get to know them.
Getting Around Haralson County
Haralson County has three main bike routes, known by the numbers 103, 117 and 130, but there are also some interesting routes for drivers and motorcyclists, including the new scenic route. Best Biking Roads recommends Routes 78 and 27 for motorbikes as particularly pleasant drives, and suggests a few longer routes that you can follow along these roads if you want to go beyond Haralson. However, if you want to see the county under your own steam, you might want to plan a day out hiking or cycling around the county. You should begin by ensuring that you have some comfortable clothes and hiking shoes or sneakers. If you intend to cycle, you will also need to buy or hire a bike. A good road bike will be suitable for the most popular on-road routes in Haralson County, but if you want to be able to cycle on rougher terrain, REI suggests that you should choose a hybrid bike instead. If you are buying rather than borrowing, you should also invest in a basic repair kit to take with you. Cycleworks Inc in Atlanta can service your bike if you want it checked over before or after a long ride, and they also suggest that you learn how to conduct some regular maintenance on your own bike. It is also a good idea to check that your bike is covered on your home insurance policy. If not, you might want to take out additional coverage, which you should be able to get at a good price from a specialist insurer, which QuoteZone suggests can also be the best option when planning a long trip by motorcycle. You should also make sure that you carry plenty of water and high energy snacks, and take the time to work up to longer distances if you are new to cycling or hiking. Georgia Bike also suggests that you read their guide to the rules of the road before you head out so that you can keep safe on your travels.
Some of the best places for walking in Haralson County are found along the Tallapoosa River, which has some magnificent scenery. If you want to plan an even longer trip out of Haralson County, you can even continue along the river into Alabama, following the newly opened Tallapoosa section of the Alabama Scenic River Trail.
Haralson County has three excellent bike routes, all of which connect to longer routes out of the county, although many of the other roads and towns are also very bike-friendly places. Bike Walk Northwest Georgia has produced a useful interactive map that includes all three routes, which cross several different parts of Haralson County. Route 130 probably provides the best option for a beginner, as it covers many of the most attractive parts of the county. It is also the shortest route to complete, at just over 33 miles, if you want to follow it all the way. This will take you out of Haralson County, but not to the extent that routes 103 and 117 would do, since each of these is more than 100 miles long. Route 130 can easily be joined near Tallapoosa. It passes east along Jacksonville road, providing a relatively easy ride through some beautiful scenery. Among the highlights to look out for are the winding curves of the Tallapoosa River, the pleasant downhill ride as the route heads into Buchanan, and the open blue waters of Lake Olympia.
Taking a long walk or bike ride can be a great way to keep active, but you don’t have to be fit enough to spend the whole day cycling in order to enjoy the outdoors in Haralson County. If you need some space to train for a longer trip, or you simply want to spend some time enjoying the sunshine, you can always head to a space like Tally Valley Park, where you can also find places to camp if you are planning a multi-day hiking or biking trip.