With 30 acres on which to spread out, picnic areas, a playground, a hiking trail, porch swings along the water, a firepit and scenic views, it’s easy to wish Morgan Falls Overlook Park was your own backyard. If you live in or are visiting metro Atlanta, you can use the park as such on a lovely spring or summer day. Go stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking or canoeing, cast a line for trout or other game fish, or just hang out for hours on the lawn and in a picnic pavilion with family and friends. Here’s how to enjoy Morgan Falls Overlook Park in Sandy Springs, Georgia.
What Can I Do at Morgan Falls Overlook Park?
Photo Credit : Shutterstock
Get Out on the Water
The park offers easy access to the Chattahoochee River and ample opportunities for fishing, floating and paddling. The river is tranquil and side above the Morgan Falls Dam – the wide expanse of water is called Bull Sluice Lake. Without a strong current, beginner paddlers find it easy to test out their burgeoning skills, or work on balance on a paddleboard. Head to the High Country Paddle Shack to rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, or sign up for an SUP yoga class.
Savor Family Time
There are plenty of riverside hikes for budding naturalists, a 0.75-mile trail, a engaging playground with slides, swings and a huge rope web, well-located picnic tables, convenient restrooms and more, making for the ideal family day out.
Bring your dog, if you like, as the park is super pet-friendly. A fully fenced dog park is nearby at Morgan Falls River Park.
The Chattahoochee is the country’s southernmost trout stream and anglers in-the-know flock here for just that. Beyond the ubiquitous trout, there are 23 species of game fish, including yellow perch, channel catfish, bass and bream. Take your fishing trip on a kayak or canoe or cast a line from the secluded shore.
While you’re in Morgan Falls Overlook Park, keep an eye out for songbirds and waterbirds, belted kingfishers, American goldfinches, red-tailed hawks, blue herons, white-tailed deer, river otters and box turtles. Paddling in Bull Sluice Lake or on the river and walking along the water give you an up-close look at the fauna who call this picturesque area home.
Learn Local History
Take some time to learn about the region’s history. This river valley was important to Native American populations who used the waterway as a natural boundary between Creek and Cherokee lands. The area of Morgan Falls Overlook Park – where you’ll see a stone chimney – was part of the Powers family pioneering homestead in the 1830s. The falls themselves powered streetcars and electricity in the early days of Atlanta.
What Are Some More Parks in Sandy Springs?
There are 15 other great parks to explore in Sandy Springs – totaling more than 950 acres. The City’s Recreation and Parks department has partnered with the National Park Service to maintain trails along 22 miles of the Chattahoochee River shoreline.
While you’re in the area, you’ll likely find yourself within the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, a 48-mile section of river and land units stretching from Buford Dam at Lake Lanier and ending at Peachtree Creek in metro Atlanta. All told, there are 75 miles of trails for biking and hiking with the recreation area.
Hit these other favorite Sandy Springs parks while you’re in town:
1. Abernathy Greenway: A 6.6-acre linear park in downtown Sandy Springs. Check out the unique playground with playable art pieces – there’s Phil Proctor’s Spider Walk, Beth Nybeck’s Twist, Jeff Hackney’s the Big Imagine and the Shout jungle gym.
2. Island Ford: Go hiking, boating, wildlife viewing and fishing on the Island Ford section of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Fly fishers flock here for the trout population. Be sure to pop into the Hewlett Lodge Visitors Center to learn more about the region’s history.
3. City Green: Don’t miss the City Springs shopping and dining area and spend some time enjoying the urban green space of the four-acre City Green. Throughout the year, you’ll find concerts, festivals and movie screenings taking place, plus an interactive splash fountain that the littles love.
4. John Ripley Forbes Big Trees Forest Preserve: Nature lovers adore this 30-acre tree, plant and wildlife sanctuary in northern Sandy Springs. Instead of development, the area was preserved and today offers visitors a great place to savor the forest, its fauna and the ways human behavior affects the environment. Take the self-guided nature tour to learn more.
5. Lost Corner Preserve: This preserve near the city center of Sandy Springs was a working farm in the mid-1800s. Today, you can walk through the original homestead, community garden and apiary to see what agricultural life was like back then. There are public history lectures held from time to time.
6. East Palisades: If you’re hoping to break a sweat while hiking or trail running, head to the southeastern corner of Sandy Springs to the East Palisades section of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. While well-marked, the trails here are steeper and rockier than others in the area. There’s even a cool bamboo forest to traipse through.
7. Powers Island: Hike the 2.5-mile loop on Powers Island for its wonderful forest and river views. If you’re paddling the Chattahoochee River’s 8 miles of Class I and II water, this is where you’ll put in. Visit the Nantahala Outdoor Center for guided river trips or to rent kayaks, tubes and stand-up paddleboards.
Any Insider Tips on Sandy Springs?
Yes! Dine at Ray’s on the River after your relaxing day at Morgan Falls Overlook Park. Keep the waterside vibes going with decadent seafood, steak and vegetables at this long-time beloved Atlanta area restaurant. There are hand-crafted cocktails and an award-winning wine list, too, making it easy to toast a beautiful summer’s evening.