(1 Bicycle is Lowest, 5 Bicycles is Highest)
RIDING AROUND ATLANTA: Episode 2. Roswell to Buckhead
Atlanta has grown substantially over the past decades. Areas that used to be green landscapes and farms are now urban/suburban centers full of restaurants, shopping malls and houses. Fortunately for us there are several multimodal transportation advocacy groups, like Bike Roswell! and Bike Alpharetta, that encourage these developing areas to incorporate infrastructure for alternate modes of transportation, in this case bicycles. North Atlanta is made up of several cities like Sandy Springs, Roswell, Alpharetta and Woodstock. These are closely tied by major highways as well as beautiful back roads.
On this episode of Riding Around Atlanta we will be talking about a route from Roswell to Buckhead, a few miles north of Downtown Atlanta. Be mindful that our recommendations, while not free of traffic, are practical and relatively safe without making your trip excessively long.
The Route starts in downtown Roswell where you can get some nice coffee at Provisions or Crazy Love and heads down south from there. It is approximately 18 miles with 920ft. of climbing and a net loss in elevation of about 100 feet. It should take about one and a half hours for the average cyclist (12mph average). It is somewhat hilly so make sure that you are comfortable climbing for several minutes at a time. We try to avoid Hwy 9 (Roswell Rd.) since we are not particularly fond of that road.
Starting from Downtown Roswell head south on Canton St. and take a right on Magnolia Rd then a left onto Mimosa Rd. Turn right onto Bulloch Ave. right before getting to Hwy 120 (Mariettta Hwy). Ride all the way to Bulloch Hall then take a left and ride through the parking lot down to Hwy 120. Once on Hwy 120 it is recommended you take the multi modal transportation path (see photo below) alongside the highway.
Once you approach Willeo Rd, take a left and go across Hwy 120 towards the river. Willeo Rd. is very scenic all the way to the roundabout that leads to Lower Roswell Rd. Once on Lower Roswell Rd., second exit on the round-about, you will be going uphill for a few minutes. It is not an easy climb but there is a nice bike lane so traffic should not be an issue for the most part. At the top of Lower Roswell Rd. you will get to a big intersection that meets Johnson’s Ferry Rd.
Take a left onto Johnson’s Ferry Rd. and try to stay on the right lane. While Johnson’s Ferry Rd. is a busy road, it has three lanes which gives cars plenty of space to go around. Before getting to the river there is a long downhill where speeds can exceed 40mph on a bicycle. Be very careful on this part of the ride. Once across the Chattahoochee river it is all uphill on a bike lane until you reach Sandy Springs. You are already on another city!
Now it’s time to head further south. Once you go up the hill on Johnson’s Ferry Rd. and you get to where it flattens you will have to turn right to continue Johnson’s Ferry Rd., otherwise you will continue into Abernathy Rd. It is now a little calmer although a two-lane road, so watch out for traffic and obstacles on the road. Take a right turn onto Sandy Springs Cir. then right again on Mt. Vernon. Now you are in the North Buckhead / Sandy Springs suburbs. These neighborhoods are full of beautiful houses and parks.
After only a few hundred feet on Mt. Vernon Rd. take a left onto Lake Forrest Dr. Here you will encounter what some of us call “rollers”. They are a series of hills that go up and down in a very dramatic way, one right after the other. They look worse than what they really are. Just keep “rolling” until you get to Chastain Park. Once in Chastain Park you are already in Buckhead! Keep heading south on Lake Forrest Dr. alongside Chastain Park and the North Fulton Golf Course. This area is particularly beautiful and well worth the ride.
After passing Chastain Park and reaching the top of Lake Forrest where it intersects with Powers Ferry Rd. you will go across onto Putnam Dr. NW then quickly make a left turn onto Blackland Rd and across Hwy 9 to Piedmont Rd.
Now you are in the uptown part of the city of Atlanta, Buckhead district. Roads are wider and more trafficked but with several bike lanes on the main arteries. Here you can decide to take different roads and explore what Buckhead is all about. Enjoy the breath-taking city sky scrapers, have some coffee or go shopping in this beautiful and upscale part of Atlanta.
WHAT TO SEE:
- Lenox Mall
- Phipps Plaza Mall
- Many, many, many restaurants and bars
- Beautiful skyline
- Streets of Buckhead Complex
- Governor’s Mansion on West Pace Ferry Rd.
- Beautiful Neighborhoods
Roswell Bicycles Inc. or any entity related to Roswell Bicycles Inc. is not liable for any damages that may arise out of the use of public roads posted in this article. This post is meant to be informative and by no means makes Roswell Bicycles responsible.