Hit Up Some Hiking Near Oxford

It may be winter in Oxford, Georgia, but some days are beautifully sunny with pleasantly warm temperatures. Warm winter days are perfect for spending time outdoors. What better way to do that than to go hiking with some buddies?

Many Oxford students have probably heard of Stone Mountain (45 minutes from campus) and Panola Mountain (35 minutes from campus) as a popular hiking spots, but there are options that are much closer and more convenient for casual hiking. Not to mention these other hiking spots don’t charge a $5 parking fee.

Arabia Mountain is only a 25-minute drive from Oxford. This is one of my personal favorite hiking spots, as the trails here offer more solitude than those of Stone Mountain and Panola Mountain while still providing the unique scenery of an exposed granite pluton.

View From Top of Arabia Mountain

Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area is the home to some rare plant species like diamorpha smalli that require the rock outcrop environment to survive. If you visit the park around April, you will be greeted by a blanket of crimson diamorpha speckled with white blossoms in the pools that cover the mountain. Not there in April? You will still be greeted by enchanting prickly pears, green mosses, and lichen! Be careful not to step on the mosses, lichen, and diamorpha, as they are easily harmed by human foot traffic and take years to regrow.

Prickly Pears at Arabia Mountain

Want to stay closer to campus? How about checking out the Georgia International Horse Park (an 11-minute drive) in Conyers. This is where the 1996 Atlanta Centennial Olympics Equestrian events took place. This park offers excellent trails for hiking and mountain biking. There are also trails for horseback riding, although it’s probably safe to say that the typical student at Oxford College won’t have a horse for a casual weekend ride! In Georgia International Horse Park, you can find Big Haynes Creek Nature Center which provides access to some sweet wetlands. There is even a small dock for you and your friends to set up a picturesque picnic.

Big Haynes Creek Nature Center Trail Wetlands

Don’t have much time at all? You can still take some time to enjoy the outdoors. Go check out the nature trail behind the Oxford Science Building for your next evening stroll!

Photo creds go to Schumann Chang