The Laurel Ridge Trail is a wonderful, peaceful trail. It is perfect for a quick trail run workout or simply stepping back into nature for a scenic walk. With beautiful views of both Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River, you’ll be glad you came. Fishers: bring a fishing pole, as some of the best trout fishing to be had is just below Buford Dam on the Chattahoochee. Everyone else: strap on those hiking shoes and allow yourself to be lured in by the beauty of this trail.
While the trail can be accessed at multiple places throughout Buford Dam Park, perhaps the easiest access location is at the northernmost parking lot—the first parking area after crossing over Buford Dam heading south. When heading south, just before you turn left into the parking lot, you will see the crosswalk area where the trail crosses the road. After parking, head in that general direction to catch the trail before crossing the road. This will get you started in a counter-clockwise loop direction.
The trail will meander down toward the Chattahoochee River side of Buford Dam. After descending to the river you will see a long wooden bridge to your right. Following the wooden bridge will take you over to see the dam and offer scenic views of the river, but it will also take you off the trail. Keep to the south side of the river and follow the river downstream for a short ways. Watch for the trail to turn left away from the river and eventually loop you back up and toward Buford Dam Park and Lake Lanier. At some places inside the park the trail can be hard to follow. Whenever you come out of the woods and encounter a sidewalk, just follow the sidewalk in the same general direction you were headed until you can clearly see where the trail goes back into the woods again. Good luck!