The Highlands to Islands multi-use trail system is a planned 35 mile path that will ultimately connect the Rock Creek Greenway and Gainesville Square to the multiuse pathways along Friendship Road and Lanier Islands Parkway near Flowery Branch.
The South Hall Trail Study was completed in 2019 through a multi-jurisdictional planning effort headed by the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization and Hall County. This study provided Hall County with an existing conditions assessment, alignment alternatives, a preferred alignment, and implementation strategy. The recommended trail system would ultimately provide a continuous, off-street, paved trail loop connecting places such as the University of North Georgia, Hall County Government Center, Flat Creek, Lee Gilmer Airport, downtown Gainesville, downtown Oakwood, downtown Flowery Branch, the Falcons Training Camp, Flowery Branch Library, Cherokee Bluffs Park, and several schools.
In 2017, Hall County completed the installation of a pedestrian tunnel under State Route 13/Atlanta Highway at the southern terminus of the Chicopee Trail Section of the Highlands to Islands Trail System. This tunnel provided safe access for cyclists and pedestrians across the busy highway and a connection into the next planned section of trail which will connect from the tunnel into the University of North Georgia – Gainesville Campus. Hall County is currently planning for this trail extension to UNG to be complete by 2021.
Future considerations include trail heads with parking, rest areas, expansion of benches, lighting, public art, and more.
Highlands to Islands Trail will be funded by the following:
Local - SPLOST
State and Federal - Transportation Enhancement Grant (TE), Local Maintenance Improvement Grant (LMIG), Recreational Trails Program Grant (RTP), Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Grant