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Explore the Atlanta Beltline’s recently acquired Southside Trail in 60 photos

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The forthcoming four-mile Beltline piece offers a fascinating tapestry of landscapes

This stone bridge with an active rail line above could be an iconic Beltline site one day.
South of downtown, this stone bridge with an active rail line above could be a well-known Beltline destination one day.
Photos: Jonathan Phillips, Curbed Atlanta

Atlanta taxpayers’ recent $26 million gift to themselves might be off-limits for now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a look around.

Following the mid-March announcement that the city and Atlanta Beltline have bought the four-mile, crescent-shaped Southside Trail corridor from longtime owner CSX, it seemed imperative to explore the route (with guided permission) before work launches to rip out the inactive railroad tracks.

For the uninitiated, this fascinating, 63-acre tapestry of landscapes impresses.

By connecting existing Beltline pieces west and east of downtown, the Southside Trial will eventually create about 14 contiguous miles of Beltline, linking together nearly 20 neighborhoods.

Design work for the Southside Trail is underway, and a Kimley-Horn team is expected to soon launch detailed engineering and site investigations.

For this installment of Visual Journeys, let’s strap on our hiking boots and head south:

Graffiti-covered walls behind Maynard Jackson High School mark the beginning of the Southside Trail’s nearly 4.5 mile crescent from Glenwood Avenue around to University Avenue, just southwest of downtown.
Photos: Jonathan Phillips, Curbed Atlanta
Barrels and graffiti underneath the Berne Street overpass in Ormewood Park.
The modernist Beltline Treehouse by Tardio Architecture overlooks the trail from Berne Street.
The last house on Vera Street SE backs up to the trail.
A view of the Trestletree Village Apartments from an elevated section of the trail.
This Beltline vista shows Ormewood Avenue far below.
At last check, this 24-home project fronting the trail was called “The Farmhouses at Ormewood Park.”
Another view of Trestletree Village.
The backside of Oldfield at Grant Park townhomes overlooks a section of trail.
An old piece of railroad equipment and signage.
The Cold Storage building at Boulevard has adaptive-reuse potential.
The trail as it crosses Boulevard near the 1040 Commercial Lofts and adjacent townhomes.
Looking down upon the ACC Wholesale property and possibly—gasp!—a very large sinkhole. (Beltline officials emphasize that while the entire corridor is off-limits right now, trespassers who approach this area are in especially serious danger).
An ancient switch box, with the back of another building seen atop the hill.
The trail crosses over Hill Street.
Homes at the end of Grant Terrace may be getting a direct access point to the trail, officials say.
Beltline green space D.H. Stanton Park can be seen from the trail, with downtown peeking over trees in the background.
The backside of Hill Street Lofts overlooks this section of the Southside Trail.
An old warehouse set back from Milton Avenue.
At the gateway to Chosewood Park, a collection of graffiti-covered abandoned buildings stands near the Beltline’s intersection with Milton Avenue.
Approaching a stone bridge with an active rail line that crosses over it. Coming soon to Instagram, this could be one of the coolest features of the Southside Trail.
A mountain biker has second thoughts about braving the tunnel’s flooded section.
Where the old brick interior meets graffiti.
A wall of roots near the tunnel.
Pryor Street is also a possible access point for the trail.
T.H. Slater Elementary School can be seen on the hill to the left, off Pryor Street.
An encouraging sign: a survey crew works at the bridge crossing over Pryor Street.
An abandoned building that can be accessed from Manford Road is covered in vines and brush.
Lots of eye-catching graffiti beneath the Interstate 85 overpass, due south of downtown.
“BeltGrind” is carved into a set of leanto tree branches across the path after the I-85 overpass.
A small outbuilding on the Sam and Son Wholesale property that backs up to the trail.
Looking back down the trail on the other side of the building.
Construction and demolition has begun around the shell of the building at the future site of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. This is part of the 31-acre Pittsburgh Yards project now underway.
The Pittsburgh Yards property from another vantage point.
Skyscrapers jut up in the distance as the trail follows University Avenue.
Metropolitan Parkway, with a bridge very reminiscent of the Eastside Trail structure (prior to refurbishment) that passes over Ponce de Leon Avenue.
At University Avenue, the end.