Trails and Open Space Programs 

Gnome in the forest

Bring the Gnome Home

Bring the Gnome Home is a hide and seek game that takes place on the public trail system managed by ACC Leisure Services Trails and Open Space. At the beginning of each month the gnome is hidden on one of our trails or properties. The gnome will be at least partially visible from the trail. When found, follow the instructions on the base of the gnome figurine. This informs the finder to return the gnome to Sandy Creek Nature Center to receive a prize. The prizes are donated by local Athens, Georgia businesses and are greater than $25 in value. 

If the gnome is not found within the first two weeks of the month, hints will be given through social media as to the gnome’s whereabouts. The Gnome must be returned by the last business day of each month to redeem a prize. If the gnome is not found within the month it will be hidden in a new location and a new prize will be offered. 

ACC Leisure Services staff and family members are not eligible to claim prizes.

Night Hikes

Explore the trails at our parks by the light of the moon on these guided hikes. Enjoy activities that enhance the beauty and magic of our forest at night. Wear trail appropriate shoes and clothing. Please bring a small flashlight or headlamp; We will have a limited number of loaner flashlights. Pre-registration is required to ensure you have a spot on the hike. Ages 6 and up. 

Cost: $2 residents/ $3 non-residents

Full moon hike
Interpretive ranger leading hike by a river

Hike into History

Experience a glimpse into the past with Trails and Open Space.  Explore the trails at Ben Burton Park on this guided hike.  Learn about the history of the park and the role of the Middle Oconee River in Athens.

Birding for Beginners

Enjoy a spring birding walk in Dudley Park!  A Guest instructor will lead this walk covering the basics of birding.  We will stroll along the Greenway and Firefly rails in search of birds, discuss behavior, seasonal movement and habitat.  Enjoy views of the Oconee river corridor from high atop the Firefly bridge on this guided walk. 

Family on bikes

Family Fun Ride 

 Curious about the Greenway and Firefly Trails? Want to get the family out on bikes for the afternoon?  Join Trails and Open Space on this 8 mile tour of our multi-use trail system.  Our group will rally at the Sandy Creek Nature Center and ride the North Oconee Greenway to Dudley Park.  From there we will get on the The Firefly Trail and follow it to Old Winterville road before returning to the Nature Center.  All along this route we will stop to enjoy the sights and discuss points of interest.  This is (BYOB) bring your own bike event.

Cast Iron Chef Campfire Cookout

Join Trails and Open Space staff for a campfire with all the trimmings. Fire building with a variety of materials and methods. Demonstrations of dutch oven cooking. Sample foods from sweet to savory. Weenie roast. And yes, there will be s’mores. Share stories and enjoy the warmth of an open fire on a winter day. Bundle up and bring a chair for the fireside.

Cost: $4 residents / $6 non-residents


Cooking on a campfire.
Image does not exist