Join us for a fun and informative tour & picnic of Olmsted Linear Park in Druid Hills, one of Atlanta's most beautiful parks.
Olmsted Linear Park consists of six park segments. We offer two separate tours.
- WEST: Dellwood + Shady Side + Oak Grove + Virgilee + Springdale Parks (all trails are paved; mostly flat)
- EAST: Dellwood + Deepdene Parks (Dellwood trails are paved but Deepdene is an old growth forest and the trails in this segment are unpaved and very hilly)
What to Expect
- All of our Olmsted Park tours begin and end in Dellwood Park, at corner of Clifton Rd and South Ponce de Leon Ave (if driving please park on S. Ponce)
- Our tours are led by a professional tour guide. You can expect a nice balance of history and casual conversation. You can also expect to make some new friends.
- The tours last approximately three (3) hours, which includes a 30-45 minute picnic lunch at a secret location (bring your own lunch)
- We walk at a leisurely pace as one of our goals is to enjoy being outside. Olmsted Linear Park is stunningly beautiful. It is also ideal for walking.
- Deepdene Park is an old growth forest. The trails in this segment of the Olmsted Parks are unpaved and are very hilly.
- Please arrive 15 minutes before the start time of the tour
- The itinerary and tour route may vary based on various factors including group size, weather, etc.
- We typically go if it is drizzling; we cancel if it is raining or if the temperature is expected to stay below 50-degrees F.
- Registration fees are non-refundable but you may self-cancel at anytime and apply 100% of your fee to a future tour
- You should be physically fit and capable of walking 3 - 5 miles in moderately hilly terrain at a moderate pace.
- If you have any doubts about your physical condition please do not register for this tour.
- The minimum age to participate is 12. Stroller-age children are welcome as long as they don't disrupt the tour.
- Pets are welcome as long as they don't bother other guests, are on a leash and you clean up after them.
- Cameras are fine but our tours may not be recorded by any means.
- Please contact guest support if you have specific questions not answered above.
History of the Park
In August 1995, local residents and non-profit organizations joined forces to come up with a strategy to stabilize and rehabilitate the Olmsted Linear Park. The planning process, led by the Olmsted Parks Society of Atlanta, Park Pride, the Druid Hills Garden Club and the Druid Hills Civic Association, incorporated the interests of residents, garden clubs, park advocates and preservationists. The Olmsted Linear Park Master Plan was developed with counsel from public officials and from local and national consultants, including historian Charles Beveridge, editor of the Olmsted Papers.
The major stakeholders of the park, The City of Atlanta, DeKalb County Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs and the Fernbank Musuem of Natural History, adopted a Master Plan in 1997 to establish the Olmsted Linear Park Alliance (OLPA), rehabilitate the park and provide for the park’s ongoing maintenance.
The OLPA Board of Directors include representatives from the Druid Hills community, the Neighborhood Planning Unit and the Olmsted Parks Society of Atlanta along with ex-officio representatives from the City of Atlanta, DeKalb County and Fernbank. OLPA, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, has undertaken the fundraising, restoration and maintenance activities recommended by the Master Plan.
All six park segments have been rehabilitated, work that has included the addition of nearly 6,000 linear feet of paths and the installation of 2,600 new trees and shrubs. The most expensive aspect of the restoration was the burial of utility lines. Approximately 11 miles of conduit and cable lie beneath the period lampposts that ring the park.
Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. in 1890. (Courtesy of the National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, Brookline, Massachusetts)
The Olmsted Legacy
In 1890 Atlanta businessman Joel Hurt engaged Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., to prepare a plan for developing the area now known as Druid Hills. Olmsted was recognized as the nation’s preeminent designer of parks and public open spaces. His work included Central Park in New York City, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, the Emerald Necklace of Boston, the Biltmore Estate in Asheville and the nation’s Capitol Grounds. The Olmsted firm submitted a preliminary plan to Hurt in 1893 in which the six-segment Linear Park was first laid out. The firm completed the final plan in 1905, two years after the death of Olmsted, and remained involved with the work until 1908, when the property was acquired by the Druid Hills Corporation. The area was then developed and the Park completed under the leadership of Coca-Cola magnate Asa G. Candler. The design of Druid Hills soon became the standard by which other Atlanta developments were measured. The curving stretches of its landmark greenspace have delighted generations of area residents and the thousands of persons who come and go along Ponce de Leon Avenue every day.
SOURCE: Olmsted Linear Park Alliance