Let’s say you’re a fan of The Walking Dead visiting Atlanta for a couple of days. And while you’re in town you suddenly decide you’d like to visit that quarry from season one, just North of downtown. Your timeline is tight, however, and you haven’t planned ahead, so none of the “official” options are open to you.
No worries: this step-by-step guide will lead you to the borders of Bellwood Quarry, and even get a look at the gorgeous setting itself – as long as you are willing to take a few risks. Hey, it’s a zombie apocalypse we’re talking about, who isn’t willing to take a few risks?
Search long enough on Google and you’ll find a Four Square checkin that gives you the GPS coordinates for the quarry. Follow the directions to those coordinates, however, and you’ll find yourself at a large gate with a security camera on the other side looking your way. Getting into the paranoid nature of the assignment, I opted to park where my license plate wouldn’t be on camera.
The park surrounding the quarry is huge, offering more than one approach from more than one street. Find your way to the intersection of Johnson Rd and Rockdale St NW. It’s an industrial neighborhood, so keep your head up, and don’t leave anything visible in your car that you’d like to keep. Make your way on foot Southeast along Rockdale St, past the two abandoned houses on your right. Enjoy the sense of adventure brought on by abandoned houses, a complete lack of traffic and the sense of following in Rick or Glen’s footsteps.
Make your way between the debris into the field beyond. Once you are in the field, stay close to the left (South) edge of the field.
You should be able to easily find a path to follow West along the field. Once you get about midway across the field, start looking down and to your left (South) for a way to cut through these woods. Any Walking Dead fan worth one of Daryl’s crossbow bolts will be able to pick out a path leading South through the trees.
If, however, you have lots of time on your hands and are a total Woodbury pussy, make your way all the way across the field to the dirt road and make a left. The rest of the group will be waiting for you when you grow a pair.
The trees get a little thick, but nothing insanely dense. Once you come out on the far side you’ll see a wide open field with a barb-wire fence making a perimeter around Bellwood Quarry. Resist the urge to head straight for the South side, and instead following the road towards the North end of the quarry.
Here at the North end you’ll find a gate that would offer the easiest way over the fence and into the quarry, if you were willing to break the law. My lawyers have requested that I point out that the City of Atlanta has Bellwood Quarry fenced off for good reason, and anyone foolish enough to put their life at risk by climbing over an obvious fence to stand on the edge of a cliff does so at their own risk.
In all seriousness, if you do decide to get a closer look at the quarry, stay the fuck back from the edge.
What looks like a gentle hillside past that initial stand of conifer trees is actually a cliff, waiting to break your legs and make you feel stupid, possibly even dead.
But if you do hop the fence, you’ll be rewarded with your first views of the quarry. And your first real flirtation with danger.
On the outside of the fence, make your way South clock-wise, past the warning-laden security gate. That whole thing about closed-circuit cameras is no lie, as you’ll see soon enough. Continue South along the fence, picking up the trail leading around the perimeter. Note the large pole with 3 security cameras and a solar panel. If you want to touch the bottom of the quarry, you have to make it past this contraption. I didn’t have time.
I wanted The Photo of Atlanta’s skyline as seen in so many shots from season one. So I kept going around the Southern border of the quarry until I was just about at the large power plant, and snapped this photo.
Make your way counter-clockwise until you come to a large gate. If you were going to try and get a look at the Southern end of the quarry, this gate would give you your best shot to climb over. Should you decide to break the law and put your life at risk, you’d do well to follow the path inside the fence for about 75 feet until you come to the 2 concrete traffic barriers.
This is as good a view as you are going to get. It is also as dangerous as it gets in here. Just a few feet past those concrete barriers is a sheer cliff, dropping 70 feet to the road below. From the road, it looks to be another 120 feet to the water. Get your photos, but don’t be a hero and try to get the “look how sheer this cliff is!” photo.
Now that you’ve tasted the view of the quarry from the lip, maybe you’re hankerin’ for a closer look. Maybe you’re even feelin’ froggy enough to try and make your way past the security cameras and down to the water. I went totally Dale at this point, and climbed back over the fence and made my way back to my rental car. If you do decide to make a run for the bottom of the quarry, do me a favor and send me a photo. I’d love to see it, and will post it here.