Take a Walk Through Atlanta's Doll's Head Trail

Doll's Head Trail
Doll's Head Trail. MNN
You can only use things found on property
The rules are simple at Doll's Head Trail. Snapshot from video

Tucked away in a corner of southeast Atlanta is Constitution Lakes, a little-known nature preserve that's home to scenic wetlands, a variety of wildlife and a constantly evolving art exhibit created entirely from items found in the park.

Once the site of a brickyard, the property was purchased by DeKalb County in 2003. Soon after, a paved walkway and a boardwalk were added around one side of the lakes.

Located in Southeast Atlanta
Constitution Lakes and the surrounding wetlands provide a surprising habitat for birds and animals. MNN
A fun walk to the Doll's Head Trail
The boardwalk at Constitution Lakes. Snapshot from video

The brickyard shut down nearly 50 years ago, and the lakes were created when water filled the clay excavation pits.

Today, Constitution Lakes is a wetland habitat that’s popular for birding, and it’s home to herons, geese, kingfishers, hawks and several other bird species.

It is an art instillation
The forest turns into a trail filled with doll heads. MNN

The preserve sustains a wide range of plant species and wildlife, and in 2013, one of its willow oaks was certified as the tallest in Atlanta.

Venture off the boardwalk to further explore the preserve, and you might happen upon a hidden gem of the park: Doll's Head Trail.

In 2011, park regulars began constructing art pieces along a section of trail with items found only at Constitution Lakes.

Joel Slaton, a local carpenter, started the trail as part of his vision to make an art project out of the doll arts and trash scattered throughout the park.

Fishing lures, horseshoes, toilet lids, turtle shells and, of course, dolls' heads transform the path into a unique art walk.

Doll's Head Trail
Humor is not lacking in the notes left behind. MNN
Doll's Head Trail
Doll's Head Trail. MNN

"The trail is now public art, built by the public. The displays have changed a lot over time, mostly due to cherry-picking and vandalism," Slaton told CNN. "Luckily, a lot has been preserved online. Nothing protects the trail but the good will of the people visiting it and the fact that it's a mile, almost, back in the woods."

Visitors are encouraged to add to the exhibit as long as they abide by the rule: Only use pieces found in the park.

Hikers can also leave their own mark by picking up one of the markers left along the trail to scribble a note, quote or "I was here" message on one of the numerous bricks that dot the path.

So if you decide to visit, be sure to bring some insect repellent, a creative spirit, and an appreciation for spookiness. Just don't forget to follow the rules if you decide to create some art while there!

Check out more photos from the trail below:

Doll's Head Trail
Nothing like a refreshing reminder from Thoreau. MNN
Doll's Head Trail
And you thought Stonehenge could only be seen in England. MNN
Doll's Head Trail
Some elements of the art instillation have incredible detail. MNN
Doll's Head Trail
Some of the art is large and some is small, but all have a point. MNN
Doll's Head Trail
Get ready to enjoy some 'punny' exhibits along the way. Snapshot from video
Doll's Head Trail
Nothing like a large doll head pinned to a tree to help celebrate Halloween. Snapshot from video
Doll's Head Trail
You may encounter some political commentary along the trail. MNN
Doll's Head Trail
If doll heads creep you out, the trail will force you to face your fears. MNN
Doll's Head Trail
An appropriate quote for an appropriate ending to our journey through the Doll's Head Trail. MNN