Best Hikes in Georgia
Fall is an amazing time to get outside and hit the trail in Georgia. The leaves are changing, the air is crisp, and the summer heat is finally fading. Whether you’re looking to challenge yourself on a long day hike or head out for a leisurely stroll with the whole family, there’s a hike on this list for anyone who wants to hit the trail this fall.
Georgia is actually one of the most underrated fall foliage destinations in the country! This state is packed with beautiful and accessible state parks with plenty of trees and wide-open spaces to take in all those vibrant reds, oranges, yellows, and browns. Take a look and start making your plans to explore Georgia.
Cloudland Canyon is a wonderful Georgia destination at any time of year, but it’s colors really come alive in fall. There are some great hiking routes here, as well as mountain biking trails that allow you to view the fall foliage while also getting some excellent exercise. The Five Points Recreation Area has single-track trails that are fun and challenging for mountain bikers. For hiking, the West Rim Loop offers amazing views of the canyon, is moderately difficult, and is about five miles in total length.
Head to Piedmont Park to see the city’s stunning architecture next to the beautiful leaves turning from green to red, orange, and yellow. There are some nice paved trails for walking your dog and going for runs here, as well as a large off-leash dog park for your pup to run and play. Atlanta is sometimes referred to as the “city of trees,” which should tell you that there are lovely spots all over town to snap photographs and relax among the natural beauty.
Tallulah Gorge is always a stunning and impressive park to visit, but you’re really missing out if you haven’t seen it in the fall. It’s a very popular canyon to visit in the Southeast and allows you to hike along the rim to see colorful oak and maple trees. If you’re up for a longer hike, stop by the visitor center early in the morning to get a permit to hike down to the gorge floor. This is an ideal place for hiking and also whitewater kayaking.
Brasstown Bald is a famous mountain in North Georgia that offers dramatic views of the fall foliage. It’s also the highest peak in the state. If you’re up for a challenge, hike the Arkaquah Trail to the top, which involves a steep initial incline and traversing ridge lines. You’ll be rewarded with lovely views of the colorful leaves in fall, as well as the nearby farms down below.
If you’re coming from Atlanta, it’s an easy drive of less than an hour to reach Red Top Mountain State Park. Here you can see Lake Allatoona surrounded by all of the beauty of fall colors. The Hill Loop is a great trail to see the lake and forest with all of its colors on foot or on a bike. You can also get some nice views of the lake from the Homestead Trail, which is about a 5.5-mile hike.
Black Rock Mountain’s summit stands at approximately 3,640 feet, and you can get incredible views of the fall foliage from up here. One recommended fall foliage hike is the James Edmond Backcountry Trail, which has a few primitive campsites available to stay overnight in a tent. This is a loop trail that extends a little over seven miles and takes you to the top of Lookoff Mountain.
Yonah Mountain is located near the town of Helen, Georgia and offers some excellent hiking opportunities to see fall foliage. Views from the trail are gorgeous, but don’t get too close to the drop-offs at the top because they can be dangerous. You can also set up a tent at the summit of Yonah Mountain or at base camp, and primitive campsites are first-come-first-served. While in the Helen area, you can visit the Unicoi State Park and Lodge, which offers lovely views of the colorful leaves and even zip lines to take you to the top of them.
The fall colors are also in full effect in Vogel State Park near Blairsville. Hiking and trail running are popular activities here. If you’re an experienced hiker, consider setting out on the Bear Hair Gap Trail, which is about a four-mile hike. From here, you’ll get the best views of Lake Trahlyta and all the colorful leaves that surround it. The Lake Loop is another nice hike that takes you to a little waterfall.
This is another park that’s favored by mountain bikers, and there are suitable trails for both beginner and experienced bikers. A good beginner bike trail is the Gold Mine Trail, while the 301 East-West Loop is exciting if you enjoy steep downhills. There are over 14 miles to explore here on a mountain bike. Colorful trees that you may see in this park include dogwoods, hickories, and oaks.