Gorgeous Hikes in Northern Georgia

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We’ve spent the last week exploring some of Kentucky’s parks and South Carolina’s Congaree National Park (read all about it here).  Now, we’re on our way to enjoy some gorgeous hikes in northern Georgia.  Let me tell you that if you have never been to northern Georgia, especially in the mid to late fall, it is beautiful.  Put it on your list!

Feel the Burn

The first thing on our travel itinerary is a visit to Tallulah Gorge State Park.  Be warned this is a popular place.  This park offers a bird’s eye view of a monster waterfall.  With over 20 miles of trails, you have a lot to choose from.

If you want to hike the Gorge Floor Trail, they grant 100 permits per day on a first-come-first-served basis.  Click here for a map of trails.

We stop at the Jane Hurt Yarn Interpretive Center to study the history and natural history of this area.  There is a neat taxidermic display here, showing the native wildlife of this region.  Then we hop on the North Rim Trail to gain access to the Hurricane Falls Trail.

The Hurricane Falls Trail is a stair master workout.  I don’t know how many stairs you have to climb, but you better be in good shape.  At the bottom of the staircase is an impressive suspension bridge right over the falls and gorge.  It is awesome!

Blue Ridge Beauty

After gawking at the falls and then climbing back up the millions of stairs, we head north to Black Rock Mountain State Park.

This park is Georgia’s highest state park.  There are some good vistas from the various overlooks in the park.

This park has 4 hiking trails.  The longest is the James E. Edmonds Loop at 7.5 miles.

We chose to do the forested summit and ridges trail: the Tennessee Rock Trail.  This hike is a 2.2-mile loop.  It has some mild elevation up to the Blackrock Mountain Summit where a monument awaits you.

On a clear day, you can view the Southern Appalachians for 80-miles.  They are especially pretty during the fall.

If you have never hiked in the Appalachian Mountains before, this is a typical example and would be enjoyed by those who love to be among trees.

We also hiked to the Ada-hi Falls.  Be aware that this trail, while short (.25 loop), has many stairs.

Do not expect an impressive sight here, but appreciate the small cascade typical of higher-elevations in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Black Rock Mountain State Park is a nice spot.  You may want to stop here for a picnic with a lovely view.

Click here for a map of the park’s trail system.

Georgia’s Tallest

Let me tell you that the scenic drives in this part of the country during the fall are spectacular.  From Black Rock Mountain State Park, we drive down the 19/129 to the turnoff for Brasstown Bald.  Now this place is chock-full of tourists.  Everyone wants to see this view.

You can shuttle to the top or hike the Brasstown Bald Trail, which is a steep .5-mile paved walk.

The view up here is worth all the craziness. Tune out the people vying for a selfie and enjoy a 360-degree panorama from atop the 4,784-foot bald.  Before climbing up to the observation deck, check out the Visitor Center.

It tells the history of the people who lived here.  There are other hiking trails here should you want to explore.  The Jacks Knob Foot Trail is 4.5 miles and leads to the Appalachian Trail.  For a map of trails, click here.

The Approach

We spent the night camping at the Desoto Falls Campground, which I highly recommend.  The sites here are huge, and the spot is lovely.  Today we are making the drive to the famous state park where most Appalachian Trail northbound (nobo) thru-hikers begin their trek each spring.  Amicalola Falls State Park is home of the Appalachian Approach Trail.

Behind the Visitor’s Center is a stone archway.  Thousands of hikers step through this arch every spring beginning their trek across 14 states all the way to Mt. Katahdin in Maine.  To read about our 2018 thru-hike of the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail, click here.

We have come to explore Amicalola because, although we thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, we did not do the 8-mile Approach Trail.  So, we have never been to Amicalola.  Instead, we began our hike at the Southern Terminus: Springer Mountain.

This park’s highlight, of course, is the falls.  They are wonderful.  We hiked from the reflection pool all the way up the supposed 425 steps to view the falls from the top.  This is a fun and challenging hike.  The falls are multi-tiered and cascade down 730 feet.

Of all Georgia’s State Parks visited so far, this one is my favorite.  Warning!  There are people everywhere.  The lodge has a great view.  If you get to stay there, lucky you!  For a map of the park, click here.

Appalachian Vista

To finish up our tour of some of northern Georgia’s state parks, we then head to Cloudland Canyon State Park in the northwest.  There are 64 miles of hiking trails in this park.  The main attraction here is the main overlook.  Park across from the Interpretive Center.  Just behind it, is the Overlook Trail.  It is flat, paved, and 1-mile round trip.

Follow this down to the main overlook and then to another overlook to the east.  Have your camera ready.  The view of the canyon is sweeping.

Northern Georgia has numerous state parks.  We visited four state parks while there and each one has a lot to offer.  There are also spots of interest and scenic and recreation areas here.  You could spend quite a bit of time exploring.  This region is beautiful in the fall especially.  The trees display amazing fall colors.

Additionally, the scenic drives through the Appalachian Mountains are pretty.  If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave us a comment.  To get more ideas on where to travel, visit our road trips page here.

Hiker Tips

  • Your park pass is good for the day.  We visited multiple state parks in one day, and it only cost us $5.

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