Many people who love the fall season flock to the Northeastern U.S. to see the colorful autumn leaves. However, 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. Here are our picks of places to check out when the leaves start turning.
Cloudland Canyon State Park, Rising Fawn
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, 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. There are also yurts you can rent out for a glamping weekend among the fall foliage.
Tallulah Gorge State Park, Tallulah Falls
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.
Yonah Mountain, Near Helen
Yonah Mountain is located near the town of Helen, Georgia and offers some excellent hiking opportunities to see fall foliage. The Yonah Mountain Trail extends about 4.4 miles round trip and is moderately difficult. Dogs are allowed on the trail, so bring your pup along to enjoy the crisp, cool fall weather. You can start your fall foliage journey from Chambers Mountain Road south of Helen and reach the summit in about 2.2 miles. 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. There’s also a fun Oktoberfest celebration that takes place in Helen every fall, so plan to refuel with tasty German brats and beer after your time among the trees.
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