Leaf Watching in Georgia
Leaf watching time has arrived in Georgia, and it’s one of our favorite times of the year. As many of you know, Fontis Water’s supply is based in Blue Ridge, Georgia, close to some of the most beautiful places to watch the leaves turn this season. However, Georgia State Parks are a fan of this season too! So much so, they have created a website where you can learn more about the best places to Leaf Watch in Georgia!
Top 10 Parks for Great Leaf Watching (Source Georgia State Parks)
Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge — Dawsonville
Just an hour north of Atlanta you’ll find the Southeast’s tallest cascading waterfall. Short, flat paths lead to a boardwalk offering the most spectacular views. There’s also an easy-to-reach overlook at the top. For a tougher challenge, start from the bottom of the falls and hike up the steep staircase.
Black Rock Mountain State Park — Clayton
With an altitude of 3,640 feet, Black Rock Mountain is Georgia’s highest state park. (Brasstown Bald is the state’s highest peak.) Roadside overlooks and the summit Visitor Center offer sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The 2.2-mile Tennessee Rock Trail is a good choice for a short, moderate hike. For an all-day challenge, take the 7.2-mile James E. Edmonds Backcountry Trail. Stay atop the mountain in cozy cabins or wooded campsites.
Cloudland Canyon State Park — Near Chattanooga
One of Georgia’s most beautiful parks offers easy-to-reach rim overlooks and challenging trails. Listed as a favorite hike, it takes you down a staircase to the bottom of the canyon, where you’ll find two waterfalls. (Remember, you have to hike back up, but it’s worth it.) The 5-mile West Rim Loop is moderately difficult and offers great views of the canyon. Mountain bikers can test their skills at the Five Points Recreation Area. Yurt guests stay overnight right by a hiking trail.
F.D. Roosevelt State Park — Pine Mountain
Many people are surprised to find hardwood forests and rolling mountains south of Atlanta. Check out the 6.7-mile Wolf Den Loop, which is a favorite section of the longer Pine Mountain Trail. For a touch of history, drive to Dowdell’s Knob to see a life-size bronze sculpture of President F.D. Roosevelt and views of the forested valley. Ga. Hwy. 190 is a pretty driving route. The campground was renovated this summer and features new bathhouses.
Fort Mountain State Park — Chatsworth
This park is best known for a mysterious rock wall along the mountain top, plus a variety of trails. Enjoy the easiest walk, and take the 1.2-mile loop around the park’s green lake. Want a challenging, all-day hike? Choose the 8-mile Gahuti Trail. Mountain bikers have more than 14 miles to explore. Similarly, Hwy. 52 has beautiful mountain scenery and overlooks worth stopping to see.
Moccasin Creek State Park — Lake Burton
Georgia’s smallest state park sits on the shore of a gorgeous deep-green lake. Guests can choose from the 2-mile Hemlock Falls Trail or 1-mile Non-Game Trail with a wildlife observation tower. However, Hwy. 197 is a particularly pretty road, passing Mark of the Potter and other popular attractions.
Smithgall Woods State Park — Helen
Protecting more than 6,000 acres around Dukes Creek, this is the perfect spot for fly fishing or romantic cabin getaways. Day visitors can picnic near the creek, and overnight guests can hike a private trail to Dukes Creek Falls. An amazing 1.6-mile loop climbs to Laurel Ridge and provides a view of Mt. Yonah once most leaves are off the trees. Also, Smithgall Woods has some of the park system’s most sought-after cabins and is near wineries and Helen’s Oktoberfest.
Tallulah Gorge State Park — Near Clayton
This state park is one of the most spectacular canyons in the Southeast, and you can choose from easy or difficult trails. Firstly, you can hike along the rim to several overlooks with waterfall views, or take the staircase down (and up from) a suspension bridge. Secondly, you can camp inside the park or rent cabins at nearby Black Rock Mountain State Park.
Unicoi State Park & Lodge — Helen
Ziplines take you high above the forest canopy for a unique view of leaves. However, if you’re up for a steep hike, take the 4.8-mile Smith Creek Trail up to Anna Ruby Falls. Also, Unicoi offers a lodge and restaurant.
Vogel State Park — Blairsville
Vogel State Park offers a 4-mile Bear Hair Gap Trail makes a nice day trip for experienced hikers, offering a birds-eye view of the park’s lake. Why not try an easier walk, follow the Lake Loop to a small waterfall below the dam. Enjoy, twisting roads around Vogel, particularly Wolf Pen Gap Road, offer some of north Georgia’s prettiest fall scenery.