It’s that time of year again when Mother Nature puts on her best show. Reds, yellows, and oranges paint the sky; the mountains are calling, and fall foliage in Georgia puts on quite the show. Here are some of the best places to view fall colors in Georgia and take in the stunning changes this autumn season in the Atlanta Metro area.
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Georgia Fall Foliage- Top Places to Enjoy Fall Colors in Georgia
View the Fall Colors in Georgia on a Summit Hike
Georgia’s mountain ranges amass with summits that allow hikers to see for miles in multiple directions.
Our family’s favorites hiking trails for great views include Pine Mountain Trail in Cartersville and Blood Mountain in Blairsville. Both of these are rugged trails, two and five miles, respectively. Blood Mountain is the highest point on the Georgia portion of the Appalachian Trail.
Arabia Mountain offers an easier one-mile hike for vista views from the top of Mountaintop Trail. Fall unleashes gorgeous color including the unique Stone Mountain Yellow Daisy (also called the Confederate Daisy) that only grows within a 60-mile radius of the area.
Be sure to stay on the trail, which is marked with cairns. There are many delicate plants on the mountain which can easily be crushed by hikers.
Finally, take to the top of the Blue Ridge Mountain chains southern-most summit on the Indian Seats Trail at Sawnee Nature Preserve. Unique rock “seat” formations at the top provide the perfect respite for overlooking the mountain’s colorful show.
Not sure where to stay while on your Georgia fall foliage adventure? Check out these 25 resorts in Georgia that are recommended by a local.
Black Rock Mountain State Park
Fifteen of Georgia’s State Parks are in the colorful North Georgia Mountains, making them an ideal location for hiking, lounging, fishing, and spending a glorious fall weekend. The Georgia State Parks operate a Leaf Watch website which a great resource for those looking to visit during peak autumn.
With the highest elevation of any park in the state, Black Rock Mountain State Park in Clayton tends to see fall’s majesty first. There are plenty of overlooks which offer picture-perfect views of the turning Blue Ridge Mountains. Those looking to hike should try the 2.2-mile Tennessee Rock Trail.
Tallulah Gorge State Park
Also in North Georgia, Tallulah Gorge State Park offers waterfall views and one of the most impressive canyons in the Southeast region. Start your visit at the Tallulah Gorge Overlook, where you can see the full expanse of the gorge and the Tallulah River below. The views are particularly breathtaking when the foliage is at its peak.
The gorge is two miles long and 1,00 feet deep. The most popular trail in the park is the Hurricane Falls Loop Trail, which takes you to a suspension bridge and has vistas of the gorge and waterfall. Permits are required (free) to access the gorge floor. Be sure to check on the water release schedule before you go.
Amicalola Falls State Park
Amicalola Falls State Park is known for its namesake waterfall which plunges 729 feet and is surrounded by lush forests of oak, maple, and hickory,that transform into a kaleidoscope of red, orange, and yellow in the falls.
Hike the Falls Trail, a steep but rewarding trail that leads to the waterfall’s base. Along the way, you’ll be surrounded by trees displaying their autumn colors, and at the end of the trail, you’ll have a close-up view of the cascading falls.
If you aren’t a hiker, the park has several scenic overlooks with views of the surrounding mountains and valleys blanketed in fall colors. The Amicalola Falls Overlook and Len Foote Hike Inn are particularly scenic spots.
Cloudland Canyon State Park
Fall colors in Georgia can be found in Cloudland Canyon State Park. The deep oranges, reds, and yellows against the canyon walls breathe new life into any adventure.
This beautiful park is known for its rugged canyons, sandstone cliffs, and dense woodlands, making it a prime spot to witness the vibrant colors of autumn. The West Rim Loop Trail and the Waterfalls Trail are popular choices for leaf-peeping.
The park is home to two stunning waterfalls, Cherokee Falls and Hemlock Falls. Hike down into the canyon to see these falls up close, surrounded by trees adorned in fall colors.
Vogel State Park
Over in Blairsville, Vogel State Park is home to the 4-mile Bear Hair Gap Trail. This trail overs views of the lake from above and wonderful autumn color. If you are looking for a nice fall drive, enjoy the twisting, turning scenery of Wolf Pen Gap Road.
The centerpiece of Vogel State Park is Lake Trahlyta, which reflects the surrounding forested hillsides and vibrant foliage during the fall. Stroll along the lakeside trail past Trahlyta Falls, rent a paddleboat, or simply relax by the shore to take in the autumn colors.
You can also try Fort Mountain, Red Top Mountain State Park or James “Sloppy” Floyd State Park for a breathtaking autumn spectacle.
Read more about over-nighting in a Georgia State Park Cottage.
See Falls Colors in Georgia While on a Mountain Zip Line
What better way to view the autumn color changes than from within the trees themselves? Visit the one of the world’s largest zip line courses at Historic Banning Mills.
There are four different levels of excitement to choose from. Soar through 10 miles of canopy, crossing a babbling creek in West Georgia. Children as young as eight can participate in the fun.
Spend the weekend if you can, Banning Mills won “Prettiest Place in Georgia” and “Best Weekend Getaway in Georgia” by WSBTV2 and the AJC.
North Georgia Canopy Tours is another fall-color zip line adventure, complete with teepee bunks for overnight explorers.
Find more Georgia fun with our Top Ten Things to do in Georgia with kids.
Helen, Georgia, is a charming Bavarian-inspired town nestled in the North Georgia Mountains, and it’s a fantastic place to enjoy fall foliage. The town’s picturesque setting, surrounded by wooded hills and the Chattahoochee River, becomes especially enchanting when the leaves change colors during the autumn season.
The Chattahoochee River flows right through Helen, and the riverside area is a great place to witness the fall foliage. Walk along the riverbanks or enjoy a picnic in one of the riverside parks while taking in the scenic views.
Anna Ruby Falls in Unicoi State Park is a beautiful place to visit during the fall. The twin waterfalls are surrounded by lush forest, and the walk to the falls offers a chance to see the changing leaves.
Experience Autumn in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Areas
If you’re looking for fall color closer to the city, try one of 15 different units of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.
Walk along the river at Island Ford, where gigantic boulders and towering pines line the trail. The ruins at Sope Creek make it a fun hike for the kids, with the golden leaves reflecting in the river.
The best place, by far, to see the colors of fall is in a canoe or kayak along the 48 miles of river in this recreational area.
Spend more time in the big city. Discover what made our list of the best things to do in Atlanta with kids.
Experience Fall on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad
Blaze through the Blue Ridge Mountains on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. While the forest is aglow with seasonal shades of red, yellow, and orange, you can relax in comfort. Southern Living named the railway one of the top five attractions for experiencing fall color.
Our family relishes the 26-mile round trip excursion to the Georgia/Tennessee border. A two-hour layover in the border town leaves time for a great lunch and window-shopping.
Any seat on the railway is fantastic, but the best views (and most fun!) are from the open-air cars. Get your tickets early; this is a popular event, drawing passengers from multiple states in the area.
Read more about things to do in Blue Ridge, Georgia.
Drive the Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway
The Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway, often referred to as simply the Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway, is one of Georgia’s most picturesque drives, especially during the fall foliage season. This scenic highway runs through the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests in the North Georgia Mountains and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and vibrant autumn colors.
The byway is home to several waterfalls, such as Dukes Creek Falls and Raven Cliff Falls. Hike the short trails to these falls to enjoy the surrounding fall foliage. The highest point in Georgia, Brasstown Bald, is accessible via a short drive from the byway. From the visitor center, you can hike to the summit, where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and its colorful foliage.
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