5 Best Places to View Fall Colors in Georgia

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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 five 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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1. View the Fall Colors in Georgia on a Summit Hike

Blood Mountain is a nice place to see fall colors in Georgia
Blood Mountain Fall Color | Photo by Flickr/ Sammy Hancock

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 1-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.

2. Autumn in Georgia State Parks

best places to view fall colors in Georgia State Parks

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. 

Nearby Tallulah Gorge State Park offers waterfall views and one of the most impressive canyons in the Southeast region. The gorge is 2 miles long and 1,00 feet deep. Permits are required (free) to access the gorge floor. Be sure to check on the water release schedule before you go.

Red Top Mountain State Park is known for its lake and forest views. The trees surrounding Lake Allatoona put on a colorful spectacle. 

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.

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.

You can also try Fort Mountain, Amicalola Falls, or James “Sloppy” Floyd State Park for a breathtaking autumn spectacle.

Read more about over-nighting in a Georgia State Park Cottage.

3. See Fall Foliage in Georgia on a Mountain Zip Line

best places to view fall colors in Georgia zip line

What better way to view the autumn color changes than from within the trees themselves? Visit the world’s largest zip line course at Historic Banning MillsThere 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

4. Turning Leave in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Areas

best places to view fall colors in Georgia river

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

5. Experience Fall on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad

best places to view fall colors in Georgia 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.

Check for deals on the top family-friendly hotels in Georgia.

Read more about taking a weekend excursion to Blue Ridge, Georgia.

Love fall and ready for adventure? Check out these 5 must-see fall destinations on Southwest Airlines.

Featured photo by: Shutterstock

About the author

Lesli Peterson is Owner, Editor-in-Chief & CEO of 365 Atlanta Family. She made her way to Atlanta over 20 years ago, after living in Germany, Japan and six U.S. states. She relishes the discovery of obscure, offbeat and unwonted places, and she will chat up any willing stranger to uncover a new secret locale. She now serves as the Family Travel Ambassador for Georgia, Ambassador for Georgia Aquarium, and freelances for several publications. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene. Lesli has two kiddos (Cooper and Elliot) and two bonus college kiddos, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.

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