Looking for the best in fall foliage? Georgia State Parks offer fantastic options for viewing fall leaf color!
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources gave us the scoop on which of our state parks offer the best fall showing — and when. Generally, you’ll see fall color in Georgia starting in October and into early November — but we know you may want specifics! Keep an eye on their dedicated leaf watch site at www.GeorgiaStateParks.org/leafwatch for help finding the best scenery at the best time!
Here are 13 of our favorite Georgia State Parks for taking in the beauty of fall!
Stay in the lodge or climb to the top of the tallest falls in the area. Amicalola Falls gets very busy on pretty October weekends. Pumpkin farms and apple orchards are nearby — so you can enjoy all things fall while in the area! Besides climbing the stairs for beautiful waterfall views, the hike to Springer Mountain — where the Appalachian Trail officially begins (or ends!) — is an awesome way to take in all the beautiful fall colors.
Amicalola Falls is also home to the VERY BEST in leaf-peeping: Len Foote Hike Inn. Visiting the Hike Inn should be on everyone’s Georgia bucket list — it’s that good!
Rabun County is wonderful for fall color in Georgia. Black Rock offers four hiking trails and a waterfall, and some of the most outstanding scenery in Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. (There are seriously great views from their Visitor Center — so make sure to check it out!) Don’t miss a stop at Foxfire Museum while you’re in town.
One of Georgia’s most beautiful parks offers both easy-to-reach rim overlooks and challenging hiking trails.
A favorite hike takes you down a long, steep 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. Yurts are located off this trail.
Many people are surprised to find hardwood forests and rolling mountains south of Atlanta — but FDR State Park in Pine Mountain has them!
The 6.7-mile Wolf Den Loop 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 great views of the forested valley. Ga. Hwy. 190 is a pretty driving route while you’re in town.
This north Georgia park not only has beautiful fall colors, but a mysterious rock wall too! It’s a great place to go for hiking, and a history lesson too.
For the easiest walk, take the 1.2-mile loop around the park’s pretty, green lake. For a challenging, all-day hike, choose the 8-mile Gahuti Trail. Another great way to see the fall color in Georgia? By mountain bike! Or horseback! Fort Mountain has miles of trails for both.
A scenic drive on Hwy. 52 near the Cohutta Wilderness to the park has beautiful mountain scenery and overlooks worth stopping for.
Georgia’s smallest state park sits on the shores of the gorgeous deep-green Lake Burton. Fall leaves with a side of water? Yes, please!
Guests can choose from the 2-mile Hemlock Falls Trail or 1-mile Non-Game Trail with a wildlife observation tower.
Hwy. 197 is a particularly pretty road, passing Mark of the Potter and other popular attractions.
Just 40 minutes north of Atlanta you’ll find a variety of trails with nice fall color at Red Top Mountain State Park!
The easy, flat, 4-mile Iron Hill Loop is open to bikes and foot traffic, offering great views of the lake and forest. Another good choice for lake views is the 5.5-mile Homestead Trail.
Families with young children will like the paved walking path behind the park office. Be sure to explore the log cabin and blacksmith shed too!
A luxurious cabin on the creek makes for a wonderful Fall Break.
Protecting more than 6,000 acres around Dukes Creek, this is the perfect spot for fly fishing while enjoying fall color. Day visitors can picnic near the creek, and overnight guests can hike a private trail to Dukes Creek Falls.
A 1.6-mile loop climbs to Laurel Ridge and provides a view of Mt. Yonah once most leaves are off the trees. This park is near many wineries and Helen’s Oktoberfest. Just down the road is Unicoi (also on our list!) and Anna Ruby Falls.
Looking for fall colors, but don’t want to travel too far? Just west of Atlanta you’ll find 9 miles of hiking trails, a beautiful creek, and small lake at Sweetwater Creek State Park.
For an easy walk, take the popular 1-mile Red Trail which follows the creek to the ruins of an old mill. For more of a workout, continue past the mill to the Blue Trail, where you’ll climb steep bluffs for outstanding creek views. No matter which you choose, fall color will abound.
Sign up for a guided hike to learn more about this park’s Civil War history. Make a weekend of it with a stay in one of their yurts!
Tallulah is one of the most spectacular canyons in the southeast, and you can choose from easy or difficult trails at this awesome state park.
Hike along the rim to several overlooks with waterfall views, or get a permit from the park office to trek all the way to the bottom. And definitely take in the most beautiful views from the suspension bridge! In November, you can watch expert kayakers as they enjoy the bi-annual “whitewater releases.”
Be sure to watch the park’s film in the Visitor Center, because it includes heart-racing footage of kayakers and news clips from Karl Wallenda’s famous tightrope walk across the gorge.
Avoid driving through the Oktoberfest crowds in Helen by hiking a pretty 3-mile trail, which leads from the park and into town. You can enjoy lunch and window shopping before hiking back to the trailhead.
Mountain bikers can zip past fall color on the park’s challenging 7.5-mile bike loop. If you’re up for a steep hike, take the 4.8-mile Smith Creek Trail up to Anna Ruby Falls. (To avoid having to hike back, leave a second car at the falls.)
Nestled in the rolling hills of Georgia’s upper Piedmont, this is one of northern Georgia’s best kept secrets. A beautiful stream flows through the park, providing the perfect setting for an after-picnic stroll.
Hikers can follow either the short nature trail or the longer perimeter trail that travels through hardwoods and crosses creeks. It’s a great place to get away from the crowds and enjoy the beautiful changing leaves.
Vogel State Park, located at the base of Blood Mountain, is just perfect for fall leaf viewing!
The 4-mile Bear Hair Gap Trail makes a nice day trip for experienced hikers, offering great mountain color and a birds-eye view of the park’s lake. For an easier walk, follow the Lake Loop to Trahlyta Falls. And if you’re feeling up for the challenge — consider the 13-mile Coosa Backcountry Trail.
The twisting roads around Vogel, particularly Wolf Pen Gap Road, offer some of north Georgia’s prettiest fall scenery. Nearby is Helton Creek Falls and Mountain Crossings, a must-stop, where you can find beautiful mountain views from the back.
Other Great Places for Fall Color
Though not a state park, we recommend the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway as a great way to see the beauty of fall color in Georgia. There is just no better time to go than in the fall! (And Amicalola Falls State Park is only 45 minutes away — so you can make a weekend trip of it!)
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