Georgia leaf watch is on! 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 Georgia Leaf Watch site for help finding the best scenery at the best time!
Ready to “fall” for Georgia State Parks? Here are 13 of our favorite Georgia State Parks for taking in the beauty of fall.
AMICALOLA FALLS STATE PARK (DAWSONVILLE)
Amicalola Falls State Park is home to a 729-foot waterfall that’s the third-highest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River. It’s also home to beautiful fall foliage during the autumn months.
Stay in the lodge, stay at a cottage, camp, or climb (or drive) to the top of the falls for spectacular views. This state park 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, at the Len Foote Hike Inn. Visiting the Hike Inn should be on everyone’s Georgia bucket list — it’s that good! It’s perfect for a Georgia Leaf Watch adventure.
Tip: Even if you’re not staying at the lodge, you should take in the amazing views from its back porch, right off the lobby. You won’t regret it.
BLACK ROCK MOUNTAIN STATE PARK (CLAYTON)
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 and overlooks — so make sure to check it out!
CLOUDLAND CANYON STATE PARK (RISING FAWN)
Cloudland Canyon State Park is one of Georgia’s most beautiful parks, and it offers both easy-to-reach rim overlooks and challenging hiking trails.
The aptly-named Waterfalls Trail 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. This loop trail offers awesome views any time of year, but is especially beautiful in the fall.
If you want to make a weekend of it, you’ll find cabins, yurts, and campsites here.
F.D. ROOSEVELT STATE PARK (PINE MOUNTAIN)
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.
Make a weekend of it and stay in a cabin or campsite along the lake. Nearby Callaway Gardens is a great stop, too.
FORT MOUNTAIN STATE PARK (CHATSWORTH)
This north Georgia park not only has beautiful fall colors, but a mysterious rock wall too! Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth is a great place to go for hiking and a history lesson.
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.
GEORGE L. SMITH STATE PARK (TWIN CITY)
George L. Smith State Park, located about 15 minutes outside Metter, is the perfect place to see fall foliage on the water.
Rent a canoe or kayak from the park and take in the beautiful fall color while navigating through the stands of tupelo and cypress trees coming up from the black water. Stay in one of their newly-remodeled cabins with screened porches and gas fireplaces, or get a campsite right on the water.
Only Mother Nature could put on such a beautiful fall showing.
MOCCASIN CREEK STATE PARK (LAKE BURTON)
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 at Moccasin Creek State Park 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.
PANOLA MOUNTAIN STATE PARK (STOCKBRIDGE)
Panola Mountain State Park is an awesome state park for fall color, that’s only 15 minutes outside Atlanta.
See the beautiful fall foliage by bicycle! Explore the 30-mile PATH Trail that takes you over water and through beautiful fall leaves. The PATH Trail connects Panola with Arabia Mountain, Stonecrest Mall, and more.
While you’re at the park, consider taking a ranger-led hike to Panola Mountain, try archery, or participate in their tree-climbing program. A visit here is a great way to experience nature outside of the city.
RED TOP MOUNTAIN STATE PARK (LAKE ALLATOONA)
Just 40 minutes north of Atlanta, you’ll find a variety of trails with nice fall color at Red Top Mountain State Park on Lake Allatoona in Acworth.
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!
To spend more time enjoying the warm, sunny days, stay at one of their lakeside campsites, or in one of their newly-remodeled cabins.
SWEETWATER CREEK STATE PARK (LITHIA SPRINGS)
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 from the park rangers. Make a weekend of it with a stay in one of their yurts!
TALLULAH GORGE STATE PARK (TALLULAH FALLS)
Tallulah Gorge is one of the most spectacular canyons in the southeast, and you can choose from easy or difficult trails at Tallulah Gorge 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 (they’re free). 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.”
If you’re on a Georgia Leaf Watch adventure, you can’t get better than this!
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.
VICTORIA BRYANT STATE PARK (ROYSTON)
Nestled in the rolling hills of Georgia’s upper Piedmont, Victoria Bryant State Park 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 (BLAIRSVILLE)
Vogel State Park, located at the base of Blood Mountain, is just perfect for Georgia Leaf Watch adventures.
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 the Mountain Crossings store, a must-stop, where you can find beautiful mountain views from the back of the shop.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR GEORGIA LEAF WATCH ADVENTURES
- GEORGIA VACATION
- FALL IN ATLANTA: 43+ Freaking Fabulous Ways To Cozy Up To Fall In & Around Atlanta
- FALL FESTIVALS: 55+ Best Fall Festivals In Georgia That You’ll Love
- HIKE INN: “Hike Inn” To This Epic Fall Destination Perfect For Outdoor Families
- WHEN AND WHERE TO SEE COLORS: Fall Colors in GA: When & Where to See the Leaves
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