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Those who love the fall season often flock to the Northeastern United States to see the colorful autumn leaves. However, Georgia is one of the country’s most underrated fall foliage destinations! This state is packed with beautiful and accessible state parks with plenty of trees, gorgeous lakes, and wide-open spaces to take in all those vibrant reds, oranges, yellows, and browns. These are our nine unique places to embrace the season’s colors and see the fall foliage in Georgia.
Cloudland Canyon State Park, Rising Fawn
Cloudland Canyon is a beautiful Georgia destination at any time of year, but its colors come alive in fall. There are some great hiking routes here and mountain biking trails that allow you to view the fall foliage while also getting some excellent exercise. The Five Points Recreation Area has single-track trails that are fun and challenging for mountain bikers. For hiking, the West Rim Loop offers fantastic canyon views, is moderately difficult, and is about five miles in total length. There are some yurts here that you can rent out for a glamping weekend among the fall foliage.
Piedmont Park, Atlanta
While many of the best views of fall foliage require a trip out to one of Georgia’s state parks, you can see some gorgeous colors in Atlanta. Head to Piedmont Park to see the city’s stunning architecture next to the beautiful leaves turning from green to red, orange, and yellow. There are some excellent paved trails for walking your dog and going for runs, as well as a large off-leash dog park for your pup to run and play. Atlanta is the “city of trees,” which should tell you that there are lovely spots all over town to snap photographs and relax among the natural beauty.
Tallulah Gorge State Park, Tallulah Falls
Tallulah Gorge is always a stunning and impressive park, but you miss out if you haven’t seen it in the fall. It’s a famous canyon in the Southeast, with opportunities to hike along the rim to see colorful oak and maple trees. If you’re up for a longer hike, stop by the visitor center early in the morning to get a permit to hike down to the gorge floor. It’s an ideal place for hiking and also whitewater kayaking. In November, the water here is released from the dam, creating some intense Class IV and Class V rapids. Therefore, it’s best to leave these adrenaline-boosting waters to the true experts.
Brasstown Bald, Near Blairsville
Brasstown Bald is a famous mountain in North Georgia that offers dramatic views of the fall foliage. It’s also the highest peak in the state. If you’re up for a challenge, hike the Arkaquah Trail to the top, which involves a steep initial incline and traversing ridge lines. You’ll be rewarded with lovely views of the colorful leaves in fall and the nearby farms down below.
Red Top Mountain State Park, Cartersville
If you’re coming from Atlanta, it’s an easy drive of less than an hour to reach Red Top Mountain State Park. Here you can see Lake Allatoona surrounded by all the beauty of fall colors. The Hill Loop is a great trail to see the lake and forest with all its colors on foot or a bike. You can also get some excellent lake views from the Homestead Trail, which is about a 5.5-mile hike.
Black Rock Mountain State Park, Clayton
Black Rock Mountain’s summit stands at approximately 3,640 feet, and you can get incredible views of the fall foliage from up here. One recommended fall foliage hike is the James Edmond Backcountry Trail, which has a few primitive campsites available to stay overnight in a tent. This loop trail extends a little over seven miles and takes you to the top of Lookoff Mountain. For a shorter hike, try the Tennessee Rock Trail, which is about 2.2 miles long and has excellent views.
Yonah Mountain, Near Helen
Yonah Mountain is located near the town of Helen, Georgia and offers some excellent hiking opportunities to see fall foliage. The Yonah Mountain Trail extends about 4.4 miles round trip and is moderately difficult. Dogs are allowed on the trail, so bring your pup along to enjoy the crisp, cool fall weather. You can start your fall foliage journey from Chambers Mountain Road south of Helen and reach the summit in about 2.2 miles. Views from the trail are gorgeous but don’t get too close to the drop-offs at the top because they can be dangerous. You can also set up a tent at the summit of Yonah Mountain or base camp, and primitive campsites are first-come-first-served. While in the Helen area, you can visit the Unicoi State Park and Lodge, which offers lovely views of the colorful leaves and even zip lines to take you to the top of them. There’s also a fun Oktoberfest celebration in Helen every fall, so plan to refuel with tasty German brats and beer after your time among the trees.
Vogel State Park, Blairsville
The fall colors are also in full effect in Vogel State Park near Blairsville. Hiking and trail running are popular activities here. If you’re an experienced hiker, consider setting out on the Bear Hair Gap Trail, which is about a four-mile hike. You’ll get the best views of Lake Trahlyta and all the colorful leaves surrounding it. The Lake Loop is another nice hike that takes you to a little waterfall.
Fort Mountain State Park, Chatsworth
A lesser-known fall foliage destination in Georgia is Fort Mountain State Park, another park favored by mountain bikers. There are suitable trails for both beginner and experienced bikers. A good beginner bike trail is the Gold Mine Trail, while 301 East-West Loop is exciting if you enjoy steep downhills. There are over 14 miles to explore here on a mountain bike. This park may see colorful trees including dogwoods, hickories, and oaks.