Georgia’s outdoor offerings have everything. This is because it is bordered by five states giving it a truly unique mix of outdoor topography. What’s more, its southeastern border has the Atlantic Ocean providing more than 100 miles of coastline.
The diverse terrain combined with the amazing views guarantees that many Georgia hiking trails are outstanding.
Hiking trails in Georgia will embody just about any nature trip you desire. It has canyons, mountains, gorges, rugged summits, waterways, marshes, wildflower woodlands, and vivid colored forests.
The terrain range satisfies hikers, whether novice or expert, and everyone in between. Georgia hiking will not disappoint even the most voracious outdoor personality.
Here are Some of the Best Hikes in Georgia
1. Yonah Mountain Trail
The Yonah Mountain Trail is one of Georgia’s most famous hikes. It has sharp drop-offs, is reasonably hard, and has great views throughout the climb. The trail starts at the foothills of the southern Appalachian Mountains, extending upward from the landscape between Helen and Cleveland.
The mountain has a famous uneven shape and enormous, visible rock outcrops close to the top, which contribute to its popularity with hikers. Visitors will notice several campsites along the way. From the grassy bald on the mountaintop, I could branch out on side trails to get gorgeous views from the outcrops.
The steep-walled summit has some stunning views. Hike the 4.4 round trip trail that goes thru a forest full of tumbled boulders and wildflowers, all the way to the mountain summit, and catch breathtaking vistas. The hike is a bit strenuous, with an unceasing, muscle-burning ascent to the top.
Just use extreme caution as I think it cannot be overstated that the drop-offs are quite abrupt. (Read Popular Canyons)
2. Amicalola Falls State Park
This is a 10-mile roundtrip hike that is always highly recommended. The path goes thru Chattahoochee National Forest as lush flora dots the trail. As you hike the even terrain, you will come across a rustic inn where you can take a break, have a snack, or even stay overnight.
The main feature of this trail just down the trailhead is Amicalola Falls. Gigantic at 729-feet, it is the highest waterfall in Georgia. Tackling the footpath itself, you will encounter huge pine, oak, and hickory trees, just to name a few.
One particular behemoth is a yellow poplar around a mile into the hike that requires at least two people to wrap their arms around it. If you visit in summer or spring, the wildflower population of trillium and dwarf iris will overwhelm you. The months of July or August could bring some surprise showers, so the best rain pants for hiking are smart trail attire.
During the months mentioned above, expect to see chanterelle mushrooms sprouting all over the ground. The Amicalola Falls State Park hike is rated as moderately difficult with an elevation gain of 800 feet.
3. Davidson-Arabia Nature Preserve
For an easier hike, let us head on over to the Davidson-Arabia Nature Preserve. Many walk this 2.5 loop that peaks at a monadnock, a rock outcrop.
The Mountain View route is a relatively new footpath. It is just two years old and offers a gentle rolling quality that begins across a stretch of austere granite. This north Georgia hiking trail teasingly leads you in and out of a forest along a lake and then lands you at the junction with the Mountain Top Trail.
Wildflowers will be all over the course. At this point, follow the landmarks .2 miles ascending the granite field to the top.
From there, you will have reached the minimal 180 feet elevation, where all you will see are lovely treetops. Families with young kids can bring their best baby carriers hiking along this leisurely course.
4. Bartram Trail
The Bartram Trail is a 35-mile (70-mile roundtrip) hike that explores far-flung, secluded forests for an epic, multi-day hike. The trek ascends to Rabun Bald’s views, goes through crashing waterfalls, and winds down to the Chattooga River.
The long trails offer great day hikes exploring beautiful wooded areas and can be a great multi-day camping trip as well. The trip can be tackled by the more adventurous as a seventy-mile back and forth adventure. The other way to experience Bartram Trail is as a 35-mile one-way hike, which is still long by any standard.
Bartram Trail is arguably home to some of the loveliest topography in Georgia, especially along the Chattooga River. I like scenic hikes and camping sites that skirt smooth-running water, and this trail is idyllic in that sense.
The one-way version starts from Rabun Bald, Georgia’s second-highest peak, and makes its way down to the Chattooga.
The trail gets its name from explorer William Bartram, an explorer immersed in this area in 1775. An avid botanist, he collected and documented botanical specimens from the lush forests, numbering into the hundreds.
5. Cloudland Canyon State Park
The West Rim Trail is a 4.8-mile loop that traces the gorge’s edge on the west rim of Lookout Mountain. As expected, it offers spectacular views galore. I suggest you venture further to the path that leads to the gulch to Cherokee Falls. You will go down and back up over 200 steps, so expect some serious leg muscle burn.
The reward is to behold the sixty-foot falls splashing over shale and sandstone, gathering in a blue pool of water. Those with even more insatiable outdoor sensibilities can include a further mile hike to see the ninety-foot Hemlock Falls.
Cloudland Canyon State Park’s West Rim Loop Trail is rated moderately difficult and has an elevation gain of 300 feet. This park and hike are all about the falls, so do not miss them. Sorry, enticing as the waters may look, swimming is strictly not allowed. (Find the Best Child Kayak)
Georgia – A Hikers Dream
These great hiking trails feature the beautiful views Georgia has to offer from mountains, forests, waterways, and plains. Regardless of skill level, a Georgia trail will perfectly suit you.