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The 20 Best Hikes in Georgia

You can get outside and hit the trail through every season in Georgia.

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

Blossoms galore in spring, canopies of leaves in summer, crisp air and foliage in fall. Whether you’re looking to challenge yourself on a long day hike or head out for a leisurely stroll with the whole family, there’s a hike on this list for anyone who wants to hit the trail this fall. 

1. Hike to Anna Ruby Falls


Photo: Matthew Koehnemann

Distance: 1 mile
Elevation: 374 ft
Type: Out-and-back

This is a quick hike alongside a babbling creek to two picturesque waterfalls in Chattahoochee National Forest. Smith Creek contains large boulders with rushing rapids flowing overtop. The entire path is paved making it a highly accessible trail. Once at the falls, there are two observation decks, but strive to do this hike during off-peak times to avoid large crowds.

2. Hike Blood Mountain


Photo: Rob Giersch

Distance: 4.34 miles
Elevation: 1447 ft
Type: Out-and-back

Right in the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest is this scenic adventure featuring stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Expect to cross some creeks and hike through rhododendron (depending on the season), big rock formations, and dense woods. Delight in a sunrise for an extra memorable experience and say hello to thru-hikers who might be passing by as this route intersects the Appalachian Trail. Arrive on the early side, especially if you’re planning a weekend excursion.

3. Hike the Indian Seats Trail


Photo: Alan Maxcy

Distance: 3.24 miles
Elevation: 453 ft
Type: Loop

This Sawnee Mountain Preserve adventure features evergreens and deciduous trees, making this an especially magical trail to hike in October and November during peak fall foliage time. Since this is a popular family-friendly adventure just about 45 minutes from Atlanta, try to visit during off peak times to avoid needing to wait to enjoy the gorgeous views.

4. Hike and Climb to Yonah Mountain


Photo: Cole Christiansen

Distance: 4.53 miles
Elevation: 1417 ft
Type: Out-and-back

This is a versatile adventure for hikers, campers, and climbers alike. Mount Yonah is a delightful place to catch a beautiful Blue Ridge sunset, set up a hammock and relax, or stay the night. The light pollution in the area is minimal, making this an ideal spot for astrophotography and constellation viewing. This is a great Fall foliage hike since the treetops burst with color as the leaves change. While hiking, you may notice some Army Rangers in training who occasionally train in the area.

5. Climb the Stairs to Amicalola Falls


Photo: Matthew Ady

Distance: 0.73 miles
Elevation: 292 ft
Type: Out-and-back

Enjoy sights of the tallest cascading waterfall in the South right in North Georgia. The hike from the parking lot entails ascending about 600 stairs to the top. The climb, however, is worth it as the views of the falls and mountains are gorgeous. The stairs lead to a bridge, the perfect viewing platform to take in the falls straight ahead. You’ll want to get your camera out!

6. Hike Cloudland Canyon’s Waterfall Trail


Photo: Alan Maxcy

Distance: 1.21 miles
Elevation: 325 ft
Type: Out-and-back

This adventure is a descent into a steep canyon and features two stunning waterfalls at the bottom. About a half mile into the hike, you’ll encounter a fork in the trail. The left trail leads to Cherokee Falls and the right takes you to Hemlock Falls. Note that the winter is the best time of year to visit the falls as it’s more likely you’ll get to see them flowing in full force. Visiting in the Fall is also wonderful as the colors will be vibrant. Bring plenty of water– the hike back up the canyon will likely require it.

7. Hike to Roswell Mill Ruins via Vickery Creek Trail


Photo: Kelley Le


Distance:
3.46 miles
Elevation: 374 ft
Type: Loop

This is a fun spot for a day of exploring the Roswell Mill, a covered bridge, and Vickery Creek Falls. Bring a swimsuit in the warmer months as you can take a dip at the base of the falls. There are cliffs for jumping and even a rope swing! Bring lunch and lay out to replenish your energy post swim.

8. Hike to Blue Hole and High Shoals Creek Falls


Photo: Tiffany Lachner

Distance: 2.45 miles
Elevation: 479 ft
Type: Out-and-back

This is a picturesque adventure in Chattahoochee National Forest featuring Blue Hole and Shoal Falls– a must-see place for photography opportunities and for those who want to swim with a beautiful backdrop during the hot summer months. This spot is a bit of a hidden gem so if you’re looking to escape into some solitude, give it a go! Another perk– it’s dog friendly!

9. Hike the White Loop at Sweetwater Creek


Photo: Alan Maxcy

Distance: 4.87 miles
Elevation: 371 ft
Type: Loop

Just a quick drive from downtown Atlanta, this unique adventure will let you explore the five-story New Manchester Mill ruins and enjoy the sights and sounds of Sweetwater Creek. A bit of history background: New Manchester was a mid-nineteenth century mill town burned down during the Civil War. Movie fanatics can appreciate the fun fact that these ruins appeared in The Hunger Games (Mockingjay Part 1) movie! Enjoy birdwatching and all the surrounding greenery, making it a pleasant and easy escape from the city.

10. Hike along Sope Creek


Photo: Rob Giersch

Distance: 1.97 miles
Elevation: 226 ft
Type: Loop

Sope Creek borders the Chattahoochee River and is a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle of Atlanta’s city streets for hikers, mountain bikers, and anyone who wants to spend some time in nature. Explore 18th century mill ruins, Sibley Pond, and the Chattahoochee River. There are plenty of opportunities to view wildlife in this peaceful slice of wilderness.

11. Hike Arabia Mountain


Photo: Rob Giersch

Distance: 1.52 miles
Elevation: 89 ft
Type: Out-and-back

Take the day to explore beautiful granite formations, ponds in the crevices (after rainfall), and panoramic views of the surrounding area at the summit. You’ll hike through pine forest, a boardwalk, and some rocky terrain. This adventure is dog-friendly so bring your pup for extra company!

12. Hike Hurricane Falls, Tallulah Gorge SP


Photo: Matthew Koehnemann

Distance: 1.8 miles
Elevation: 1000 ft
Type: Out-and-back

Soak in the sights of stunning waterfalls in this 1,000 foot deep gorge in Tallulah Gorge State Park. While immersed in the pure beauty of this wooded area, you’ll trek along stairs and pass through a hanging suspension bridge. There are plenty of lookouts to stop and take in the beauty from all sides. If you want to hike all the way down to the bottom of the falls, you’ll need a permit, but it’s free and quite easy to obtain!

13. Hike the Battlefield and Mountain Loop


Photo: Kelley Le

Distance: 11 miles
Elevation: 1850 ft
Type: Loop

Explore the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park and soak in views of Atlanta at the top of Kennesaw Mountain. This historic area also features church ruins from the Civil war era and a 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps camp. History buffs will enjoy the chance to spend the day outside while learning about or seeing something new from America’s past.

14. Hike Pine Mountain


Photo: Nick Tort

Distance: 4.5 miles
Elevation: 1400 ft
Type: Loop

Summit Pine Mountain and bask in the idyllic views of Allatoona Lake. Trek through a path that features forest, huge granite outcrops, flowing streams, waterfalls, and wooden bridges. Bring lunch to have a picturesque picnic at the top or a hammock to hang between two trees and kick back and relax for a bit before heading back down. There are also a few good spots for bouldering for those in the climbing community.

15. Hike the Canyon Loop in Providence Canyon


Photo: Seth Berry

Distance: 4.8 miles
Elevation: 298 ft
Type: Loop

Known as Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon,” you’ll understand why if you visit! Though unarguably significantly smaller in comparison to the real Grand Canyon, you’ll encounter vibrant red rock canyon walls and a terrain uncommon in other Georgia adventures. Note that climbing is not allowed from the canyon floor or rim as the soil is fragile. Participate in one of the clean up days to help keep this special place looking pristine!

16. Hike the West Rim Trail to Cherokee Falls


Photo: Clare Healey

Distance: 5.4 miles
Elevation: 1945 ft
Type: Loop

This adventure features two 60+ foot waterfalls in Cloudland Canyon State Park. There are plenty of campgrounds and yurts in the area if you want to stay the night and maximize your time exploring. The lookout points from the rim are ideal for viewing the massive canyon walls. Some say Fall is the best time of year to visit the park as the leaves changing colors are immaculate.

17. Hike to Raven Cliffs


Photo: Tiffany Lachner

Distance: 4.9 miles
Elevation: 400 ft
Type: Out-and-back

Trek along Dodd Creek and enjoy views of a three-tiered waterfall. Note that there are several other waterfalls along the trail as well. Be on the lookout for wildlife on the way! Interested in camping? There are a few campsites to set up tent that are first-come, first served. At the base of the main falls, there’s a swimming hole for cooling off post sweaty hike.

18. Hike to the Brasstown Bald Peak


Photo: Jason Clemmons

Distance: 1.2 miles
Elevation: 500 ft
Type: Out-and-back

Hike to the top of the highest point in Georgia! Brasstown Bald Mountain is a great adventure to get out and pass by beautiful budding flowers (depending on the season) or summitting for the sunrise or sunset. For those wanting to take in the fantastic views of the Appalachian Mountains without the strain, there are shuttle rides to the top of the mountain during the summer and fall seasons.

19. Hike and Swim at Red Top Mountain


Photo: Jeremy Cournyea

Distance: 5.5 miles
Elevation: 1100 ft
Type: Loop

Looking for shade and a place to swim during Georgia’s hot summer months? The Red Top Mountain’s Homestead Trail is the spot to go as it boasts plenty of shaded areas and a large swimming hole. It’s a great kid and dog friendly adventure. Aside from hiking, there are a number of places to fish around Lake Allatoona, camp, and rent boats or kayaks at one of the marinas.

20. Hike to Panther Creek Falls


Photo: Kelley Le

Distance: 7 miles
Elevation: 200 ft
Type: Out-and-back

In the Chattahoochee National Forest, follow a trail through dense forest loading to a series of waterfalls. There’s a swimming hole at the base of Panther Creek Falls, so bring a swimsuit in the summer months for a refreshing dip! Camp at one of the primitive campsites along the trail for a peaceful getaway among the trees. This is a very popular camping area so please be respectful and practice carry in and carry out rules to preserve the natural beauty of this space. Leftover trash never adds anything to the experience!



Cover photo: Kelley Le

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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