Best Fall Hikes in Georgia

While fall is slowly turning into winter out here in Colorado, the season is still in full swing down in Georgia and other areas of the Southeast. As a born-and-raised Georgia peach I’ve gone on many fall hikes throughout the state, and these are some of the best for leaf-peeping and enjoying the season!

Blood Mountain

Blood Mountain isn’t just one of the best fall hikes in Georgia, it’s also one of my favorite hikes of all time! The most common route to the summit begins on the Byron Reece Trail before connecting with the Appalachian Trail. You’ll reach the summit after about 2.2 miles of hiking and will be treated to sweeping views of the Appalachian Mountains. Fun fact: Blood Mountain is the highest point of the AT in Georgia!

Raven Cliff Falls

Raven Cliff Falls is a great Georgia fall hike if you’re looking for something that doesn’t involve a lot of elevation gain. The hike is a bit longer than Blood Mountain at almost 6 miles roundtrip, but it’s definitely worth the extra distance. You’ll meander through the forest alongside a creek until reaching the waterfall that the trail is named for. Be careful exploring because the rocks will be slippery!

Appalachian Approach Trail

For those seeking an overnight fall hiking adventure, the Appalachian Approach Trail is the perfect option. This trail kills two birds with one stone, as you’ll get to experience the beautiful Amicalola Falls as well as the summit of Springer Mountain. This hike is about 18 miles out-and-back so while you could do it in a day, it’s much more enjoyable as an overnight backpacking trip.

Mount Yonah

Mount Yonah is one of the more challenging hikes on this list of the best Georgia fall hikes, though it’s definitely worth the effort. Mount Yonah is popular for not only hiking but also rock-climbing, and the entire mountain is incredibly picturesque when the leaves are changing. This is another fall hike in Georgia that offers spectacular views from the summit, which you’ll reach after about 2.2 miles of hiking.

Rabun Bald

Rabun Bald is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated hikes in Georgia. At only 3.5 miles roundtrip, this hike is relatively short but still decently challenging with over 1000′ of elevation gain. This is one of the few Georgia hikes that offers 360-degree views from the summit, and they are simply breathtaking.

What are your favorite fall hikes in Georgia? Let me know in the comments!

Woody Gap to Preachers Rock

Preachers Rock is a beautiful summit in Georgia located along the Appalachian Trail. There are several options to hike to the viewpoint, but one of the most popular begins at Woody Gap. This 2 mile out-and-back hike is short and relatively easy, making it a great day hike for hikers of all experience levels.

The hike to Preachers Rock begins at the Woody Gap parking area off GA Hwy 60, just outside the town of Dahlonega. White blazes mark the route to Preachers Rock along the Appalachian Trail, which heads northeast through the woods. Spring is a beautiful time to do this hike, as plants will be blooming and conditions won’t be as humid as they become in the summer months. The trail is very easygoing for the first 3/4 mile with minimal elevation change as you make your way to Preachers Rock.

The last 1/4 mile or so is the most challenging part of the hike to Preachers Rock. You’ll begin to head uphill as you approach the summit, and there are a number of switchbacks and stone steps along the trail. It isn’t long before you arrive to Preachers Rock, a rocky viewpoint that overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Make sure to take your time appreciating the beautiful views from Preachers Rock. This is a great spot to kick back for awhile and enjoy a snack or some lunch (make sure to leave no trace and pack out all your trash). The hike back to the Woody Gap parking area is very easy aand straightforward, though you will want to watch your step on the steeper sections to ensure you don’t trip.

Preachers Rock is one of my favorite hikes along the Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail. It’s also a great hike for beginners, and I’ve taken several friends up it as their first official hike. Have you done this hike before? Let me know in the comments!

Best Beginner Hikes in North Georgia

North Georgia is full of gorgeous hiking areas, with trails ranging from easy to challenging. If you’re new to hiking or just want some options for an easy hike, these are my recommendations for the best beginner hikes in North Georgia.

Helton Creek Falls – 0.2 miles

Helton Creek Falls is one of my all-time favorite hikes in North Georgia, and at only a quarter mile roundtrip, it’s very beginner-friendly. The trailhead for Helton Creek Falls is located along US 19/129, off of Helton Creek Road. The road there can be rough in some places, but will lead you directly to a parking area for the trail. Descend some stairs and you’ll arrive at not one but two beautiful waterfalls. This hike is perfect for all ages and experience levels, and I love to bring friends and family who are visiting from out of town.

Minnehaha Falls – 0.4 miles

Minnehaha Falls is another great, short trail that will lead you to a beautiful waterfall. The trailhead for Minnehaha Falls is located near the Lake Rabun area, off of Bear Gap Road. You’ll ascend a staircase and hike along a gentle trail before arriving at the falls. Minnehaha Falls is absolutely stunning and a very popular hiking spot during the warm summer months.

Brasstown Bald – 1.1 miles

Brasstown Bald is the tallest mountain in Georgia, and the short but steep hike to the summit is a great challenge for newbie hikers. The trail starts from the parking lot at the Brasstown Bald Visitor Center, located near Blairsville. The trail is paved and very wide, though it is quite steep the entire half mile up. Thankfully, the hike is short, and you’ll soon be rewarded with stunning 360-degree views of the Georgia mountains.

Preacher’s Rock – 2 miles

At 2 miles roundtrip, the hike to Preacher’s Rock is an excellent day hike, and a great way to get acquainted with the Appalachian Trail. The trail for this hike begins at Woody Gap off of GA Hwy 60, just outside of Dahlonega. You’ll gradually gain elevation as you hike through the forest before reaching a slightly steeper push at the end that will lead you to Preacher’s Rock. Preacher’s Rock is a great day hike and an awesome place to catch the sunrise or sunset.