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!

North Georgia Bucket List: 10 Must-See Sights and Experiences

I was born and raised in Georgia and spent my childhood and teen years exploring the mountains of North Georgia. Even though I now live in Colorado, North Georgia holds a special place in my heart, and I think the whole area is seriously underrated. This guide will highlight 10 must-see sights and experiences for you to add to your North Georgia Bucket List ASAP!

  1. Visit the Bigfoot Museum in Blue Ridge – First up on my North Georgia Bucket List is Expedition: Bigfoot. Expedition: Bigfoot is a humble and quirky museum located in Blue Ridge that is entirely dedicated to the legendary creature. The museum is chock-full of Bigfoot-related artifacts, documentaries about the mysterious creature, and a map of reported Bigfoot sightings throughout Georgia. Whether you’re a believer or not, Expedition: Bigfoot is a super unique and entertaining way to spend an afternoon.
  2. Stand Atop Georgia’s Highest Peak – As the highest peak in Georgia with an elevation of 4,700′, Brasstown Bald is definitely worth adding to your North Georgia Bucket List. You can reach the summit of Brasstown Bald by hiking a short yet steep paved trail from the visitor’s center, or you can hop on a shuttle that makes the mountain accessible for all. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. On a clear day, you’ll actually be able to see four states from the summit: Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
  3. Backpack to Springer Mountain – Springer Mountain is an iconic North Georgia hike because it is considered the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, aka the point where hikers either begin or end their journey along the 2,000+ mile long trail. To reach Springer Mountain, most hikers begin from Amicalola Falls and hike 8.8 miles along the AT Approach Trail before camping overnight at the summit and returning to the Falls the next day. Springer Mountain is a classic hike, making it one of the top experiences on my North Georgia Bucket List.
  4. Go Tubing in Helen – If you’re not familiar with the concept, “tubing” is a classic summertime activity where you float down a river in a large inflatable tube. There are a number of places to go tubing in Georgia, but one of my personal favorite options is floating along the Chattahoochee River in Helen, a small town modeled after a Bavarian village. Helen is definitely a little touristy, but it’s honestly a super cute and quirky town that has definitely earned it’s place on my North Georgia Bucket List.
  5. Pay a Visit to Mountain CrossingsMountain Crossings is another legendary, Appalachian Trail-related addition to my North Georgia Bucket List. Mountain Crossings is a small outdoor outfitter located right along the AT in the town of Blairsville. Everyone who works there has thru-hiked the trail and can offer expert advice on gear, hiking the AT, and backpacking in general. Even if you just drive up and stop there for a quick lunch break, it’s a great opportunity to connect with the AT community and learn about some local history.
  6. Climb and Rappel at Mount YonahMount Yonah is an iconic mountain in Georgia that is known for its massive granite dome feature. Mount Yonah is a great hiking and backpacking spot, but one of the best ways to experience the mountain is by climbing and/or rappelling the massive granite face, making this one of the most thrilling experiences on my North Georgia Bucket List! If you’re new to rock-climbing, there are a number of companies in the area who can guide you up and provide all the necessary equipment (including this one, which was co-created by a former coworker of mine). You can also hike to the top and simply rappel down if you don’t want to commit to fully climbing it! Note: don’t attempt to climb or rappel Mount Yonah unless you are going with a knowledgable climbing partner/group or are an experienced climber yourself.
  7. Become a Member of the Canyon Climbers Club – next up on my North Georgia Bucket List is becoming a member of the Canyon Climbers Club. The Canyon Climbers Club is a super fun challenge put on by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The challenge is to hike the 4 major canyons in the state of Georgia: Amicalola Falls, Cloudland Canyon, Providence Canyon, and Tallulah Gorge. Each of these areas are unique and beautiful in their own way, and the challenge is a great opportunity to explore areas of Georgia you may never have otherwise. Fair warning: be prepared to take on a lot of stairs during this challenge!
  8. Do Some Shopping at the Wander North Georgia Store – a North Georgia Bucket List wouldn’t be complete without visiting the mecca of all things North Georgia! At its heart, Wander North Georgia is an outdoor store with all kinds of apparel, gear, and souvenir items, but the company also emphasizes conservation and education. Wander North Georgia’s store in Clayton is super cute and fun to “wander” around, and they’re currently building a new, even larger second location at Tallulah Falls!
  9. Kayak and Swim at Lake Blue RidgeLake Blue Ridge is a gorgeous reservoir that is a super popular summertime destination. Lake Blue Ridge is one of my favorite lakes in North Georgia because the water is clean and cool, and it offers a number of recreation areas to choose from. You can enjoy this North Georgia Bucket List destination by kayaking, swimming, boating, or paddle-boarding.
  10. Camp at Blood Mountain – last but certainly not least on my North Georgia Bucket List is spending a night camping on top of Blood Mountain. Blood Mountain, the highest point of the AT in Georgia, is my favorite mountain in the state, and a great place to go camping for the night. Despite the ominous name, Blood Mountain is actually a beautiful hike, and there are amazing views of the Blue Ridge Mountains at the summit. You’ll also find a historic shelter that was constructed in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, a work relief program during the Great Depression that employed men to work on various environmental projects.

I hope you find this North Georgia Bucket List helpful as you plan your next visit to the area! What are some of the top sights and experiences on your North Georgia Bucket List? 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.