10 Best Hikes in Georgia
From rolling mountains in the north to a sprawling coastline in the east, Georgia is a stunning state that has a little bit of everything for all nature lovers. If you’re interested in checking out the best the state has to offer, you can’t go wrong exploring some of these best hikes in Georgia.
Our list of the best hiking trails in Georgia includes options in every part of the state, so you’ll have no problems finding one that’s close to you. Whether you want to marvel at the sight of a plummeting waterfall or take in the beauty from the top of a mountain, you’re sure to enjoy these best hikes in Georgia.
1. Springer Mountain
The southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail is on Springer Mountain, so it should come as no surprise that this is one of the best hikes in Georgia. Even if you don’t plan on making the 2,190-mile trek to Maine, you should still explore the numerous hiking trails around the 3,780-foot mountain.
If you’re looking for something quick and easy, take the 2-mile out-and-back hike from the Springer Mountain parking area. For something longer and more challenging, the 15.5-mile round trip Appalachian Approach Trail is a good option.
No matter which trail you decide to take, you’ll enjoy plenty of scenic views along the way. When you’re on the summit of Springer Mountain, don’t forget to check out the plaque that commemorates the start (or end!) of the Appalachian Trail.
2. Amicalola Falls State Park
Amicalola Falls State Park is located just south of Springer Mountain at the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. If you decide to do some hiking around Springer Mountain, make sure you also set aside some time to check out the park.
Here you’ll find the 729-foot Amicalola Falls, which is the highest waterfall in Georgia. The most popular trail in the park is the 2.1-mile Amicalola Falls Loop Trail.
This trail includes everything from a climb to a ridge so you can take in incredible views to a trek down a series of stairs so you can look up at the immense waterfall.
Some of the other hiking options around the park include the Mountain Laurel Loop and East Ridge Trail.
3. Skidaway Island State Park
If you’re interested in exploring the coastal side of Georgia, head to Skidaway Island State Park near Savannah. Situated on the Skidaway narrows, which is part of the state’s Intracoastal Waterway, Skidaway Island State Park is a breathtakingly beautiful maritime area.
The park is home to 6 miles of trails that take you through maritime forests, island hammocks, salt flats, tidal creeks, and more. The one-mile Sandpiper Trail Loop is an easy hike that will let you explore numerous ecosystems in the area.
For something a little longer, consider the Big Ferry Trail. It’s typically 2 miles long. However, you can add the Earthworks Loop for a nearly 3-mile hike.
Plus, if you like looking for wildlife, the one-mile Avian Loop Trail runs along the Intracoastal Waterway and provides an opportunity to look for dolphins, egrets, osprey, fish, and other animals.
Related: How to Stay Cool Hiking in the Heat
4. Brasstown Bald
Brasstown Bald stretches 4,784 feet into the air, making it the highest point in the state. If you’re looking for one of the best hikes in Georgia for amazing views, Brasstown Bald is the place to go.
While the hike to the summit isn’t incredibly long — it’s about a mile round trip — it is steadily uphill from the very beginning. However, those burning leg muscles will be worth it once you reach the summit.
Here you’ll find the Brasstown Bald Visitors Center, which features an observation deck for breathtaking 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains. On a clear day, you’re able to see four different states!
In addition to the summit trail, there are other hiking trails around Brasstown Bald, including the 13.1-mile Wagon Train Trail and the 8.3-mile Jacks Knob Trail.
Related: How to Stay Warm Hiking in Winter
5. Tallulah Gorge State Park
Located in the northeastern part of Georgia, Tallulah Gorge State Park is home to the Tallulah River, which formed a spectacular 1,000-foot deep gorge in the land. The park also contains several scenic waterfalls.
The most popular trail in the park is the 2-mile round trip Hurricane Falls Loop Trail. Don’t let the short distance of this trail fool you; it definitely offers a challenge.
You’ll start by descending a steep staircase that takes you down to an 80-foot high suspension bridge over the rushing Tallulah River. From there, you’ll descend even more stairs to get to the base of Hurricane Falls. When you’re done taking in the views, it’s time to head back up the way you came. That means you’ll end up climbing a total of 1,099 stairs!
Related: How to Quickly Break in Hiking Boots
You can also hike the 3-mile round trip North Rim and South Rim Trails for amazing views into the gorge and the waterfalls. You can even take the 2.5-mile round trip Gorge Floor Trail to the bottom of the gorge.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that if you want to hike down to the gorge floor, you must have a permit. While the permits are free, the park does limit them to 100 per day.
6. Cloudland Canyon State Park
Located on the western edge of Lookout Mountain in northwestern Georgia, Cloudland Canyon State Park is home to a stunning sandstone canyon, scenic waterfalls, meandering creeks, unique caves, and gorgeous vistas. The park also has 64 miles of hiking trails, which means there’s something for every skill level.
One of the easiest hikes in the park is the 1-mile round trip Overlook Trail. From here, you’ll enjoy impressive views of the rugged canyon.
Related: How to Prevent Blisters When Hiking
If you’re looking for an amazing waterfall hike, check out the 2-mile round trip Waterfalls Trail. This trail offers a strenuous hike as it quickly drops down into the canyon for awe-inspiring views of Cherokee Falls and Hemlock Falls.
I personally think no trip to Cloudland Canyon is complete without a hike on the West Rim Loop Trail. This 5-mile round trip trail was once rated by Backpacker Magazine as one of the top 10 hikes in the country! It offers plenty of scenic viewpoints of the canyon and forest.
When you’re done exploring the hiking trails in Cloudland Canyon State Park, consider traveling about 30 minutes up the road to check out the best hikes around Chattanooga, Tennessee.
7. Providence Canyon State Park
Located in southwest Georgia and known as “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon,” Providence Canyon State Park is considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia.
Here, you can marvel at the beautiful and colorful gorges and gullies on more than 10 miles of hiking trails. The main trail in the park is the 2.5-mile Canyon Loop Trail, which circles nine of the canyons.
Related: Top-Rated Hiking Boots for Men
There’s also the 7-mile Backcountry Trail Loop, which takes you into the forested area of the park. This trail also has primitive campsites if you’re interested in doing some backpacking.
Sadly, nature didn’t create the colorful sandstone gorge like the famous Grand Canyon in Arizona. Instead, humans and their poor farming practices in the 1800s played a role in revealing these layers of rock. So while you enjoy the beauty of the area, it’s also important to keep in mind the impact we tend to have on our planet.
8. Blood Mountain
With an elevation of 4,458 feet, Blood Mountain is the highest peak on Georgia’s section of the Appalachian Trail. The views from the summit of this mountain are absolutely outstanding.
At 4.3 miles round trip, it’s easy to see why this trail is one of the best day hikes in Georgia.
Related: What to Pack for a Day Hike
To hike to the peak of Blood Mountain, start by parking at the Byron Reece Trailhead off Gainesville Highway/U.S. 19. From there, you’ll follow the blue-blazed Byron Reece Memorial Trail until it intersects with the iconic white-blazed Appalachian Trail.
At that point, you’ll continue on the Appalachian Trail until you reach the summit of Blood Mountain.
Pro Tip: This is an extremely popular trail, and parking at the trailhead is limited. If you’re hiking on the weekends or during peak season, consider arriving early.
9. F.D. Roosevelt State Park
The 9,049-acre F.D. Roosevelt State Park is the largest state park in Georgia. The park is named for former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who came here to find relief from polio in the naturally warm springs in the area.
With more than 40 miles of trails, the park is also considered a hiker’s and backpacker’s dream. The mile-long Dowdell’s Knob Trail and 3.2-mile Mountain Creek Loop Trail are ideal for discovering some of the plants and animals in the area.
The Pine Mountain Trail is another gem in F.D. Roosevelt State Park. While the entire Pine Mountain Trail is 23 miles long, there are 6 loops that make fantastic day hikes.
One of the best is the 6.7-mile Wolfden Loop, which is considered one of the most beautiful stretches of trail in the region. Another excellent option is the 7.8-mile Big Poplar Loop, which is named for its large poplar trees and is absolutely amazing to check out in the fall.
Related: Best Water Filters for Hiking
10. Cumberland Island National Seashore
Cumberland Island National Seashore is Georgia’s largest barrier island. Since it’s situated directly above the Georgia-Florida border, it’s also the state’s southernmost barrier island.
Related: Best Hiking Trails in Florida
Here you’ll find an amazing variety of hiking trails that meander through stunning beaches, maritime forests, marshes, and interior wetlands.
If you choose to hike the southern part of the island, consider the popular 4.3-mile South End Loop. You’ll head south on the River Trail, pass by the Dungeness historic district and cemetery, and finish by walking north along the beach. Along the way, you’ll also cross sand dunes, navigate boardwalks over marshes, and pass under oak trees draped in Spanish moss.
If you decide to check out the northern end of the island, some beautiful hiking trail choices include the Parallel Trail, Terrapin Point Trail, and Old River Trail.
The Best Hikes in Georgia
Georgia offers breathtaking scenic beauty that you have to see to believe. If you’re interested in doing some hiking around the state, you won’t be disappointed when you add these must-see hikes in Georgia to your list!
More Outstanding Hiking Tips
Now that you’ve learned more about the best hikes in Georgia, are you interested in discovering even more amazing hiking tips? Then be sure to check out some of our other popular posts: