One of the most beautiful times of the year to visit Georgia State Parks, Fall offers nature’s most colorful scenery all throughout the state. With plenty of parks to choose from, there’s something for everyone. There’s everything from scenic byways with gorgeous overlooks, to hiking areas of all levels, to ziplines over the treetops for the most adventurous thrill seekers.
To help you plan your next visit with nature, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best parks in Georgia for viewing the Fall colors.
Top 10 Georgia State Parks to Visit in the Fall
This alphabetical list will take you from northern Georgia to the south of Atlanta, visiting some of the best Georgia State Parks there are to offer. Plan your fall travel now!
Amicalola Falls State Park in Dawsonville
Just a short drive from Atlanta, visit the tallest cascading waterfall in the Southeast, located in Amicalola Falls State Park. Great for a fall day trip, there is a hiking area for virtually everyone. Choose either the short and easy route to the boardwalk, which offers breathtaking views, or the tougher hike starting at the base of the falls leading up a steep staircase.
Black Rock Mountain State Park in Clayton
Staking claim as Georgia’s highest state park, Black Rock Mountain reaches an altitude of 3,640 feet. This is not to be confused with Brasstown Bald, which holds the title of the highest peak. A drive through the park offers visitors sweeping views from both roadsides overlooks and the Visitor’s Center. Soak in the beauty of Fall in the Blue Ridge Mountains by taking a moderate 2.2-mile hike on the Tennessee Rock Trail. For a more adventurous day, the James E. Edmonds Backcountry Trail offers a challenging 7.2-mile hike.
Cloudland Canyon State Park near Chattanooga
Offering easily accessible rim overlooks and challenging trails, Cloudland Canyon State Park is one of Georgia’s most beautiful parks. There are two waterfalls at the bottom of the canyon if you’re up for a hike down (and back up) the stairs. There’s also the West Rim Loop hike, which offers a moderately difficult 5-mile hike with gorgeous views of the canyon.
F.D. Roosevelt State Park in Pine Mountain
The F.D. Roosevelt State Park will take you south of Atlanta. Take a drive on Ga. Hwy. 190 through the rolling mountains and hardwood forest for gorgeous fall foliage views. A drive to Dowdell’s Knob will bring you to a life-size bronze sculpture of President F.D. Roosevelt and offers beautiful views of the valley. For a little more adventure, hike the 6.7-mile Wolf Den Loop, which is park visitor’s favorite section of the Pine Mountain Trail.
Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth
For a bit of mystery, check out Fort Mountain State Park’s mysterious rock wall along the mountaintop. A 1.2-mile loop offers the easiest hike around the park’s green lake. But, for a bigger challenge, take the long hike on the 8-mile Gahuti Trail. For a more leisurely tour of the park without ever leaving your car, take a drive on Hwy. 52, with overlooks to stop and soak in the beautiful mountain scenery. With more than 14 miles of mountain biking trails and a variety of hiking areas, there’s plenty for everyone at this Georgia State Park.
Moccasin Creek State Park in Lake Burton
Sitting on the shore of a gorgeous deep-green lake, Moccasin Creek State Park is Georgia’s smallest. Visitors to the park can take a 2-mile hike on the Hemlock Falls Trail, or a 1-mile Non-Game Trail with a wildlife observation tower. A drive along Hwy. 197 offers a particularly pretty route, passing popular attractions such as Mark of the Potter.
Smithgall Woods State Park in Helen
The perfect park for fly fishing while admiring the fall foliage, Smithgall Woods State Park protects more than 6,000 acres around Dukes Creek. For great views of Mt. Yonha, after the leaves have fallen, take a short 1.6-mile hiking loop to Laurel Ridge. Day trip guests can picnic near the creek, while overnight guests can hike the private trail to Dukes Creek Falls. Smithgall Woods offers some of Georgia State Park’s most sought-after cabins. There are also nearby wineries, as well as Helen’s Oktoberfest, making a visit to this park a great weekend getaway. Plan your fall travel now y comparing the best prices on my all new “Travel Now” page!
Tallulah State Park near Clayton
One of the most spectacular canyons in the Southeast United States, Tallulah Gorge State Park offers the option of easy or difficult hiking trails. A hike along the rim offers overlooks with views to the waterfalls. Or, to trek all the way to the bottom of the rim, get a permit from the park office. Please note that permits run out early on weekend mornings, so plan accordingly. During the month of November, visit Tallulah Gorge to watch expert kayakers enjoying the bi-annual “whitewater releases.”
Unicoi State Park in Helen
An adventurous zipline will take you high above the forest canopy of Unicoi State Park for one of the most unique views of the fall leaves. Or, for a more strenuous activity, take a steep hike on the 4.8-mile Smith Creek Trail up to Anna Ruby Falls. The park offers visitors a lodge and restaurant, making this a great weekend day trip or extended stay option.
Vogel State Park in Blairsville
The 4-mile Bear Hair Gap Trail in Vogel State Park, which offers a birds-eye view of the park’s lake, is a great option for experienced hikers. Follow the Lake Loop for an easier hike to a small waterfall below the dam. If you’re looking for a scenic drive with some of the prettiest fall scenery in north Georgia, take the twisting roads around Vogel, particularly Wolf Pen Gap Road.
Safe Hiking Tips
Follow these safe hiking tips from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Rangers for a safe trip to Georgia State Parks:
- Avoid hiking alone.
- Tell someone where you are going and when you will return. Remember to let them know when you are back.
- Stay on marked trails. As you hike, pay attention to trail blazes and landmarks. A double blaze indicates a change in trail direction or intersection, so be sure to follow the correct trail.
- Never climb on waterfalls or wet rocks.
- Always carry quality rain gear, and turn back in bad weather.
- Dress in layers and avoid cotton.
- All hikers should carry a whistle (especially children), which can be heard from far away and takes less energy than yelling.
- Carry plenty of drinking water and never assume stream water is safe to drink.
- Don’t count on cell phones to work in the wilderness, but if they do, be able to give details about your location.
- Don’t rely on a GPS to prevent you from getting lost. Batteries can die or the equipment can become damaged or lost.
Georgia State Parks should not be overlooked when mapping out your Fall travel plans. The Blue Ridge Mountains offer some of the most beautiful Fall scenery in the United States. Whether you’re looking for a slow and scenic drive or an adventurous workout, you’ll find it here within Georgia’s natural playgrounds. Want to see more of my fall content? Check out what I did last year in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Smoky Mountains.