5 Georgia state parks for adrenaline junkies

Georgia state parks offer jaw-dropping, adrenaline-pumping thrills within hours of Atlanta

Thrill seekers, you can stay in the state and still get a premium adrenaline fix.

Georgia state parks offer jaw-dropping, adrenaline-pumping thrills within hours of Atlanta, some practically next door.

ExploreYour comprehensive guide to Georgia state parks

Here are five state parks and their attractions for the most adventurous:

Vogel State Park

At the base of Blood Mountain in the Chattahoochee National Forest is a loop that beckons the toughest trail for hikers who also have a taste for mountain scenery. The 13-mile Coosa Backcountry Trail at Vogel State Park includes around 2,100 feet of elevation gain and two mountain climbs over Coosa Bald and Slaughter Mountain that are tough stuff. Throughout, expect creek crossing, rock hopping and running through lush, thick forest.

Tamer, but still really fun: Shopping and small-town strolling are nearby at the Alpine Village at Helen.

Credit: Contributed by Georgia State Parks

Credit: Contributed by Georgia State Parks

Tallulah Gorge State Park

How do you make it 1,000 feet down at Tallulah Gorge? Try tackling 600 metal steps and crossing a suspension bridge that sways 80 feet above the ground. On the gorge floor, the rock-hopping fun begins and you may even spy a hidden gorge floor cave before completing the 2.5 mile round trip. This one takes a little prep work, though. Free permits are required to access the gorge floor, and they’re limited to 100 per day.

Tamer, but still really fun: During daylight saving months, ranger led hikes take you to the park’s highest point to watch the sun set over the gorge.

ExploreTallulah Gorge selected as the most beautiful place in Georgia

Credit: Contributed by Georgia State Parks

Credit: Contributed by Georgia State Parks

Panola Mountain State Park

Hey, Atlanta daredevils on tight schedules, this one’s for you. This adventure is happening just 15 minutes from the ATL. Panola Mountain State Park’s intro program will show you how to use a rope and harness safely to reach 30 feet off the ground into a Southern Red Oak more than two centuries old. Climb, swing and scramble at events hosted throughout the year at Panola Mountain.

Tamer, but still really fun: Panola also has a playground and interpretive programs.

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Amicalola Falls State Park

What a rush! You’ll zip through the forest air and test your balance on suspension bridges throughout the course. Your heart will pound as you swoop across valleys alongside sweeping mountain views. Hiking adventures and a splendid lodge make this one for the adrenaline-junkie’s bucket list.

Tamer, but still really fun: Check out the Birds of Prey adventure in the company of expert handlers.

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Credit: Contributed by Rena Johnson

Credit: Contributed by Rena Johnson

Stephen C. Foster State Park

This remote park is the gateway to the Okefenokee Swamp, one of Georgia’s seven natural wonders. A night paddle by moonlight is both an eerie and beautiful way to drink in the scenery and the experience is allowed only as part of park-ranger guided trips. Spanish moss-laced trees reflect off the black swamp waters, cypress knees rise from the water’s surface and that glow you spot with a flashlight may be alligator eyes. Or, who knows?

Tamer, but still really fun: Stephen C. Foster is quite close to The Lakes Golf Course at Laura S. Walker, designed by Steve Burnes and featuring three large lakes and native sand.

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ExploreOkefenokee Swamp lures you in with its peaceful, haunting beauty