As the first delicate ferns begin to unfold and wildflowers burst forth from the ground, some of the best spring hikes around Georgia beckon you to roam, explore and experience the full majesty of nature. With warmer weather on the way, you'll find cool mornings and mild mid-day temperatures as you wander these Southern trails.
Longing for lush moss, mountain laurel, rhododendron, waterfalls and wildflowers? This can't-miss trail guide will help you get lost in Georgia this spring:
Experience the wildflowers on Sitton's Gulch Trail
Trailhead: 741 Canyon Park Drive, Trenton. 706-657-4050. www.gastateparks.org
2.1 miles, moderate to difficult hike
The Sitton's Gulch Trail, located within Cloudland Canyon State Park, offers hikers a chance to commune with wildflowers while walking past multiple stunning waterfalls. After descending 600 steps, you'll enjoy hemlock forests leading you around a boulder-filled riverbed on this 2 mile hike. Don't forget to look up along the way to see the graceful hemlocks bursting with new spring growth, towering against the steep canyon walls.
Meander among the ferns on Amicalola Falls Trail
Trailhead: 418 Amicalola Falls State Park Road, Dawsonville. www.gastateparks.org
2.3 miles, moderate to difficult hike
Wind around fern and wildflower-flanked paths before climbing 600 stairs to experience a breathtaking view of Amicalola Falls, a 730-foot cascading waterfall that claims the title as the tallest in the South. This primeval forest trail will leave you awe-struck with towering trees, panoramic views and lush vegetation throughout.
Brilliant vistas along Yonah Mountain Trail
Trailhead: Chambers Road, Georgia 75, Cleveland. www.atlantatrails.com
4.4 miles, moderate hike
Climb 1400 feet to the top of Mt. Yonah and view the wide-open expanses of the surrounding Unicoi State Park. There's something for everyone when you explore this diverse trail in spring, including vibrant wildflowers, rock face summits, huge boulders and thick forests. Stay through the afternoon to enjoy one of the best mountain sunsets in Georgia.
Fairytale magic in the Sosebee Cove Scenic Area
Trailhead: GA Highway 180, Blairsville. www.fs.usda.gov
0.3 miles, easy hike
This short-but-worth-it hike through Sosebee Cove boasts a stunning collection of rare wildflowers, whimsical ferns and massive second-growth yellow poplars. Within the 175 acres scenic area, located at the base of Blood Mountain, explore an Ice Age boudler field, get up close to rare yellowwood trees and crisscross the babbling Wolf Creek. It's a nature photographer's dream.
Lush moss on Cascade Springs Nature Preserve Trail
Trailhead: 2852 Cascade Road SW, Atlanta. www.atlasobscura.com
1.5 miles, easy to moderate hike
Looking for a beautiful spring hike right here in Atlanta? This Southwest Atlanta hike through over 120 forested acres offers a glimpse into the past as you stroll beside a billowing waterfall, investigate thick, moss-covered structures, meander through dense forests and see Civil War-era trenches. Although it's within the city limits of Atlanta, the Cascade Springs Nature Preserve Trail will make you feel like you're out in the middle of the wilderness.
Waterfall dreams along the DeSoto Falls Trail
Trailhead: US 19 North, Dahlonega. www.fs.usda.gov
2.4 miles, easy to moderate hike
Head north into the mountains for a waterfall excursion like no other. Along with multiple magnificent waterfall views, including a viewing platform behind the falls, you'll find all the spring photo opportunities you could ask for along the DeSoto Falls Trail. Hikers of all ability levels will discover trickling streams, blooming mountain laurels, wild azaleas and pink lady slippers. This mature hardwood forest is a natural paradise.
Stunning rhododendron from Bartram Trail to Beegum Gap
Trailhead: Russell Bridge, Rabun County. www.atlantatrails.com
3 miles, moderate hike
Along this trail, a 3-mile stretch which runs from Bartram Trail to Beegum Gap, you'll see flowering mountain laurel and rhododendron-filled forests, abundant wildlife and a mountain landscape overflowing with ferns, moss and wildflowers. At the trail's summit, climb the wooden staircase to catch a breathtaking view from the observation platform on Rabun Bald.