The 5 most difficult hiking trails in Georgia

Brasstown Bald is home to one of Georgia's most challenging hiking trails.

Credit: Ralph Daniel

Credit: Ralph Daniel

Brasstown Bald is home to one of Georgia's most challenging hiking trails.

Some people enjoy walking casually through Georgia hiking trails that are flat and gentle, while others really crave the physical and mental challenge of a strenuous hike.

If the latter sounds like you, these five most difficult hiking trails in Georgia will give you the experience you're looking for.

Hurricane Falls Loop Trail at Tallulah Gorge State Park. Tallulah Gorge State Park. 338 Jane Hurt Yarn Drive, Tallulah Falls. 706-754-7981. www.gastateparks.org

This hikers-only trail takes you on a 2-mile loop around Tallulah Gorge and rates difficult. The mulched trail includes 1,099 metal stairs that will give you a serious leg workout. Due to the challenging nature and elevation of this trail, always keep an eye on your children and consider a different trail if you have any medical conditions.

Smith Creek Trail at Unicoi State Park. Unicoi State Park and Lodge. 1788 Highway 356, Helen. 706-878-2201. www.gastateparks.org

The Smith Creek Trail at Unicoi takes you on a 4.8-mile one-way, 9.6-mile round-trip hike on a compacted soil trail that passes through beautiful mountain laurel and rhododendron. Since this strenuous hike ends at the Smith Creek headwaters and does not make a loop, consider arranging transportation to pick you up if you think that you might not complete the entire round-trip hike.

Enjoying the spectacular view at Cloudland Canyon.

Credit: HANDOUT/Helena Oliviero

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Credit: HANDOUT/Helena Oliviero

Sitton's Gulch Trail at Cloudland Canyon State Park. Cloudland Canyon State Park. 122 Cloudland Canyon Park Road, Rising Fawn. 706-657-4050. www.gastateparks.org.

Cloudland Canyon includes many amazing hikes, but if you want a strenuous hike that will take you past multiple waterfalls, over bridges, through hemlock groves and over 1,200 steps, then Sitton's Gulch Trail is for you. This 2.5-mile linear trail is well known for colorful wildflowers in the spring and vibrant leaves in the fall.

Edmonds Backcountry Trail at Black Rock Mountain State Park. Black Rock Mountain State Park. 3085 Black Rock Mountain Parkway, Mountain City. 706-746-2141. www.gastateparks.org

The Edmonds Backcountry Trail takes you through dense forests, over moss-covered creeks, across high mountain tops and travels past a stunning waterfall. The 6.25-mile trail makes a loop, but its difficult rating means that it might prove too challenging for some children and people with health conditions.

Arkaquah Trail at Brasstown Bald. 2941 Hwy 180 Spur, Hiawassee. 706-896-2556. www.atlantatrails.com

Perhaps the most difficult and interesting of all the hiking trails in Georgia, the Arkaquah Trail at Brasstown Bald will take you on both a challenging hike and a journey through time. Taking you over ridge tops and through lush, moss-covered outcroppings, on this hike you'll see rock outcroppings, mountain laurels and rhododendron, mountaintop vistas and it all ends at an ancient archaeological site that contains 1,000-year-old petroglyphs.

Looking for an easier hiking trail? Check out these 5 easy hikes to Atlanta's hidden waterfalls.

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