Just an hour or two north and east of Atlanta, outdoor adventures await you.
There are waterfalls and horses to ride, vineyards to drink out of business and even conservation efforts to which you can lend your outdoorsy hand.
Visit Tallulah Gorge State Park
Tallulah Gorge State Park is one of the more popular outdoor adventure stops in Northeast Georgia. The gorge itself is nearly 1,000 feet deep and two miles long. It's impressive enough just to gaze down, but the Hurricane Falls Trail (which crosses a suspension bridge) and the payoff view from the Hurricane Falls observation deck really help the park to stand out.
Stand atop Amicalola Falls
Speaking of waterfalls, it's just a one-mile hike to the top of Amicalola Falls. The falls at Amicalola are Georgia's highest, cascading 730 feet down a cliff. The trail to Amicalola starts at a stone arch which indicates the beginning of the Appalachian approach trail (it's 10 miles away at Springer Mountain) and the ensuing hike to the falls is manageable, with gravel roads, stairs and bridges (not suspension, it's worth noting) and plenty of shade. The hike is extra special in autumn as the deciduous leaves turn.
Hike the A.T.
It's a bit of a commitment, hiking the Appalachian Trail, which begins (or ends, depending on how you do it) at Springer Mountain in Fannin County, just a few miles from Amicalola Falls. For those seeking a real outdoor challenge, the mountain marks the start of a more than 2,000-mile journey north to Mount Katahdin in Maine. It's almost 80 miles of scenic North Georgia hiking from the trailhead at Springer Mountain until the trail reaches North Carolina, and 1,920 miles or so to the end of the line in Maine.
Tour vineyards and drink wine
North Georgia has no shortage of vineyards for you to stroll. Take a date along for the trip, and maybe book a room for the night on account of the wine. In no time flat, you can find yourself inspecting grapevines on mountain hills and pairing cheeses with various local blends. There are vineyards at Yonah Mountain, Wolf Mountain, Dahlonega, Cleveland and throughout the North Georgia hills and tours to serve them all.
Go horseback riding
Get moving far enough from the city, and you will find that there are horses you can ride through lush, hilly woods. They have them everywhere, but you should consider making it an excursion as part of a stay at the Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa in Young Harris. The resort offers a full horseback riding experience through the North Georgia hills, and it can even throw in a day at the spa when you are done.
Try a Georgia Conservancy trip
The Georgia Conservancy is a statewide conservation organization that works to conserve land, advocate for the environment and coastal protection, and seeks to make growth in our state sustainable for the natural environments we all share. They have an amazing trip program with events throughout the year that includes things like kayaking, camping, and conservation trips. For instance, you could join in on the upcoming snorkeling trip to the Conasauga River that will also include hiking the Cohutta Mountains and staying at the Mulberry Gap Inn. As an added bonus, you might even run into ol' Black Cat Tips who is a friend to the program. The Georgia Conservancy trips calendar is listed online here.
Discover fly fishing
Take your tackle box and rod, and make your way towards the Soque River for some of the best fly fishing in the Southeast. The trout are plentiful, and there are even world-class anglers who can take you or a group out for access to private and prime habitats. Fly fishing season ends June 1, and re-opens in October 1 each year.
One-tank trips is an occasional series from The Atlanta Journal Constitution that highlights places you can visit on – you guessed it – one tank of gas. Contact Stephanie Toone at email@example.com with questions or ideas.