Whether you’re a native, or just a passing visitor, you haven’t truly experienced all the stunning beauty that Georgia has to offer unless you’ve hiked some of these unique natural treasures in Georgia.
Among the mountains of North Georgia, you'll find five of the most exciting, invigorating and unforgettable hikes of your life. So, grab your water bottle, walking stick and a camera, hikers, because your next journey through the woods will be one to remember.
Laurel Ridge Trail
Smithgall Woods State Park, 61 Tsalaki Trail, Helen, www.gastateparks.org.
This 1.6-mile loop trail offers hikers a chance to take in the wild beauty around Smithgall Woods State Park while learning about the local ecosystem. As a moderate level hiking trail, you'll climb to the top of Laurel Ridge, where you will see an unbeatable view of Mount Yonah and the surrounding wilderness. Make sure to stop by the Visitor Center to pick up a free brochure so you can find out more about the specific stopping points along this interpretive trail.
North Rim Trail
Tallulah Gorge State Park, 338 Jane Hurt Yarn Drive, Tallulah Falls, www.gastateparks.org.
The North Rim Trail provides hikers with some of the best views of Tallulah Gorge in the area, with multiple scenic overlooks that allow you to see the Gorge, Bridal Veil Falls, L'Eau d'Or Falls, Hawthorne Pool, the Tallulah Falls Dam and a portion of Tempesta Falls. Located right behind the Interpretive Center, this moderate .75-mile hike includes both stairs and inclines.
Cheatham Hill and Kolb Farm Loop Trail
Kennesaw Mountain, 900 Kennesaw Mountain Drive, Kennesaw, www.atlantatrails.com.
Just past the main entrance to Kennesaw Mountain, you can access the Cheatham Hill and Kolb Farm Loop Trail. This historically important trail takes you on a 5.8-mile loop through dense forest, past flower-covered meadows and within view of vintage farmland. Along the way, you'll get a chance to see important landmarks from the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain during the Civil War.
Sitton’s Gulch Trail
Cloudland Canyon State Park, 122 Cloudland Canyon Park Road, Rising Fawn, www.gastateparks.org.
The Sitton's Gulch Trail in Rising Fawn offers hikers a strenuous yet picturesque opportunity to experience Cloudland Canyon State Park in the northeast corner of the state. Along with climbing over 1,200 steps, you'll see lush hemlock groves, vibrant wildflowers, waterfalls and thick forest canopies on this 2.5-mile trail.
Bear Hair Gap Trail
Backcountry Trailhead in Vogel State Park, 405 Vogel State Park Road, Blairsville, www.gastateparks.org.
The 4.1-mile Bear Hair Gap loop starts out at the Backcountry Trailhead, then winds its way over portions of Blood Mountain in Vogel State Park. Offering a little something for everyone, you’ll see scenic vistas, colorful wildflowers, dense forests and experience perfect serenity on this remote, hikers-only trail.
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com