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16 of the Most Beautiful Hiking Trails in Georgia

By | Last Updated : 11th September 2021

The diverse landscape of Georgia, including mountains, waterfalls, forests, and rivers, makes it an ideal hiking destination. The trails vary in length, from the short 2.5-mile Mountain View Trail Loop to the colossal 78.2-mile Appalachian trail. Hence, you can enjoy a day hike or get ready for a thrilling backpacking adventure. The scenic vistas make it even more appealing, compelling you to stop at regular intervals to admire them. Those within a state park mostly require a 5$ parking fee. The good news is, all of these trails permit leashed dogs.

Hiking Trails in Georgia

Best Hikes in Northern Georgia

1. West Rim Loop Trail

West Rim Loop Trail in Northern Georgia

This trail in Cloudland Canyon State Park is a real gem offering some of the best views of the canyon and its surroundings. However, one needs to maintain caution when hiking the steep paths with sheer drop-offs. Despite the inclines and declines, the breathtaking vistas will keep you going. Don’t forget to pause to capture some shots along the way. In addition, you’ll find two small caves as well.

If you’ve time and energy left, don’t miss hiking to two of the canyon’s gorgeous waterfalls. Taking the Waterfalls Trail that starts from the same trailhead, you will have to descend a series of stairs. It can be pretty strenuous, but the fabulous views of the Cherokee Falls and Hemlock Falls at the end would be worth your toil and trouble. The state park charges a parking fee of $ 5 per vehicle.

Length: About 5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Best time to visit: March to October

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2. Fort Mountain State Park Trails

Fort Mountain State Park Trails in Northern Georgia

Fort Mountain State Park, located west of Blue Ridge and Ellijay in northwestern Georgia, is home to many scenic trails. Among these, the Stone Wall, Tower, and Overlook Trails Loop, having overlooks with splendid views, is suitable for hikers of all skill levels. Though you can hike most of the paths easily, there are some inclines and rocky sections. Along the short trail, you’ll come across a historical 800-foot tall stone wall, a stone tower, and some of the stunning views of North Georgia.

For a challenging and adventurous hike, you can choose the Gahuti Trail, traversing through lushly wooded areas with several outlooks and a cascading waterfall. It is ideal for an overnight backpack with four campsites available along the way. If planning to complete it in a day which takes about 5 to 6 hours, don’t forget to pack some food and enough water.

Length: Stone Wall, Tower, and Overlook Trails Loop (About 1.6 miles), Gahuti Trail (About 8.2 miles, out and back)

Difficulty: Stone Wall, Tower, and Overlook Trails Loop (Easy to Moderate), Gahuti Trail (Hard)

Best time to visit: All year round

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3. Sitton’s Gulch Trail 

Sitton's Gulch Trail in Northern Georgia

This shaded trail follows the creek in Cloudland Canyon State Park, offering stunning vistas of the old-growth trees and wildflowers. Sharing its initial paths with Waterfall Trail, it goes past two captivating waterfalls. However, climbing the series of stairs is the most challenging part. If you go there during monsoon, you’ll get to see the creeks and waterfalls gushing. Take a pause and sit on a rock by the flowing water to have a snack while enjoying the mesmerizing sights and sounds of nature before returning. Carry $ 5 cash to pay for the parking fee here.

Length: About 5 miles (out and back)

Difficulty: Moderate

Best time to visit: March to October

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4. Hike Inn Trail

Hike Inn Trail in Northern Georgia

The secluded location of Hike Inn, nestled within mountains and forest, attracts many hikers for a backpacking adventure. The trailhead starts from the top of Amicalola Falls and initially shares its path with the Appalachian Approach Trail. Winding along creeks and rhododendron-filled valleys,it makes its way to the inn. You can complete the hike in about 3 to 4 hours. Don’t miss the spectacular sunrise views from the inn for an unforgettable experience.

Length: About 10 miles (round trip)

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Best time to visit: All year round

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5. Mountain View Trail Loop

Mountain View Trail Loop in Northern Georgia

This trail in Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve is well-marked with blue blazes. Sharing the trailhead with Mountain Top Trail, it traverses along meadows and circles the base of Arabia Mountain. As it goes past the mountain lake, you can spot various migrating waterfowl and other birds coming here to take respite. For some leisure activities, carry a fishing pole to enjoy a good catch. If bringing your dogs, don’t forget to leash them.

Length: 2.5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Best time to visit: All year round

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6. Bartram Trail

Bartram Trail in Northern Georgia

This trail gets its name from the 18th-century botanist and explorer William Bartram. Following the path he traversed, it offers hikers insight into the various flora and fauna experienced by the naturalist in the forested areas of the Chattooga River District. It is advisable to hike it from north to south for a less strenuous experience. Once you reach the Rabun Bald, the sweeping views of the surroundings from the fire lookout tower are sure to spellbind you. The hike becomes more enjoyable with natural wonders like wildflowers, streams, and waterfalls like Martin Creek Falls and Becky Creek Falls. In addition, several campsites and seasonal water sources along the entire track make it excellent for a backpacking adventure. It would take you close to 4 or 5 days to complete the hike.

Length: About 36.5 miles

Difficulty: Hard

Best time to visit: April to October

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7. Raven Cliff Falls Trail

Raven Cliff Falls Trail in Northern Georgia

Raven Cliff Wilderness near Helen features tall hardwood trees and wildflowers blooming along the streams. This trail within the wilderness leads to one of the area’s prettiest waterfalls, plunging from 40 feet. The exposed roots of the trees and some uphill hiking can be a little challenging. Also, to get to the top of the waterfall, you will have to scramble rocks, but the views are indeed rewarding. Wearing sturdy hiking shoes will be helpful. A refreshing dip is ideal in the cold waters during summer, so don’t forget to pack your swimsuits.

Length: About 5.8 miles (out and back)

Difficulty: Moderate

Best time to visit: All year round

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8. Doll’s Head Trail

Doll's Head Trail in Northern Georgia

Hiking this loop trail comprising paved and dirt tracks is pretty fun for hikers of all skill levels. Beginning from the Constitution Lakes Park trailhead in Atlanta, it will take you to a boardwalk overlooking the waters. The unusual artworks of discarded items, particularly disembodied doll’s head along the tail will keep you entertained. Kids and dogs can easily access the paths though some sections can be pretty muddy, especially after rainfall.

Length: About 1.5 miles (loop)

Difficulty: Easy

Best time to visit: April to September

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9. Coosa Backcountry Trail

Coosa Backcountry Trail in Northern Georgia

As the name suggests, the trail in Vogel State Park gives hikers a fabulous backcountry experience, being overgrown in many parts. It is ideal for training or testing your hiking skills as the path is mainly an uphill climb and pretty strenuous. Being less traversed, you will enjoy the trail to yourself and hike it at your own pace. With plentiful campsites available along the way, you can also do an overnight backpack here. However, permits are necessary, which you can acquire from the park’s office. Though the views are mainly blocked by the lush canopy of tall trees most part of the year, hiking in winter will reward you with the beautiful surrounding mountainous vistas.

Length: About 13 miles (loop)

Difficulty: Hard

Best time to visit: All year round                                      

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10. Hemp Top Trail 

Hemp Top Trail in Northern Georgia

Hemp Top Trail in the Cohutta Wilderness begins from Dally Gap. It crosses the borders of Georgia and Tennessee and intersects with Licklog Trail at the Big Frog Mountain Summit. Though it starts with a gradual inclination, the hike gets more challenging with the steep climb towards the end as it reaches the mountain top. Backpackers can stay overnight at Double Spring Gap. If hiking it in a day, you can refill water here. On your way, you might find some seasonal berries and cherries too. As some parts are overgrown, it is better to wear full pants.

Length: About 11.8 miles (out and back)

Difficulty: Moderate

Best time to visit: March to October

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11. Stone Mountain Trail

Stone Mountain Trail in Northern Georgia

This well-known trail is a must-do hike in north-central Georgia. The first section is relatively flat, gradually getting steeper towards the end. However, metal railings will help you get to the top from where you can enjoy the sweeping views of downtown Atlanta. Start early to avoid the heat, and do not forget to wear sturdy shoes to tread along the slippery rocks.

You can also choose the Stone Mountain Cherokee Loop Trail, comparatively less-hiked. It is primarily flat with a few inclines and declines and some rocky sections. As you tread along, you will find the lush greenery and lake views quite appealing.

Length: Stone Mountain Walk-up Trail (2.2 miles, out and back), Stone Mountain Cherokee Loop Trail (About 5 miles, out and back)

Difficulty: Stone Mountain Walk-up Trail (Moderate), Stone Mountain Cherokee Loop Trail (Moderate)

Best time to visit: All year round

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12. Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail in Northern Georgia

This epic trail, traversing across 14 states, has a significant portion in Georgia. Beginning at Springer Mountain, it traverses through the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest crossing five wilderness areas. Following the white-blazed trails, you can enjoy a backpacking trip and experience some of the incredible views of North Georgia. If the entire length is too much for you to hike, you can explore some sections of it. Some of the smaller trails that are part of it include  Appalachian Approach Trail, Three Forks to Springer Mountain, and Woody Gap to the Gooch Mountain Shelter.

Length: About 78.2 miles

Difficulty: Hard

Best time to visit: All year round

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Best Hikes in Western Georgia

1. Chattahoochee Bend Riverside-Bend Trail 

Chattahoochee Bend Riverside-Bend Trail in Western Georgia

This trail in Chattahoochee Bend State Park boasts picturesque views of tall old-growth trees, and occasional peeks of the Chattahoochee River. Though rated as moderate due to its length, it is relatively easy to hike along the shaded paths with some elevation gains. Climb up the observation tower positioned about 1.5 miles from the starting point and enjoy the scenic vistas of the river. The trail also provides wildlife viewing opportunities as you’ll be able to spot deer, rabbits, squirrels, and plenty of birds. Don’t forget to carry your inflatable kayaks to enjoy a peaceful boat ride in the calm waters at the end of your hike.

If planning for an overnight backpacking adventure, you will need to get reservations to stay at the campsites, located a little further from the trailhead along the river’s bank. However, remember to bring sufficient water if you want to complete it in a day. There is a $ 5 parking fee in the state park.

Length: About 10 miles (round-trip)

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Best time to visit: All-year-round

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2. Pine Mountain Trail

Pine Mountain Trail in Western Georgia

Within F.D. Roosevelt State Park, this trail consists of many inclines and declines and several points of interest like Callaway Gardens, Cascade Falls, and so on. While experienced hikers can enjoy exploring it, beginners can also train on it. Though the hike is doable in a day, a backpacking adventure would be ideal with an excellent primitive camping experience here. The tall hardwoods and unique rock outcroppings beautify the place. You’ll also find waterfalls along the way that you can pause to admire. Carry a filter to purify water that you will get from several natural water sources at regular intervals.

Length: About 22.2 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Best time to visit: All-year-round

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3. Providence Canyon Backcountry Trail Loop

Providence Canyon Backcountry Trail Loop in Western Georgia

This backcountry trail takes you through the lush forest into the canyon. With several inclines and declines, it follows a silt river bed offering stunning views of the surroundings. However, as there is a chance of your feet getting wet, don’t forget to wear appropriate footwear. The canyon views are not much visible when you’re hiking the red blaze trail, but you’ll catch glimpse of it as it connects with the white blaze track. As it is pretty popular and gets crowded soon, it is best to start hiking early. You’ll may also come across plenty of wildlife species here. On the way, there are some campsites and a sheltered place to take a break.

Length: About 6.6 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Best time to visit: All year round

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Best Hikes in Southern Georgia

1. Crooked River State Park Boardwalk Loop

Crooked River State Park Boardwalk Loop in Southern Georgia

This trail meanders through dense woods and a swamp on a flat boardwalk. It is also a tranquil one, ideal for those seeking to enjoy the picturesque views all by themselves. However, beware of the snakes you could find on the way, and don’t forget to put on bug spray before starting the hike, as ticks can cause a menace. You will have to pay $ 5 as parking charges per vehicle. Annual parking passes are also available for about $ 50.

Length: About 3 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Best time to visit: All year round

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TOP PICKS

Best Mountain Hikes: Stone Mountain Trail, West Rim Loop Trail, Fort Mountain State Park Trail 

Best Waterfall Hikes: Sitton’s Gulch Trail, Bartram Trail, Raven Cliff Fall Trail

Best Sunrise Hikes: Hike Inn Trail, Fort Mountain State Park Trail, Stone Mountain Trail

Prettiest Hikes: Providence Canyon Backcountry Trail Loop, Doll’s Head Trail, Mountain View Trail Loop

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