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Top Georgia State Parks For Fall Color

Leaf Watch Top Parks


Nov. 5 — As the leaf season begins its downturn at Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge we are seeing more of the rich dark orange, reddish and auburn colors mixing in with the green pines and brown oaks. Looking down to the valley from the top of the falls offers a beautiful view of the brighter yellow and orange colors in the lower elevations along with the abundant colorful foliage on the foothills rising from the flatlands. As the leaves continue to fall you can also gain views of our incredible cascading waterfalls and the grandeur of our park lodge not normally seen during the warmer months. It’s a great time to see many beautiful things at Amicalola Falls!

Just an hour north of Atlanta you’ll find the Southeast’s tallest cascading waterfall. The falls can be enjoyed from both easy and difficult trails. A short, flat path leads to a boardwalk offering the most spectacular views. There’s also an easy-to-reach overlook at the top. For a tougher challenge, start from the bottom of the falls and hike up the steep staircase. Amicalola Falls gets very busy on pretty October weekends. Pumpkin farms and apple orchards are nearby.
  Amicalola Falls State Park


Nov. 5 — We here at Black Rock aren’t showing we have been in the clouds for the last few days and seems to be like it will be that way till next week. A lot of the leaves have been lost to wind and rain.

At an altitude of 3,640 feet, Black Rock Mountain is Georgia’s highest state park. Roadside overlooks and the summit Visitor Center offer sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The 2.2-mile Tennessee Rock Trail is a good choice for a short, moderate hike. For an all-day challenge, take the 7.2-mile James E. Edmonds Backcountry Trail. If driving Hwy. 441 north to the park, you can also stop by Tallulah Gorge State Park and quirky Goats on the Roof.
  Black Rock Mountain State Park


Nov. 13 — The leaves are well past peak at the park in all locations. Due to recent weather, the majority of the trees have also dropped their leaves. But, the weather is very nice with nice sunny days and crisp nights. Perfect hiking weather to enjoy the sound of walking through crisp leaves.

One of Georgia’s most beautiful parks offers easy-to-reach rim overlooks and challenging hiking trails. A favorite hike takes you down a long, steep staircase to the bottom of the canyon, where you’ll find two waterfalls. The 5-mile West Rim Loop is moderately difficult and offers great views of the canyon. Rental yurts are located off this trail.
  Cloudland Canyon State Park


Nov. 6 — Leaf color carpets the ground while some pale hues still linger in the trees.

Many people are surprised to find hardwood forests and rolling mountains south of Atlanta. The 6.7-mile Wolf Den Loop is a favorite section of the longer Pine Mountain Trail. For a touch of history, drive to Dowdell’s Knob to see a life-size bronze sculpture of President F.D. Roosevelt and great views of the forested valley. Ga. Hwy. 190 is a pretty driving route.
  F. D. Roosevelt State Park


Oct. 24 — Our leaves are looking absolutely gorgeous right now.  There is still a little bit of green mixed in, but we've got a wide range of colors showing all over the park — reds, yellows, oranges.  We expect this weekend and next weekend to be the peak times for the leaf season. Check our Facebook Leaf Watch event for photos, and feel free to share your own. 

This park is best known for a mysterious rock wall along the mountain top, plus a variety of trails. For the easiest walk, take the 1.2-mile loop around the park’s pretty, green lake. For a challenging, all-day hike, choose the 8-mile Gahuti Trail. Mountain bikers have more than 14 miles to explore. Hwy. 52 has beautiful mountain scenery and overlooks that are worth stopping for.
  Fort Mountain State Park


Nov. 10 — Peak colors have came & went.  There are only dark browns and yellows remaining throughout the park, along the drive to the park, and around the shore of Lake Burton.

Georgia’s smallest state park sits on the shore of a gorgeous deep-green lake. Hikers can choose from the 2-mile Hemlock Falls Trail or 1-mile Non-Game Trail with a wildlife observation tower. Hwy. 197 is a particularly pretty road, passing Mark of the Potter and other popular attractions.  Boaters will enjoy looking at beautiful vacation homes and boat houses on this mountain lake.

  Moccasin Creek State Park


Nov. 5 — It isn’t too late to catch the spectacular colors of fall at Red Top, now is the perfect time. The leaves are at their peak this week. A few trees are starting to drop their leaves, while others have just started turning color. Hickories are spectacular right now. The leaves are a rich, golden-yellow that provide a warm contrast to the gray, dreary weather. Combine this feature with the sheer size of hickories, and you have a remarkable sight — pillars of color scattered throughout the forest. They can be seen throughout the park, but they really stand out on Sweetgum and Homestead Trail. Sweet gum leaves are a kaleidoscope of colors, from yellow to pink to a rich purple. There are several in particular along Lakeside Trail that are almost impossibly multicolored. It is impressive to see all these colors on a single tree. Some maples have dropped their leaves, but those that have not are a gradient of yellow, orange, and red. To see all these magnificent trees and experience scenic views of the lake, take a hike on Whitetail Trail. There is not much time left to catch the fleeting colors of fall, so come see them while you still can.

Just 40 minutes north of Atlanta you’ll find a variety of trails with nice fall color. The easy, flat 4-mile Iron Hill Loop is open to bikes and foot traffic, offering great views of the lake and forest. Another good choice for lake views is the 5.5-mile Homestead Trail. Families with young children will like the paved walking path behind the park office. Be sure to explore the log cabin and blacksmith shed.
  Red Top Mountain State Park


Nov. 9 — Heavy rains & modest winds, this past week, have knocked down a lot of leaves. Most Tulip Poplars are bare now, although a few have kept their light yellow leaves.   Sourwoods peaked two weeks ago, but some still have colorful, bright red leaves. Dogwood, sumac, and oaks have lost significant portions of their leaves, and those that remain are mostly brown. However, the American Beech, Sweetgum, and Maples are at peak & have bright yellow & gold, red & orange, and deep red, respectively. Although the fall leaf season is nearing its end, there will still be some exciting color to be viewed in scattered areas of the forest for another couple of weeks.
Protecting more than 6,000 acres around Dukes Creek, this is the perfect spot for fly fishing while enjoying fall color. Day visitors can picnic near the creek, and overnight guests can hike a private trail to Dukes Creek Falls. A 1.6-mile loop climbs to Laurel Ridge and provides a view of Mt. Yonah once most leaves are off the trees. This park is near many wineries and Helen’s Oktoberfest.
  Smithgall Woods State Park


Nov. 12 — We have just passed our peak but things are still lovely with plenty of colorful leaves on the trees. The hickories are still their brilliant yellow-gold and there  is still a lot of red in the Sumacs, Sourwoods, and Red Maples. The most spectacular color now is in the multi-hued leaves of the Sweet Gum and the Sassafras. The best trail to see the glory of fall is the Red Trail which leads you downstream to the five story Civil War era New Manchester Mill and the half mile of whitewater rapids (up to class IV).

Just west of Atlanta you’ll find 9 miles of hiking trails, a beautiful creek and small lake. For an easy walk, take the popular 1-mile Red Trail which follows the creek to the ruins of an old mill. For more of a workout, continue past the mill to the Blue Trail, where you’ll climb steep bluffs for outstanding creek views. Sign up for a guided hike to learn more about this park’s Civil War history.

  Sweetwater Creek State Park


Oct. 29 — The park is at peak, with colorful leaves standing out well against the many evergreens around the gorge rim.

Tallulah is one of the most spectacular canyons in the Southeast, and you can choose from easy or difficult trails. Hike along the rim to several overlooks with waterfall views, or get a permit from the park office to trek all the way to the bottom. During November, you can watch expert kayakers as they enjoy the bi-annual “whitewater releases.” Be sure to see the park’s film because it includes heart-racing footage of kayakers and news clips from Wallenda’s famous tightrope walk across the gorge.
  Tallulah Gorge State Park


Oct. 26 — It appears Unicoi is peaking this week, but unfortunately the rain and winds are not cooperating.  Good weather is forecasted for Thursday and beyond, and there will still be plenty of color on the trees for guests traveling this way.  We also have rooms, cabins, and campsites  available this weekend with Halloween activities planned for families. .

Avoid Oktoberfest crowds in Helen by hiking a pretty 3-mile trail which leads from the park into town. You can enjoy lunch and window shopping before hiking back to the trailhead. Mountain bikers can zip past fall color on the park’s challenging 7.5-mile bike loop. If you’re up for a steep hike, take the 4.8-mile Smith Creek Trail up to Anna Ruby Falls. (To avoid having to hike back, leave a second car at the falls.)
  Unicoi State Park & Lodge


Oct. 28 — Victoria Bryant State Park is finally showing good fall colors, with red, orange and yellow throughout the park.

Nestled in the rolling hills of Georgia’s upper Piedmont, this is one of northern Georgia’s best kept secrets. A beautiful stream flows through the park, providing the perfect setting for an after-picnic stroll. Hikers can follow either the short nature trail or the longer perimeter trail that travels through hardwoods and crosses creeks.
  Victoria Bryant Golf Course

VOGEL STATE PARK — Blairsville

Nov. 5 — Various colors can still be seen through out the park and trails. We are past peak and due to rain and wind most of the leaves  have fallen to the ground. By next week we should be almost bare. 
The 4-mile Bear Hair Gap Trail makes a nice day trip for experienced hikers, offering great mountain color and a birds-eye view of the park’s lake. For an easier walk, follow the Lake Loop to a small waterfall. The twisting roads around Vogel, particularly Wolf Pen Gap Road, offer some of north Georgia’s prettiest fall scenery.
  Vogel State Park