Georgia, known for its southern charm, is also a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a diverse array of hiking trails beyond its national parks. From the rolling hills of the Piedmont to the rugged beauty of the North Georgia mountains, join us on a journey through the Peach State's 20 most popular hiking trails, where waterfalls, mountain vistas, and lush forests await every hiker.
1. Blood Mountain Loop
Nestled in the Chattahoochee National Forest, the Blood Mountain Loop is a favorite among hikers seeking a challenging yet rewarding ascent. The trail winds through a dense forest, culminating at the summit of Blood Mountain, providing breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
2. Raven Cliff Falls Trail
Venturing into the North Georgia mountains, the Raven Cliff Falls Trail leads hikers to a spectacular 40-foot waterfall. This moderate trail meanders along a bubbling creek and through lush forests before reaching the rocky outcrop with stunning views of the waterfall.
3. Arabia Mountain Top Trail
A unique experience awaits on the Arabia Mountain Top Trail, where hikers traverse through expansive granite outcrops and open meadows. This easygoing trail offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, making it a favorite spot for wildflower enthusiasts during the blooming season.
4. Pine Mountain Trail - Dowdell's Knob Loop
Exploring F.D. Roosevelt State Park, the Pine Mountain Trail features the Dowdell's Knob Loop, offering a picturesque hike through hardwood forests. Hikers ascend to Dowdell's Knob, a favorite spot of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, enjoying sweeping views of the rolling hills below.
5. Yonah Mountain Trail
Known for its distinctive bald summit, the Yonah Mountain Trail provides a moderately challenging hike with rewarding views. Hikers ascend through a forested trail to reach the exposed granite summit, offering breathtaking vistas of the surrounding foothills.
6. Cloudland Canyon West Rim Loop
Cloudland Canyon State Park showcases the West Rim Loop, a trail that leads hikers along the canyon's edge. This scenic route provides stunning overlooks of the deep canyon, waterfalls, and the rolling hills beyond, making it a must-visit for those seeking dramatic landscapes.
7. Sweetwater Creek Red Trail
Just outside Atlanta, Sweetwater Creek State Park offers the Red Trail, a serene path along the namesake creek. Hikers explore Civil War ruins and meander through forests, enjoying the peaceful ambiance and scenic beauty of the cascading rapids.
8. Stone Mountain Walk-Up Trail
An iconic destination, the Stone Mountain Walk-Up Trail leads hikers to the summit of the world's largest exposed granite monadnock. The trail offers a challenging ascent with panoramic views of Atlanta and the surrounding Piedmont region.
9. Tallulah Gorge South Rim Trail
Tallulah Gorge State Park features the South Rim Trail, offering hikers stunning views of the gorge's depths and the cascading waterfalls below. This trail combines scenic overlooks with a peaceful stroll through the forested rim.
10. Amicalola Falls West Ridge Falls Access
Starting at the West Ridge Falls Access, the trail to Amicalola Falls showcases the tallest cascading waterfall in the Southeast. Hikers traverse through lush woodlands, catching glimpses of the falls before reaching an impressive overlook.
11. Anna Ruby Falls Trail
Situated near Helen, the Anna Ruby Falls Trail is a short yet rewarding hike leading to twin waterfalls surrounded by a lush forest. This family-friendly trail allows hikers to appreciate the beauty of two distinct creeks converging to create the stunning falls.
12. Kennesaw Mountain Loop Trail
Rich in history, the Kennesaw Mountain Loop Trail takes hikers through Civil War battlegrounds. The trail provides a moderate ascent to the summit, where panoramic views await, offering a blend of natural beauty and historical significance.
13. Sope Creek Paper Mill Ruins Trail
Combining history and nature, the Sope Creek Paper Mill Ruins Trail near Atlanta features the remnants of a historic mill along the banks of Sope Creek. Hikers can explore the ruins and enjoy a picturesque trail through woodlands and along the creek.
14. Bear Hair Gap Trail to Raven Cliffs Falls
Part of the Appalachian Trail, the Bear Hair Gap Trail leads to the stunning Raven Cliffs Falls. Hikers navigate through a lush forest and reach a rocky outcrop with breathtaking views of the falls cascading into a pristine pool below.
15. Helton Creek Falls Trail
A hidden gem in the North Georgia mountains, the Helton Creek Falls Trail offers a short and family-friendly hike to twin waterfalls. Hikers are treated to the soothing sounds of cascading water and a picturesque setting surrounded by woodland.
16. Springer Mountain Approach Trail
The southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, Springer Mountain, is accessible via the Springer Mountain Approach Trail. Hikers embark on a moderate ascent through the forest, reaching the iconic summit marker and enjoying views of the southern Appalachian Mountains.
17. Panther Creek Falls Trail
The Panther Creek Falls Trail leads hikers through the Chattahoochee National Forest to a captivating waterfall. The trail features wooden boardwalks, scenic bridges, and the grand finale—Panther Creek Falls, a tiered waterfall surrounded by moss-covered rocks.
18. Smith Creek Trail to Anna Ruby Falls
Beginning at Unicoi State Park, the Smith Creek Trail winds through scenic woodlands and alongside Smith Creek to reach the stunning Anna Ruby Falls. This family-friendly hike provides opportunities for birdwatching and enjoying the sounds of nature.
19. Unicoi State Park Lake Loop Trail
Surrounding Unicoi Lake, the Lake Loop Trail at Unicoi State Park offers a tranquil hike through woodlands and along the lakeshore. Hikers can enjoy serene views of the lake, spot wildlife, and experience the peaceful ambiance of this scenic loop.
20. Brasstown Bald Summit Trail
The Brasstown Bald Summit Trail takes hikers to the highest point in Georgia, offering panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Ascending through a forested trail, hikers reach the summit observation deck, where breathtaking vistas await in every direction.
Georgia's hiking trails beyond national parks unveil the state's diverse natural beauty, from waterfalls to mountain summits. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or a nature-loving family, the Peach State's trails have something for everyone. Lace up your hiking boots, embrace the call of the trail, and embark on an adventure through Georgia's