Tallulah Gorge in Tallulah Falls, Georgia

 Tallulah Gorge in the fall. Photo by Chris Greer

How to Experience the Best Fall Colors in Georgia

A blanket of red, yellow and orange covers Georgia each fall. Here are the best ways to take it all in.

In October and November, Georgia's landscape transforms into a palette of gorgeous fall colors. Get out and enjoy the reds, yellows and all the hues in between during an outing framed around the best scenes the season has to offer!

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway in the fall in Blue Ridge, Georgia
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway in the fall in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Photo by @stark.us

Take a train ride

The mountains of North Georgia are the ideal location for experiencing some of the finest views. Blue Ridge Scenic Railway offers fall foliage trips Sept. 21 - Nov. 6, 2023, on the historic railway. Beginning at the historic depot in downtown Blue Ridge, wind your way along the Toccoa River in a vintage rail car, observing the canvas of bright colors. These are some of the most popular trips, so it’s best to book reservations at least three weeks in advance. 

Love trains? Here are 6 Ways to See Georgia by Train this Fall.

Vogel State Park in Blairsville, Georgia, in the fall
Vogel State Park in Blairsville, Georgia. Photo by @dineshchitlangia

Go hiking

From downtown Blue Ridge, head to Vogel State Park in Blairsville, where the 4-mile Bear Hair Gap Trail offers a bird’s-eye view of Lake Trahlyta and the golden vegetation that surrounds it.

For more great hikes in the area, check out these Top 5 Hikes in Blue Ridge.

Road through Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth, Georgia
Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth, Georgia. Photo by @ryangilger

Drive through the mountains

Don’t miss a drive on Wolf Pen Gap Road for some of the area’s most captivating leaves. For one of the most scenic drives in the area, follow this guide to explore Dragon Eyes, a journey of 77 miles in two loops with 715 curves, six gaps and endless views that stretch over our mountains.

Find even more scenic drives in North Georgia with these Georgia Fall Road Trips.

Two kids on the observation deck at Brasstown Bald in Hiawassee, Georgia
Brasstown Bald in Hiawassee, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones

Go to the state's highest point

A stop by Brasstown Bald is also a must for a view of the autumn landscape from the highest natural point in the state.

Get tips for your visit to the state's highest peak in this guide to Escape to Brasstown Bald.

Car driving through the mountains in fall near Brasstown Bald in Hiawassee, Georgia
Near Brasstown Bald in Hiawassee, Georgia. Photo by @sebastiangillbanks

Follow a scenic byway

Next, travel along the Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway to witness what is considered one of the most stunning mountainous fall foliage sites. The meandering road is flanked by trees undergoing seasonal change and includes several turnoffs with scenic overlooks along the way. You can also stroll two Appalachian Trail crossing points, listening to leaves crunch below your feet.

Fall is a beautiful time to take the long way around the state with these 6 Scenic Georgia Drives.

Dogs in costume at Oktoberfest in Helen, Georgia. Photo by @theadventuresof3pups
Get in the spirit of Oktoberfest in Helen, Georgia. Photo by @theadventuresof3pups

Celebrate Oktoberfest

Experience the alpine-style village in the fall with Oktoberfest fun for all. A parade at noon on Sept. 9, 2023, kicks off the town's famed celebration that runs through Oct. 29. Visit the Helen Festhalle for beer, brats, bands and lederhosen, and enjoy festivities at shops and restaurants throughout town.

A short drive away, Lucille's Mountain Top Inn & Spa is a luxurious place to rest your head. Climb up to the Inn’s “Crow’s Nest” for a 360-degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Sautee Valley in all its fall glory.

Find more places to stay and things to do with this Guide to Helen.

Aerial view of fall foliage at Tallulah Gorge State Park. Photo by @yinandshane
Tallulah Gorge State Park. Photo by @yinandshane

Overlook a gorge

More memorable scenes are on display at Tallulah Gorge State Park, one of the Southeast’s most popular canyons. Hike on trails overlooking the rim and waterfalls and take in the glimmering yellow oaks and red-tinted maple trees. In November, watch the biannual “whitewater releases” when expert kayakers brave the rushing rapids.

Find more insider tips for your trip with this Guide to Tallulah Gorge State Park.

Woman at Blue Hole Falls in Hiawassee, Georgia
Blue Hole Falls in Hiawassee, Georgia. Photo by Jacob Tekippe

Hike to a waterfall

Farther south, Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge boasts the Southeast’s tallest cascading waterfall. Choose a flat path to a boardwalk overlook, or try your stamina on the steep staircase from the bottom of the falls. Either way, the payback is striking scenery.

Explore more nearby with this guide to the Best Fall Fun in Dahlonega and Dawsonville.

Woman with apples stacked on her head at R & A Orchards in Ellijay, Georgia
R & A Orchards in Ellijay, Georgia. Photo by @diaryofdualeh

Visit a farm

Several pumpkin farms, mazes and apple orchards are nearby — all must-dos in the fall. Nowhere can the bounty of the season be better enjoyed than in Ellijay, known as the "Apple Capital of Georgia." Sitting at the edge of the Chattahoochee National Forest, Ellijay is home to numerous pick-your-own orchards. Each fall, Hillcrest Orchards hosts its Apple Pickin’ Jubilee when visitors can not only pick fruit, but also milk a cow, watch live pig races, take wagon rides and much more.

Try all the varieties of apples grown in the state with this guide to Where to Go Apple Picking in Georgia.

Woman on stairs at Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth, Georgia
Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth, Georgia. Photo by @goanniewhere

Explore scenic trails

Explore the hardwood forest, crossing streams and circling a pretty lake on miles trails at Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth near the Cohutta Wilderness. Hikers can also explore a stone fire tower built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and an ancient rock wall, which stands on the highest point of the mountain.

Farther south, Red Top Mountain State Park on Lake Allatoona features a variety of trails with radiant colors. Hike the 4-mile Iron Hill Loop for unique vantage points of the lake and forest, and visit the park's log cabin and blacksmith shed.

As you travel through North Georgia and stare in awe at the yellow sweetgums, golden hickories and red dogwoods, you’ll immediately begin counting the days until the next fall, which is without a doubt one of the state’s most beautiful times of the year.

Stay up-to-date on when the leaves are turning with the Georgia State Parks Leaf Watch travel planner.

Published: July 2023
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