10 Hikes Locals Love
Georgia's most popular hiking trails are also some of its most enchanting.
Georgia's trails highlight impressive landscapes, fascinating history and native wildlife found across the many regions of the state. From mountains and rivers to coastal marshland, here are some of the local favorite places to hike.
Blood Mountain on the Appalachian Trail
Take on the challenge of hiking to the highest peak on Georgia's section of the Appalachian Trail. Locals love this trail for the stunning views of North Georgia's mountains and the brilliant fall color. Hiking Blood Mountain is a moderately strenuous 4.5-mile out-and-back experience with options to extend the hike into a backpacking trip along the iconic Appalachian Trail.
Amicalola Falls State Park
Home to the tallest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi, Amicalola Falls State Park features some of North Georgia's most spectacular scenery along its hiking trails. Locals love views of the falls and mountains from the winding trails that lead to the backcountry Hike Inn and connect with the Appalachian Trail.
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
Beginning near Lake Lanier, and continuing for 48 miles downstream, the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area includes 15 park units where Atlantans get back to nature. Locals love exploring the rock outcrops at Island Ford, the riverside ruins at Sope Creek, and birdwatching on the trails of Powers Island.
It's easy to see why locals call Providence Canyon "Georgia's Little Grand Canyon," as trails descend into massive gorges carved by erosion. Colorful soils, rare plants and a unique landscape make this one of Georgia's natural wonders. Locals love viewing incredible sunsets along the Rim Trail and forested backcountry camping.
Raven Cliff Falls
The perfect hike for a spring day, the five-mile out-and-back trail to Raven Cliff Falls is lined with wildflowers as it follows Dodd Creek upstream. Locals love the shaded forest and wading in the cool mountain waters during summer. At 2.5 miles, the trail approaches the falls carving through the towering cliff. Raven Cliff Falls is in Chattahoochee National Forest and offers several creekside campsites.
Red Top Mountain State Park
Best known for its camping and boating opportunities on Lake Allatoona, Red Top Mountain State Park offers more than 15 miles of shady, forested trail, making it a popular place to cool off in summer. Locals love birdwatching and nature photography along looped trails exploring historic homestead sites, gorgeous hardwoods and lakeside views.
Skidaway Island State Park
One of 18 sites along Georgia's Colonial Coast Birding Trail, Skidaway Island State Park attracts hundreds of different bird species to its marshes and maritime forest. Several loops connect to form a 6-mile trail network traversing the coastal landscape. Locals love the sweeping views of marshlands, spotting rare and migratory birds, and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere under Spanish moss-draped live oaks.
Stone Mountain Park
One of Atlanta's most popular destinations for family fun and adventure, Stone Mountain Park offers several trails showcasing the natural beauty of this geologic phenomenon. An Atlanta family tradition, the two-mile roundtrip hike to the top features stunning views, and the nationally recognized Cherokee Trail loops through the forest around the base of the mountain.
Sweetwater Creek State Park
Twelve miles of trail wind through this exceptional wilderness just minutes from Atlanta. Locals love Sweetwater Creek State Park's unique geology, roaring rapids and proximity to the big city. The New Manchester Mill History Hike (red blaze) passes towering mill ruins, featured in several movies, before joining the white trail for a loop through the park's more remote forest.
One of Georgia's most popular parks, Tallulah Gorge is a hiker's haven with 20 miles of trails through the scenic, rugged landscapes of the mountains. Locals love stunning views of the Tallulah River's waterfalls from the swaying suspension bridge and numerous overlooks. On hot summer days, grab a permit to visit the sliding rock and swimming hole at the gorge floor!