21 Fantastic Hikes to Ring in the New Year
Your guide to Georgia's First Day Hikes and a few you may want to do on your own.
The perfect way to jump start those New Year's resolutions to get in shape and explore Georgia is to participate in a First Day Hike. First Day Hikes are part of a nationwide program led by the State Parks to encourage people to get outside. Here’s your guide to Georgia’s First Day Hikes and a few you may want to do on your own. When you go, tag your photos with #FirstDayHikes so folks can see where you’ve been.
Tallulah Gorge State Park (Tallulah Falls) - Start off the year with family and friends on a hike along the 3-mile back country trail at the gorge. Kids must be at least 8 years old to participate.
Don Carter State Park (Gainesville) - Enjoy gorgeous views of Lake Lanier and Dog Creek on this 1.5-mile hike on the Dog Creek Outer Loop trail.
Hardman Farm Historic Site (Sautee Nacoochee) - Take a 2-mile hike along the Chattahoochee River from Hardman Farm to downtown Helen and back. You will see the famous Nora Mill Grainery dam, interactive interpretive panels along the trail and follow the old Gainesville Railroad.
Hart State Outdoor Recreation Area (Hartwell) - Join a ranger for this hike on the half-mile nature trail, and learn about the trees and wildlife you may see at the park. Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate following the hike.
Richard B. Russell State Park (Elberton) - For a real New Year's thrill, take this half-mile hike and then jump in the lake! After your chilly dip, stroll to the group shelter for warm refreshments.
Rocky Mountain Recreation & Public Fishing Area (Rome) - Take a 3.2-mile ranger-led hike around Lake Antioch for your first hike of the year! As you stroll along the banks of Antioch Lake, learn about the area's unique history, flora and fauna.
Victoria Bryant State Park (Royston) - Join a ranger-led hike on the scenic Victoria's Path trail to learn about local flora, fauna and the reason why the park is named Victoria Bryant. The trail is moderate and pet-friendly.
Hard Labor Creek (Rutledge) - This ranger–led hike on the Mountain Bike Red Trail will take visitors along gentle ridges and cascading creeks. Start the New Year off right with this 2 mile scenic hike. Explore our past as we walk by the remains of some CCC constructions. Bring a camera to record the scenery. Hike geared toward active adults and children over 8 years old.
High Falls (Jackson) - Start the year off with this 2-mile hike through the park's Tranquility Trail.
Indian Springs (Flovilla) - Hike to connect with nature and engage your senses on this all-ages and pet-friendly hike that will include several activities to slow down and observe your surroundings.
General Coffee State Park (Nicholls) - Take an easy 1.5-mile hike on the East River Swamp Trail in the morning, and learn about the plants and animals of the area. Then, join another hike in the afternoon on the West River Trail (3 miles).
George L. Smith State Park (Twin City) - Welcome the New Year with a 3-mile hike on the Deer Run Nature Trail. Watch for white-tailed deer, look for Gopher Tortoise burrows and listen for songbirds along the way.
Hamburg State Park (Mitchell) - Join a ranger for a hike on the Red Trail to learn about the history of the park and enjoy picturesque lakefront views of the Hamburg Grist Mill. After the hike, tour the mill and agricultural museum.
Magnolia Springs State Park (Millen) - Bring your dog along for this pet-friendly, 1-mile hike on the nature trail. After the hike, gather around the campfire to write down any 2019 regrets and cleanse them in the fire, replacing them with goals and hopes for the new year.
Mistletoe (Appling) - Start the year off right with a 3-mile easy hike on this park's Bliatt-Creek and Beach trails.
Reed Bingham (Adel) - Bring a flashlight/headlamp for this hike on the Birdwalk Trail after dark. Usher in the new year experiencing the history, flora and fauna in the park.
Stephen C. Foster (Fargo) - Start the year at the beginning of the Suwannee River, and hike along discussing the origins of the river in the swamp and the history of the area.
Crooked River State Park (St. Marys) - Learn about native plants and their historical and medicinal uses on this ranger-led hike, and then enjoy New Year's Day treats and take home a souvenir.
Fort Morris Historic Site (Midway) - Enjoy a leisurely walk guided by a uniformed American Continental Soldier on this hike into and around the earthwork fort.
Laura S. Walker State Park (Waycross) - Adults, kids and dogs are invited to join this 2.4-mile hike on the Lake Trail. After the hike, write your regrets for the 2019 year and burn them in the campfire. Then, write down your hopes for the New Year and take that home with you as a reminder.
Sweetwater Creek State Park (Lithia Springs) - The LEED-certified Interpretive Center gives a glimpse into daily life of residents who lived in the once thriving Manchester Mill community that flourished here before the Civil War. After a history lesson, join one of several first day hikes, including a children's program that will discuss different types of turtles and take visitors on a hike down the Red Trail.
Georgia's most popular hiking trails are also some of its most enchanting.
The beauty of Georgia's waterfalls can lure even the not-so-outdoorsy types off the beaten path...
Add a touch of magical adventure to your getaway with these unique overnight experiences in...