Hiking at Fort Mountain in Chatsworth, Georgia
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.
Cloudland Canyon (Rising Fawn) - Take a hike through the lesser-known area of Cloudland Canyon State Park and a connecting portion of Bear Creek Trail with the final destination of the pond and meadow area.
James H. (Sloppy) Floyd (Summerville) - Start your New Year off right with a ranger-led hike (2 miles) to the Marble Mine. This hike is moderate in difficulty.
Rocky Mountain Recreation & Public Fishing Area (Rome) - Take a 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. The trail is considered moderate.
Richard B. Russell State Park (Elberton) - Take a leisurely 0.25-mile stroll with a park ranger to the group shelter. Following a brief stop for hot chocolate and s'mores, participants will hike back to the meeting point.
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.
Unicoi State Park and Lodge (Helen) - Join Unicoi's Naturalist for a hike of the 2.5-mile Lake Loop Trail. Get a free hiking stick medallion or collectors pin!
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 hike that will include several activities to slow down and observe your surroundings.
A.H. Stephens State Park (Crawfordville) - Kick off the new year with a pet-friendly hike to explore the history of the Civilian Conservation Corps and Alexander H. Stephens.
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 2018 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 3.5-mile hike on this park's two most popular trails.
Reed Bingham (Adel) - Bring a flashlight/headlamp for this hike on the Little River 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.
Laura S. Walker State Park (Waycross) - Adults, kids and dogs are invited to join this 1.3-mile hike on the Big Creek Nature Trail. After the hike, write your regrets for the 2018 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.
Skidaway Island (Savannah) - Meander through the marshes and maritime forests of the Sandpiper and Avian loop trails as a park ranger discusses the island's plants, wildlife and history.
Amicalola Falls State Park (Dawsonville) - The waterfall is breathtaking, and the stairs to the top will surely jump start your fitness routine.
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 three first day hikes, including a 2-hour, 1.5-mile hike to learn about the Native American heritage of the area and visit the "Indian Cave."
Providence Canyon (Lumpkin) - Providence Canyon is one of the most photographed landscapes in Georgia and a fun hike. Join a ranger on a 3-mile hike to learn about the different geologic formations of the canyon, the various minerals that are found, and the history and ecosystem of the area. This hike explores the canyon from the rim and the floor, so wear shoes you don't mind getting muddy, and bring plenty of water.
Still looking for more? Here are seven additional winter hikes in Georgia.