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DO IT: Hiking

Hiking Trails: Georgia Leads the Way

Georgia offers some of the nation’s best hiking, whether you traverse through swamps, across
islands, over wetlands, through woodlands or along mountain trails – everything from relaxed
nature trails to challenging mountain treks. So, pull on your hiking boots and hit the trail.

North Georgia’s hiking challenges include the famous Appalachian, Bartram and Benton MacKaye trails leading to beautiful destinations such as Brasstown Bald and Amicalola Falls, one of the nation’s highest waterfalls.

The Appalachian Trail begins in Georgia at Springer Mountain, reaching a height of 4,461 feet at Blood Mountain and a low point of 2,675 feet at Dicks Creek Gap. Snow covers much of the trail in the winter. Spring melts give way to many of the wildflowers common throughout the mountains: azalea and rhododendron, bloodroot, mountain laurel, and trillium. Forests are predominately hickory, oak and poplar trees, with evergreen pines and cedars mixed in. Access to the beginning of the Appalachian Trail is by foot from Amicalola Falls State Park. The 79-mile Georgia section of the A.T. leaves the state at Bly Gap.

Many Georgia State Parks offer hiking trails that range from challenging backcountry trails to paved or hard-surfaced trails suitable for wheelchairs and strollers. Some trails have accommodations for primitive camping. Trails at Amicalola Falls, Black Rock Mountain, Cloudland Canyon, Fort Mountain and Vogel state parks lead to scenic waterfalls. Just outside Unicoi State Park is Anna Ruby Falls.

Join Georgia’s Canyon Climbers Club, get a card, hike four trails and earn a t-shirt. Scale to the top of Amicalola Falls, explore the depths

of Providence Canyon, brave the swinging bridge in Tallulah Gorge and face the daunting staircase in Cloudland Canyon. Membership cards can be purchased for $10 at any one of the four participating state parks. Once you have visited all four parks and had your card punched by rangers, redeem it for a t-shirt and bragging rights. No time limit applies, so hikers can take as long as they wish to visit all four parks.

Georgia hiking often incorporates cultural and historical sites among its trail stops, such as Pickett’s Mill Battlefield Historic Site, the ruins of the New Manchester Mill at Sweetwater Creek State Park or the Indian mounds at Kolomoki Mounds State Park.

Every part of the state has its trails to explore. In Smyrna, Dallas, Hiram, Rockmart and Cedartown, hikers, cyclists, and equestrians can access the popular Silver Comet Trail, transformed from an old railroad route and stretching 60 miles from metro Atlanta to the state line at Alabama. The Augusta Canal has its towpath that follows along the canal and a network of trails branching off from it. Columbus’ paved 22-mile RiverWalk connects to the Fall Line Trace trail and is part of the city’s Dragonfly trail system.

Download more than 700 trail maps here. You can also download the free Georgia Trails mobile app to your phone here or from the Google Play or Android stores. The app lets you track your hikes, include photos, track distance, and more!


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