The smell of campfires, the crisp fresh air, colorful mountain views and taste of s’mores all evoke feelings of excitement for the fall. Trailgoers, campers and leafers alike will all appreciate the unbeatable views, variety of accommodation options, and plethora of hiking and biking trails for all skill levels.
With nearly 50 Georgia State Parks from the mountains to the coast, there are endless opportunities for visitors to experience the best of this multi-sensory season.
Leaf peep this fall and see an array of autumn hues sweeping across Georgia’s outdoors. Most state parks, especially those across the north Georgia mountains, are filled with vibrant pigments of red, orange and rust. Starting in mid-September, fall fanatics can keep track as the leaves change to their fall colors at Georgia’s State Parks online Leaf Watch travel planner GeorgiaStateParks.org/LeafWatch. Leaf Watch is filled with top trails and overlooks, mountain cabins and campsites, fall events and hiking tips with updates on how color is progressing .Popular parks for fall foliage in the mountains include Cloudland Canyon, Vogel, Black Rock Mountain, Fort Mountain, Smithgall Woods and many more. Autumn isn’t just confined to the mountains. The cypress trees in the swamp at George L. Smith in Twin City provide an amazing backdrop to any camping trip.
Fall Insider tip: Take the two-mile hike outside of Moccasin Creek to Hemlock Falls Trail at Lake Burton to experience a breath-taking waterfall for a fantastic fall photo op!
Campfire roasted s’mores, coffee, hotdogs and other seasonal snacks just taste better when cooked on an open fire at a campsite. Most Georgia State Parks offer campgrounds and other lodging complete with fire pits and grills so that visitors can spend a weekend eating their way through all the fall flavors. Work off those calories by exploring the outdoors on foot, bike, boat or even horseback.
Breathe in the fresh, fall air during an overnight trip. At Georgia State Park campgrounds, open air is a part of the daily routine, plus park cabins have screen porches. Parks such as F.D. Roosevelt, Fort Mountain, Cloudland Canyon and Vogel provide camping and cabins surrounded by fall color. Let the aroma of a campfire unlock memories of roasted treats while taking in the fire’s warmth.
Hear the rushing water flow through streams, lakes, waterfalls and creeks at your favorite state park this fall. Amicalola Falls is home to a beautiful729-foot waterfall that provides the perfect soundtrack to viewing the gorgeous leaves of the north Georgia mountains. Tallulah Gorge hides six waterfalls in the bottom of a 1,000-foot-deep canyon. Adventurous leaf watchers can get permits to hike to the bottom for a close up look at the power of nature. Heighten your other senses when you take away sight by joining a night-time hike at Cloudland Canyon or embarking on a twilight pontoon ride at Reed Bingham. Let hearing take over as wildlife hoots and howls in the distance.
Feel a crisp fall breeze while tackling the hiking trails at Georgia State Parks. F.D. Roosevelt, the largest state park, is home to extensive hiking trails that wrap around Lake Delanor and the rolling hills of Pine Mountain. Sweetwater Creek, located just 15 miles from downtown Atlanta is also home to 12 miles of trails. Mountain biking trails at Fort Yargo are another great way to experience the cool air of autumn as you wind through forests of colored leaves or alongside the picturesque lake.
Experience all Five Senses with an Overnight Trip
With extensive activities and lodging options, Georgia’s State Parks offer the chance to enhance your senses during the fall season. Visitors can spend a night under the stars in modern campgrounds with hot showers, laundry facilities, RV pull-through sites, electrical/water hookups (some full hookups), fire rings and grills, and nearby campground hosts. Some parks even offer site-specific reservations for guests who want to reserve their perfect spot to lay their head ahead of time. Add a little luxury by glamping in a yurt. For those who would rather sleep in the comfort of cozy beds with private bathrooms, many Georgia’s State Parks offer one-, two- or three-bedroom cabins. Newbie campers can try the First Time Camper’s Program, where rangers assist with loaner tents and prepping the family for a night of camping. For reservations or a free brochure, call 800-864-7275. GaStateParks.org/Reservations