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Local News

Autumn Colors Fall: A Guide to Georgia’s State Parks

Credit: iStock

Parker Wallis 

As the first leaves begin to shift their colors, Georgia residents and tourists alike are getting ready to explore the state’s public parks and immerse themselves in autumn’s vibrant, fiery hues and Georgia’s picturesque landscape.

Park rangers say leaves in autumn typically change color around the end of October and early November. State parks are especially busy during fall weekends, so rangers recommend exploring lesser-known destinations and visiting them during the weekdays when the locales aren’t so crowded.

One of Georgia’s diamonds in the rough is Moccasin Creek State Park in Rabun County, the smallest state park in the entire Peach State coming in at 32 acres. Tucked away in a rural area with no major cities, the spot tends to be ignored by tourists, which means hikers, campers, and sightseers have more room to explore the park’s splendor. 

Moccasin Creek features 17 public waterfalls and borders the 2,800-acre Lake Burton, the perfect getaway for fishing, kayaking, and water skiing. The park’s fishing pier is fully accessible for seniors and children as well. If you want to set up camp, Moccasin Creek has spots for tents, trailers, and RVs for those who love the outdoors.

Want to see a waterfall over 700 feet tall? Amicalola Falls State Park is your answer since it has the tallest waterfall in the Southeast. The park also has hiking trails that wind through the mountains of North Georgia. 

The park with the highest elevation in Georgia is Black Rock Mountain State Park. At the highest point (3,640 feet), hikers can take in the Appalachian forests spanning across the horizon as they traverse the park’s 11 miles of hiking trails. 

Adversely, for those who wish to venture down a nearly 2 mile-long canyon with gorgeous limestone walls, Tallulah Gorge State Park is the place for you. Permits are required for traveling down the gorge, so make sure you square those away before visiting because you do not want to miss out on what is often considered to be one of Georgia’s seven wonders. 

Tallulah Gorge offers a plethora of life-changing activities, which include full moon paddles on the lake, supervised treks under the moonlight, morning hikes, and the Hurricane Falls Trail, a rocky two-mile circle with 10 scenic overlooks and a massive cascading waterfall after which the trail is named.

Blairsville, Georgia is home to Vogel State Park, ranked by the Farmer’s Almanac as one of the best places in the country to witness the autumn foliage. The 233-acre park is nestled in Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest and sports a beautiful lake, 17 miles of trails for hikers and bikers through the mountains, and a pristine sandy beach. 

By Rising Fawn in the northwest corner of Georgia, Cloudland Canyon State Park is one of the largest and most breathtaking natural parks in the state. At 3,485 acres, there is so much to see and so much to do at this locale. Visitors can see waterfalls, canyons, creeks, and sandstone cliffs while they fish, bike, or even ride on horseback through the trails. For those who want to spend the night or relax in a cozy lodging, Cloudland Canyon offers cottages, campsites, and yurts to eager campers. 

The options are vast, and the vistas are out of this world. There is no better place to experience the warm glow of autumn than in the natural beauty of Georgia.