Ask most Gwinnettians their favorite season and the answer is overwhelmingly fall, and for good reason! Call us basic, but, go ahead, grab your PSL and check out these five places to become one with the outdoors this season!
LAKE RUSSELL RECREATION AREA
US Forest Mt Airy/Cornelia
Located along the shore of this 100-acre lake, the Lake Russell Recreation Area offers tent and RV camping. The area also offers three picnic areas located adjacent to the lake. There are a variety of hiking trails (Lake Russel Trail, Ladyslipper Trail and Sourwood Trail), fishing, a large grass-covered beach, a swimming area and a unique “in-water”; sliding board for the kids’ enjoyment. They also offer bathhouses with hot showers, municipal water, trailer dump station and well maintained campsites.
ELACHEE NATURE SCIENCE CENTER
Located in the 1,500-acre Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve in North Georgia, Elachee’s curriculum is designed to develop a healthy ecological consciousness and includes preschool, elementary, and secondary education programs parallelling the Georgia Performance Standards. Other offerings include teacher education, summer day camp, special public programs, scout and home school programs, children’s birthday parties, and facility rentals.
AMICALOLA FALLS STATE PARK
Spectacular scenery and hiking trails make Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge one of Georgia’s most popular state parks. At 729 feet, Amicalola Falls is the tallest cascading waterfall in the Southeast. Visitors have choices on how to best view the tumbling waters, ranging from an accessible pathway to a challenging trail with staircases. Those who tackle the latter can join the park’s Canyon Climbers Club. An 8.5-mile trail leads from the park to Springer Mountain, the southern end of the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail. Numerous other trails provide shorter day hikes. Park hours are 7:00 am to 10:00 pm and all cars require a $5 GA State Park Pass.
FORT YARGO STATE PARK
Located between Atlanta and Athens, this popular park features a 1792 log fort built by settlers for protection against Creek and Cherokee Indians. Today, visitors come to Fort Yargo for its wide variety of outdoor recreation and scenery. Mountain bikers and hikers can test their endurance on 18 miles of trails. A 260-acre lake offers a large swimming beach, fishing and boat ramps. The park’s wooded disc golf course is exceptionally challenging. Fort Yargo State Park is a beautiful location for outdoor weddings, reunions and other celebrations. Visitors have a choice of numerous facilities for all budgets, ranging from group shelters to lake-view pavilions. Overnight guests can choose from fully equipped cottages or cozy campsites. For a more unique experience, visitors can reserve lakeside yurts, which are like canvas and wooden tents. Each yurt has furniture and electricity inside and a fire ring, picnic table and grill outside.
SAWNEE MOUNTAIN PRESERVE
The Sawnee Mountain Preserve in Cumming is 963 acres with hiking trails, Indian Seats, a tree canopy classroom, playground, two picnic pavilions, climbing area, amphitheater and visitor center. The trails and visitor center are open daily. The Indian Seats are a natural rock formation at the top of the trail system that offer beautiful views of the North Georgia mountains. They are also a perfect location for family photographs, particularly during the fall leaf season. The visitor center has information on the flora and fauna of Sawnee Mountain, Native American artifacts and the story of Sawnee Mountain’s preservation, conservation and the county’s stewardship of the property. Our nature education and adventure programs teach special skills such as rock climbing, canoeing and kayaking. The Sawnee Mountain Preserve Visitor Center hours are from 8:30 a.m to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday