We don’t know about you, but when that sunny and warm Georgia weather starts to hit, we’ll be scouring the AllTrails app for new trails, putting on our swimsuits and looking for all things outdoors. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a newbie, exploring the natural beauty all around us is a must-do. Luckily, Georgia is home to beautiful natural landscapes, and we truly believe there’s nothing quite like a scenic sunset hike or a majestic waterfall. With so many trails and waterfalls, here are a few we highly recommend adding to your bucket list.
Just a short drive from Blairsville, Hiawassee, and Helen, Brasstown Bald is the highest point in Georgia, offering breathtaking views of the Southern Appalachian mountains. On a clear day, you can even see four states from the top! Its cloud-level observation deck offers stunning 360-degree views, and while Brasstown Bald is worth a visit any time of day, the best time to hike to the top is during sunset, as the colors of the sky paint a stunning portrait. Reach the summit by a short but steep half-mile trail or use the shuttle service from the parking lot. Admission is $8 for adults and free for children 15 and under.
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FB: Brasstown Bald
Located in Hiawassee, Georgia, Bell Mountain offers 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Chatuge. It has been referred to as the best “non-hike” view because there is a paved road to the summit, but reviews suggest a careful drive up as the road is steep and narrow. We know we said the best “non-hike,” but don’t count this out, hiking lovers! You can opt out of the drive up and take the well-marked, 6.5-mile round-trip trail to the top. Whether you hike or drive, the summit views are well worth the trip, especially as the sun sets.
LULA LAKE LAND TRUST
Lula Lake Land Trust is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the natural beauty of Lookout Mountain. The main attraction is the Lula Lake waterfall, a stunning 120-foot cascade that will awe you. Not only are the views stunning but rest assured, your visit will benefit the nonprofit’s commitment to education and community outreach — now that’s stunning. They offer a variety of programs and events throughout the year, including guided hikes, birdwatching tours and conservation and sustainability workshops. While we love a day spent exploring nature, we also love conserving it! A few things to note before your visit: Lula Lake is only open to the general public on the first and last weekends of each month during Open Gate Days. Reservations are required to visit, and there is a $16 Conservation Use Fee per reservation. 100% of proceeds go toward preserving Lula Lake.
For more information, check out lulalake.org/visit
SWEETWATER CREEK STATE PARK
Swap the hustle and bustle of Atlanta for the serene, calming nature of Sweetwater Creek State Park, located just west of Atlanta in Lithia Springs, Georgia. Hike a trail, view the rapids, rent a kayak or fishing boat for the afternoon, visit an award-winning visitor center and see the ruins of a textile mill destroyed during the Civil War at Sweetwater Creek State Park. The impressive mill is recognizable from the film Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, so if you are a film lover or Hunger Games fan, this park is for you! There is something special about how the sun sets over a beautiful body of water, so we encourage you to stay for sunset.
BLACK ROCK STATE PARK
Nestled in the North Georgia Mountains, Black Rock Mountain State Park is near Clayton. While Brasstown Bald is the highest point in Georgia, Black Rock Mountain is the state park with the highest elevation, showcasing outstanding views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With excellent swimming spots, hiking and scenic views, Black Rock will surely please. We highly recommend a sunset summit for this one. Take it from us—a sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains can’t be beat.