Fall is one of the best times to visit Georgia due to the crisp temperatures and the gorgeous changing of the leaves throughout the state. If you’re looking to make the most of this season, keep reading for the 15 most beautiful places to experience fall in Georgia.
Discover the most popular state parks for leaf watching, like Amicalola Falls, Fort Mountain, and Cloudland Canyon. Additionally, we’ll also cover hidden gems for fall colors in Georgia, like Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground.
Note that peak fall foliage in Georgia typically occurs towards the end of October or early November. However, if you’d like to keep track of the leaves changing in the state, you’ll want to check out Georgia Leaf Watch. This website is affiliated with Georgia State Parks and is updated each year with photos, tips, and predictions for the Georgia fall leaves schedule.
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission when you purchase a product or book a stay through these links at no extra cost to you.
1. Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge
Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge, located in the North Georgia mountains, is home to the tallest waterfall in the state. It’s also a popular state park to see fall colors near Atlanta (less than a two-hour drive), with various hiking trails.
For example, many visitors choose to hike the East Ridge Trail, which leads you to the top of the falls and then back down. For a more strenuous hike, don’t miss the Approach Trail from Amicalola Falls to Springer Mountain, where the Appalachian Trail officially begins.
One of this park’s hidden gems is the Hike Inn Trail, which takes you to Georgia’s only backcountry inn: The Len Foote Hike Inn. Remember that reservations are required to hike this particular trail. Additionally, the inn is often booked out weeks in advance.
Amicalola Falls charges a $5 Georgia State Park Pass. However, you can save money by purchasing a $50 Annual Park Pass at the Lodge or Visitor’s Center if you plan to visit often.
2. Tallulah Gorge State Park
Tallulah Gorge State Park in Tallulah Falls has several rim trails that you can hike, featuring different outlooks and waterfalls. Therefore, this State Park is one of the best places to see fall foliage in Georgia.
During this season, the most beautiful fall colors can be found around the suspension bridge, which sways 80 feet over the water below. From here, you’ll have a spectacular view of the Tallulah River and upper Hurricane Falls.
Some of the most popular trails at Tallulah Gorge include the North and South Rim Trails, Hurricane Falls Loop Trail, Shortline Trail, and the Gorge Floor Trail. However, it’s important to remember that you need a permit to hike down to the Gorge Floor. These permits are limited to 100 per day and can be obtained at the Jane Hurt Yarn Interpretive Center on the day of your visit.
3. Black Rock Mountain State Park
Black Rock Mountain State Park in Rabun County sits along the Eastern Continental Divide at 3,640 feet (1,110 m). Moreover, it includes four other peaks over 3,000 feet tall (910 m), making it Georgia’s highest state park. Therefore, this park is an ideal spot to see beautiful autumn scenery.
Make sure to stop at the Summit Visitor Center and the roadside overlooks to take photos of the incredible views of the Blue Ridge Mountains! Regarding hiking trails, the top three at Black Rock Mountain are the Tennessee Rock Trail, the James E. Edmonds Backcountry Trail, and the Black Rock Lake Trail.
4. Cloudland Canyon State Park
Cloudland Canyon State Park sits on the western edge of Lookout Mountain in Rising Fawn, GA. This park features unique and rugged geology, including a deep gorge created by Sitton Gulch Creek and two waterfalls. If you’re looking for one of the best fall hikes in Georgia (and easy, too!), check out Overlook Trail.
You can find some of the best views of Cloudland Canyon at the Main Overlook! Don’t miss the West Rim Loop Trail, the Waterfalls Trail, and Sitton’s Gulch Trail for other more strenuous trails.
5. Fort Mountain State Park
You can find Fort Mountain State Park in North Georgia, nestled between Chatsworth and Ellijay. Hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders all enjoy visiting the 25+ miles of trails within the park, no matter the time of year.
However, there’s something special about Georgia in the fall, when you can take in the stunning foliage from Fort Mountain’s various overlooks. We recommend the Stone Wall, Stone Tower, and West Overlook Trails Loop, an easy 1.5-mile hiking trail, for epic views of the pretty leaves. You can read more about Fort Mountain State Park’s trails here.
6. Blue Ridge, Georgia
Blue Ridge is one of the best places to experience fall in North Georgia. You’ll be close to some of the state’s top hiking trails, waterfalls, fishing areas, and more! Thanks to its central location, Blue Ridge is an ideal stop along any Georgia fall road trip.
Overall, the two most popular activities in this mountain town in the fall are visiting Mercier Orchards and taking a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. At Mercier Orchards, you can pick apples, picnic, purchase fresh-baked pastries, and even visit the winery.
On the other hand, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is a train journey through the North Georgia countryside, offering views of some of the most stunning fall colors in the state. If you’d like to plan your trip during peak fall foliage, we recommend purchasing Blue Ridge Scenic Railway tickets well in advance.
7. Brasstown Bald
If you’re planning a Georgia fall foliage road trip, you have to add Brasstown Bald to your itinerary. This mountain marks the highest point in Georgia, reaching 4,784 feet above sea level. Its summit offers unparalleled 360-degree views of the Chattahoochee National Forest, providing an ideal perspective of the fall colors!
If you happen to visit on an especially clear day, you can actually see four different states from this vantage point: Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina). We promise that the trek to the summit is 100% worth the trip.
Just make sure you wear solid hiking shoes or boots with good traction. Moreover, we also advise checking the weather to ensure you travel to Brasstown Bald on a clear day. This way, you can see the North Georgia fall colors without the fog obstructing them!
8. Vogel State Park
Vogel State Park is the second oldest state park in Georgia, situated at the base of Blood Mountain in the Chattahoochee National Forest. You’ll notice beautiful fall scenery along windy roads like Wolf Pen Gap Road even before you make it to the park entrance.
Once you’ve entered Vogel, you can spot some of the best Georgia fall foliage surrounding Lake Trahlyta and near the waterfall on the easy Lake Loop Trail. If you’re up for a challenge, hike the Bear Hair Gap Trail, which loops around the lower ridges of Blood Mountain. For an even longer hike, try the Coosa Backcountry Trail, which covers almost 13 miles.
9. Helen, Georgia
Helen is undoubtedly one of the best places to experience autumn in Georgia. Although this mountain town is located along the Chattahoochee River, it’ll make you feel like you’ve been transported to Germany!
In fact, you can even find pop-up celebrations for Oktoberfest in Helen during the fall (Thursdays-Sundays in September and daily from Sept. 29-Oct.30, 2022). While in Helen, some of the best places to spot fall foliage are on hiking trails in the area. For example, don’t miss Raven Cliff Falls Trail, Anna Ruby Falls, and Dukes Creek Trail.
There are also two state parks in Helen where the colors of the season are incredible: Smithgall Woods State Park and Unicoi State Park & Lodge. If you have extra time, you can also find one of the best fall drives in Georgia here: the Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway.
10. Yonah Mountain
Yonah Mountain is situated in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest near both Helen and Cleveland, Georgia. It’s one of the best places to visit in Georgia in fall, thanks to the 4.2-mile Mount Yonah Trail. This hiking trail is definitely challenging due to the steep climb and drop-offs!
With this in mind, remember to be cautious and to keep a safe distance from the edge. However, the stunning view at the top of the North Georgia Mountains makes it 100% worth the trek. Plus, you can always reward yourself after the hike with a wine tasting at the nearby Yonah Mountain Vineyards.
11. Gibbs Gardens
One of the best hidden gems for fall leaves in Georgia is Gibbs Gardens, located in Ball Ground. Jim Gibbs, the estate owner, spent almost 32 years working on preparing the gardens before opening them to the public. Nowadays, the manor house and gardens cover over 300 acres!
Therefore, Gibbs Gardens ranks as one of the most extensive residential estate gardens in the United States. When planning to visit to see the fall colors, make sure to check the Gibbs Gardens “Bloom Update.”
One of the highlights during this season has to be the Japanese Maples Colorfest, which runs from mid-October through mid-November. Are you ready to plan your trip? You can purchase tickets to visit Gibbs Gardens here.
12. Red Top Mountain State Park
Originally an important mining area, this park is named after the reddish color of the soil on the mountain, indicating high iron ore content. Red Top Mountain State Park is one of the most visited parks in Georgia in autumn, thanks to its short distance from Atlanta.
Plus, there are over 15 miles of hiking trails here, where you can see gorgeous fall foliage throughout the forest and surrounding Lake Allatoona. For instance, Iron Hill Trail is an easy 3.4-mile loop perfect for the whole family!
13. Piedmont Park
One of the best places to experience fall in Atlanta is Piedmont Park, located between the Virginia Highland and Midtown neighborhoods. This 187-acre park features bike trails, walking paths, playgrounds, dog parks, and more!
We suggest packing a picnic and scoping out a spot on Oak Hill, where you can enjoy the fall colors in Atlanta. Afterward, take a stroll down Park Drive Bridge and head towards Lake Clara Meer. Remember to bring your camera to snap some photos of the Georgia foliage in Piedmont Park!
14. Sweetwater Creek State Park
Another of the top Atlanta fall activities is going hiking at Sweetwater Creek State Park. This 2,549-acre park sits a short 15 miles from downtown Atlanta, making it an easy day trip. The Red Trail is the most popular hiking option, leading you along the creek’s white-water rapids and past the ruins of a Civil War-era mill.
If you’d prefer a longer hike, take the Yellow or White Trail. No matter which you choose, you’ll see fantastic fall foliage surrounding the creek!
15. F.D. Roosevelt State Park
F.D. Roosevelt State Park sits 80 miles southwest of Atlanta and covers an entire 9,049 acres, making it Georgia’s largest state park. Additionally, it has over 40 miles of hiking trails, including the Pine Mountain Trail, Dowdell’s Knob Trail, and Mountain Creek Trail.
The most beautiful section of the park to visit in the fall is the Wolfden Loop, which takes you past a rocky wolf den and beautiful waterfalls and creeks. Please remember to wear shoes with solid traction, as this trail can get muddy, and some areas may be slippery.
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This article was first published in September 2021 and has since been updated.