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Best Hikes in Georgia

Georgia is a hiker’s paradise with diverse opportunities for everyone from the newbie to the veteran hiker.

Editor’s Note: Remember that outdoor recreation has inherent risks; don’t attempt activities beyond your experience and skill level. Remain mindful of the summer heat and humidity; always stay hydrated on your hikes. Follow local guidelines, and check access to local, state and national parks before you visit. For some of these trails, you’ll need a pass from the U.S. Forest Service. Go to the USFS website for more information. 


Hiking enthusiasts may know Georgia as the southernmost point along the Appalachian Trail (AT), the ultimate bucket list hike for hardcore hikers. But not all roads lead there. Luckily, Georgia’s great outdoors stretch beyond the AT and even the North Georgia Mountains. From hiking through salt marshes and mansion ruins on Georgia’s coast to brightly-colored canyons to suspension bridges over river gorges, there is a beloved hike for all terrain preferences and every experience level.

1. Anna Ruby Falls Trail

3455 Anna Ruby Falls Rd, Helen
(706) 878-1448
  • Location: Anna Ruby Falls Scenic Area, 14.8 miles north of Cleveland, GA 
  • Length: 1-mile out-and-back 
  • Difficulty Rating: Easy 
  • Best For: Hikes with groups of all ages 
  • Dogs: Allowed on-leash 

The Anna Ruby Falls Trail is a wonderful introductory hike to all that Georgia hiking has to offer. The paved path is wheelchair accessible and stroller friendly. The hike to the falls is mostly uphill, but benches are offered along the way for those who may need to relax before continuing the journey. The short trail gives hikers a big reward with not one, but two beautiful waterfalls easily viewed on platforms that have additional benches at the end of the trail. After viewing the waterfalls, hikers retrace their steps by walking the trail that follows Smith Creek. Expect to hike along with many other outdoor enthusiasts on this popular Georgia trail.

2. Hurricane Falls Trail

338 Jane Hurt Yarn Dr, Tallulah Falls
(706) 754-7981
  • Location: Tallulah Falls, GA 
  • Length: 2-mile loop 
  • Difficulty Rating: Hard 
  • Best For: Varied views 
  • Dogs: Not Allowed 

The Hurricane Falls Trail in Tallulah Gorge State Park gives hikers a little bit of everything – from scenic views peering into the 1,000-foot gorge to spectacular waterfall views and even a swaying suspension bridge. The hike is a strenuous one, with more than 1,000 stairs, but there are plenty of platforms to use to rest before continuing the journey. Hikers can walk along the bottom of the gorge but must get a free permit at the Interpretive Center on the day of their visit before doing so.

3. Appalachian Approach Trail

418 Amicalola Falls State Park Rd, Dawsonville
(706) 265-8888
  • Location: Dawsonville, GA 
  • Length: 3.3 miles 
  • Difficulty Rating: Hard 
  • Best For: Waterfall lovers 
  • Dogs: Allowed on-leash 

The trails leading to Amicalola Falls are the ones all other waterfall trails are compared to by Georgia hiking enthusiasts. That’s because the beautiful, cascading Amicalola Falls happen to be the third tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi River. There are a few trails that take hikers to the falls, including the West Ridge Falls trail that is wheelchair accessible. The Appalachian Approach Trail is unforgettable due to the 600 steps it takes to go up the mountain and reach the stunning waterfall views hikers receive for their perseverance. Those seeking an extra adventure can continue the trail for 8.5 miles, which will lead them out of Amicalola Falls State Park and onto Springer Mountain, the starting point of the Appalachian Trail thru-hike.

4. Canyon Loop Trail

8930 Canyon Rd, Lumpkin
(229) 838-6202
  • Location: Providence Canyon State Park, 8 miles west of Lumpkin, GA 
  • Length: 2.4-mile loop 
  • Difficulty Rating: Moderate 
  • Best For: A desert-like canyon experience 
  • Dogs: Allowed on-leash 

Hike around what’s called “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon,” and enjoy the views of the colorful red, pink and orange canyon walls. The loop trail takes hikers down to the base of the canyon for a truly unique hike.  

Hikers who visit in the fall are treated to the maple and oak trees’ beautiful leaf colors in addition to the vivid colors found in the soil. The gorges in this Georgia State Park were not naturally formed. Cotton farmers in the 1800s ripped out native vegetation in the sandy soil of this coastal plain terrain and used exploitative farming techniques. That led to severe erosion, causing the 150-foot-deep, 300-foot-wide canyons. Since the soil is fragile, the trail at the bottom of the canyon can get muddy but gazing at the canyon walls can be educational in learning about all the different soil layers.

5. Indian Seats Loop Trail

2500 Bettis Tribble Gap Rd, Cumming
(770) 781-2215
  • Location: Cumming, GA in the Sawnee Mountain Preserve 
  • Length: 3.5-mile loop 
  • Difficulty Rating: Moderate 
  • Best For: Panoramic mountain views  
  • Dogs: Not allowed 

Hikers looking for some of the best views in North Georgia, particularly at sunset, should consider the Indian Seats Loop trail in the Sawnee Mountain Preserve. The summit takes hikers up Sawnee Mountain, named after Chief Sawnee of the Cherokee Nation before their people were forcibly removed in the 1830s. The trail varies between bright red Georgia clay and muted rocky terrain before revealing beautiful views of the Blue Ridge mountains at the summit. The best place to check out the view is sitting on top of the naturally-forming rock, which has weathered away into a giant rock seat. Hikers can see the gated entrances to two abandoned gold mines, remnants of Georgia’s gold rush in the early 1800s. For a little bit of whimsy, walk through the section called the fairy trail, full of tiny homes (decorated bird houses), strewn along the trail perimeter.

6. Cloudland Canyon State Park Overlook Trail

122 Cloudland Canyon Park Rd, Rising Fawn
(706) 657-4050
  • Location: Cloudland Canyon State Park, 41 miles west from Dalton, GA
  • Length: 1-mile out and back 
  • Difficulty Rating: Easy 
  • Best For: Hikers of all levels who love beautiful high terrain views 
  • Dogs: Allowed on-leash 

This hike wedged in the northwest corner of the state is worth the drive from I-75 near its borders with Alabama and Tennessee. The flat overlook trail is an easy walk along the rim of Cloudland Canyon with stunning views along the way. Sitton Gulch Creek carved the mountain rock for millennia, creating the thousand-foot-deep gorge and creating awesome canyon views on the western edge of Lookout Mountain. The park’s trails are a choose-your-own adventure with more strenuous routes to the canyon floor in order to venture closer to waterfalls and hemlock trees in their southernmost location. Pack a lunch to eat at the picnic area to enjoy some of the best views the park has to offer.

7. Appalachian Trail and Byron Reece Trail to Blood Mountain

Byron Reece Memorial Trail, Blairsville
(706) 745-6928
  • Location: near Blairsville, GA 
  • Length: 4.5-mile out-and-back 
  • Difficulty Rating: Hard 
  • Best For: Experienced hikers  
  • Dogs: Allowed on-leash 

This strenuous hike offers some of the greatest panoramic mountain views, particularly at the summit of Blood Mountain. The rocky hike with a steep-elevation climb leads to Georgia’s highest peak (4,442 feet) on the Appalachian Trail, but hikers get to enjoy the beauty of the Chattahoochee National Forest all along the way. This is one of north Georgia’s most popular day hikes, particularly in the fall when hikers are surrounded by foliage views bursting with color.

8. Mount Yonah Trail

1054 Albert Reid Rd, Cleveland
(770) 297-3000
  • Location: near Cleveland, GA 
  • Length: 4.5-mile out-and-back 
  • Difficulty Rating: Hard 
  • Best For: Experienced hikers who love a challenge 
  • Dogs: Off leash allowed in some areas 

This mountainous trail is as popular as it is difficult. It’s so challenging, the Army marches soldiers up Mount Yonah as part of its mountain training to become Rangers! This rocky hike has steep inclines, particularly on the last part of the trail, and some areas that put hikers at risk for deadly falls. Thus, caution and preparation are highly recommended. Discerning hikers eventually get breathtaking views of North Georgia at the top

9. Dungeness Southend Loop Trail

Dungeness Ruins, St. Marys
(912) 882-4336
  • Location: St. Marys, GA 
  • Length: 4.3-mile loop 
  • Difficulty Rating: Easy 
  • Best For: Beach lovers 
  • Dogs: Allowed on-leash

The adventure starts before you get to the trail because getting to this hike requires taking a ferry off the coast of Georgia to Cumberland Island. Once there, hikers begin following the trail on the beach before heading inland toward the Dungeness ruins, a mansion that burned down in the 1950s. Hikers continue to the other side of the island where they’ll use a boardwalk to cross a salt marsh. Many hikers are lucky enough to see wild horses somewhere along this flat trail.

10. Pine Mountain Trail

Pine Mountain, Cartersville
(770) 387-5625
  • Location: F.D. Roosevelt State Park, 6.5 miles west of Manchester, GA 
  • Length: 23.3-mile point to point 
  • Difficulty Rating: Intermediate 
  • Best For: A scenic backpacking trip 
  • Dogs: Allowed on-leash

If you’re looking for a worthy backpacking excursion, head to the 23-plus-mile Pine Mountain Trail that winds through Georgia’s largest state park, F.D. Roosevelt State Park. You’ll enjoy scenic forests, melodic streams and have the chance to spot wildlife like deer and turkey. Plus, 16 backcountry campsites are along the route, so you’ll have your pick of places to pitch your tent. Looking for a day hike instead? Bite off a smaller chunk by combining part of the route with other paths in the area such as the White Candle Loop or the Sawtooth Trail.

11. Raven Cliffs Trailhead

3000 Richard B. Russell Scenic Hwy, Helen, GA
(706) 754-6221
  • Location: Helen, GA 
  • Length: 4-mile out-and-back 
  • Difficulty Rating: Moderate 
  • Best For: Water lovers 
  • Dogs: Allowed on-leash 

Raven Cliffs Trailhead is a serene hike through the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. Dodd Creek meanders alongside this wilderness trail, granting hikers with a few waterfall sightings along the way. The trail can get a bit muddy, but many hikers agree that the grittiness is part of the appeal. The end of the trail leads to the 40-foot-tall Raven Cliffs Falls, a modest waterfall that is a joy to watch as it squeezes its way through two huge granite boulders.

12. Panther Creek Falls

4061 Old Historic U.S. 441, Clarkesville
(706) 754-6221
  • Location: Chattahoochee National Forest, 9.7-miles northeast of Clarkesville, GA 
  • Length: 6.7-mile out-and-back 
  • Difficulty Rating: Hard 
  • Best For: Adventurous hikers looking for a challenge 
  • Dogs: Allowed on-leash

Another Georgia favorite, Panther Creek Falls is geared toward hikers looking for a bit more adventure. The trail winds around moss-covered boulders beneath a hardwood canopy that provides shade in the summer and a colorful ceiling come autumn. The terrain gets more difficult as you go, but the roots, rocks, creek crossings and steep, exposed drop-offs are all part of the fun. Make sure you bring your bathing suit. Once you’ve scrambled and sweated your way to the pool at the base of Panther Creek Falls, you’ll definitely want to take a dip. 

Are you a new hiker excited to learn or someone more experienced looking to connect with fellow hikers? Check out our local hiking events and go on an adventure with REI.

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1. Anna Ruby Falls Trail

3455 Anna Ruby Falls Rd, Helen
(706) 878-1448
  • Location: Anna Ruby Falls Scenic Area, 14.8 miles north of Cleveland, GA 
  • Length: 1-mile out-and-back 
  • Difficulty Rating: Easy 
  • Best For: Hikes with groups of all ages 
  • Dogs: Allowed on-leash 

The Anna Ruby Falls Trail is a wonderful introductory hike to all that Georgia hiking has to offer. The paved path is wheelchair accessible and stroller friendly. The hike to the falls is mostly uphill, but benches are offered along the way for those who may need to relax before continuing the journey. The short trail gives hikers a big reward with not one, but two beautiful waterfalls easily viewed on platforms that have additional benches at the end of the trail. After viewing the waterfalls, hikers retrace their steps by walking the trail that follows Smith Creek. Expect to hike along with many other outdoor enthusiasts on this popular Georgia trail.

2. Hurricane Falls Trail

338 Jane Hurt Yarn Dr, Tallulah Falls
(706) 754-7981
  • Location: Tallulah Falls, GA 
  • Length: 2-mile loop 
  • Difficulty Rating: Hard 
  • Best For: Varied views 
  • Dogs: Not Allowed 

The Hurricane Falls Trail in Tallulah Gorge State Park gives hikers a little bit of everything – from scenic views peering into the 1,000-foot gorge to spectacular waterfall views and even a swaying suspension bridge. The hike is a strenuous one, with more than 1,000 stairs, but there are plenty of platforms to use to rest before continuing the journey. Hikers can walk along the bottom of the gorge but must get a free permit at the Interpretive Center on the day of their visit before doing so.

3. Appalachian Approach Trail

418 Amicalola Falls State Park Rd, Dawsonville
(706) 265-8888
  • Location: Dawsonville, GA 
  • Length: 3.3 miles 
  • Difficulty Rating: Hard 
  • Best For: Waterfall lovers 
  • Dogs: Allowed on-leash 

The trails leading to Amicalola Falls are the ones all other waterfall trails are compared to by Georgia hiking enthusiasts. That’s because the beautiful, cascading Amicalola Falls happen to be the third tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi River. There are a few trails that take hikers to the falls, including the West Ridge Falls trail that is wheelchair accessible. The Appalachian Approach Trail is unforgettable due to the 600 steps it takes to go up the mountain and reach the stunning waterfall views hikers receive for their perseverance. Those seeking an extra adventure can continue the trail for 8.5 miles, which will lead them out of Amicalola Falls State Park and onto Springer Mountain, the starting point of the Appalachian Trail thru-hike.

4. Canyon Loop Trail

8930 Canyon Rd, Lumpkin
(229) 838-6202
  • Location: Providence Canyon State Park, 8 miles west of Lumpkin, GA 
  • Length: 2.4-mile loop 
  • Difficulty Rating: Moderate 
  • Best For: A desert-like canyon experience 
  • Dogs: Allowed on-leash 

Hike around what’s called “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon,” and enjoy the views of the colorful red, pink and orange canyon walls. The loop trail takes hikers down to the base of the canyon for a truly unique hike.  

Hikers who visit in the fall are treated to the maple and oak trees’ beautiful leaf colors in addition to the vivid colors found in the soil. The gorges in this Georgia State Park were not naturally formed. Cotton farmers in the 1800s ripped out native vegetation in the sandy soil of this coastal plain terrain and used exploitative farming techniques. That led to severe erosion, causing the 150-foot-deep, 300-foot-wide canyons. Since the soil is fragile, the trail at the bottom of the canyon can get muddy but gazing at the canyon walls can be educational in learning about all the different soil layers.

5. Indian Seats Loop Trail

2500 Bettis Tribble Gap Rd, Cumming
(770) 781-2215
  • Location: Cumming, GA in the Sawnee Mountain Preserve 
  • Length: 3.5-mile loop 
  • Difficulty Rating: Moderate 
  • Best For: Panoramic mountain views  
  • Dogs: Not allowed 

Hikers looking for some of the best views in North Georgia, particularly at sunset, should consider the Indian Seats Loop trail in the Sawnee Mountain Preserve. The summit takes hikers up Sawnee Mountain, named after Chief Sawnee of the Cherokee Nation before their people were forcibly removed in the 1830s. The trail varies between bright red Georgia clay and muted rocky terrain before revealing beautiful views of the Blue Ridge mountains at the summit. The best place to check out the view is sitting on top of the naturally-forming rock, which has weathered away into a giant rock seat. Hikers can see the gated entrances to two abandoned gold mines, remnants of Georgia’s gold rush in the early 1800s. For a little bit of whimsy, walk through the section called the fairy trail, full of tiny homes (decorated bird houses), strewn along the trail perimeter.

6. Cloudland Canyon State Park Overlook Trail

122 Cloudland Canyon Park Rd, Rising Fawn
(706) 657-4050
  • Location: Cloudland Canyon State Park, 41 miles west from Dalton, GA
  • Length: 1-mile out and back 
  • Difficulty Rating: Easy 
  • Best For: Hikers of all levels who love beautiful high terrain views 
  • Dogs: Allowed on-leash 

This hike wedged in the northwest corner of the state is worth the drive from I-75 near its borders with Alabama and Tennessee. The flat overlook trail is an easy walk along the rim of Cloudland Canyon with stunning views along the way. Sitton Gulch Creek carved the mountain rock for millennia, creating the thousand-foot-deep gorge and creating awesome canyon views on the western edge of Lookout Mountain. The park’s trails are a choose-your-own adventure with more strenuous routes to the canyon floor in order to venture closer to waterfalls and hemlock trees in their southernmost location. Pack a lunch to eat at the picnic area to enjoy some of the best views the park has to offer.

7. Appalachian Trail and Byron Reece Trail to Blood Mountain

Byron Reece Memorial Trail, Blairsville
(706) 745-6928
  • Location: near Blairsville, GA 
  • Length: 4.5-mile out-and-back 
  • Difficulty Rating: Hard 
  • Best For: Experienced hikers  
  • Dogs: Allowed on-leash 

This strenuous hike offers some of the greatest panoramic mountain views, particularly at the summit of Blood Mountain. The rocky hike with a steep-elevation climb leads to Georgia’s highest peak (4,442 feet) on the Appalachian Trail, but hikers get to enjoy the beauty of the Chattahoochee National Forest all along the way. This is one of north Georgia’s most popular day hikes, particularly in the fall when hikers are surrounded by foliage views bursting with color.

8. Mount Yonah Trail

1054 Albert Reid Rd, Cleveland
(770) 297-3000
  • Location: near Cleveland, GA 
  • Length: 4.5-mile out-and-back 
  • Difficulty Rating: Hard 
  • Best For: Experienced hikers who love a challenge 
  • Dogs: Off leash allowed in some areas 

This mountainous trail is as popular as it is difficult. It’s so challenging, the Army marches soldiers up Mount Yonah as part of its mountain training to become Rangers! This rocky hike has steep inclines, particularly on the last part of the trail, and some areas that put hikers at risk for deadly falls. Thus, caution and preparation are highly recommended. Discerning hikers eventually get breathtaking views of North Georgia at the top

9. Dungeness Southend Loop Trail

Dungeness Ruins, St. Marys
(912) 882-4336
  • Location: St. Marys, GA 
  • Length: 4.3-mile loop 
  • Difficulty Rating: Easy 
  • Best For: Beach lovers 
  • Dogs: Allowed on-leash

The adventure starts before you get to the trail because getting to this hike requires taking a ferry off the coast of Georgia to Cumberland Island. Once there, hikers begin following the trail on the beach before heading inland toward the Dungeness ruins, a mansion that burned down in the 1950s. Hikers continue to the other side of the island where they’ll use a boardwalk to cross a salt marsh. Many hikers are lucky enough to see wild horses somewhere along this flat trail.

10. Pine Mountain Trail

Pine Mountain, Cartersville
(770) 387-5625
  • Location: F.D. Roosevelt State Park, 6.5 miles west of Manchester, GA 
  • Length: 23.3-mile point to point 
  • Difficulty Rating: Intermediate 
  • Best For: A scenic backpacking trip 
  • Dogs: Allowed on-leash

If you’re looking for a worthy backpacking excursion, head to the 23-plus-mile Pine Mountain Trail that winds through Georgia’s largest state park, F.D. Roosevelt State Park. You’ll enjoy scenic forests, melodic streams and have the chance to spot wildlife like deer and turkey. Plus, 16 backcountry campsites are along the route, so you’ll have your pick of places to pitch your tent. Looking for a day hike instead? Bite off a smaller chunk by combining part of the route with other paths in the area such as the White Candle Loop or the Sawtooth Trail.

11. Raven Cliffs Trailhead

3000 Richard B. Russell Scenic Hwy, Helen, GA
(706) 754-6221
  • Location: Helen, GA 
  • Length: 4-mile out-and-back 
  • Difficulty Rating: Moderate 
  • Best For: Water lovers 
  • Dogs: Allowed on-leash 

Raven Cliffs Trailhead is a serene hike through the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. Dodd Creek meanders alongside this wilderness trail, granting hikers with a few waterfall sightings along the way. The trail can get a bit muddy, but many hikers agree that the grittiness is part of the appeal. The end of the trail leads to the 40-foot-tall Raven Cliffs Falls, a modest waterfall that is a joy to watch as it squeezes its way through two huge granite boulders.

12. Panther Creek Falls

4061 Old Historic U.S. 441, Clarkesville
(706) 754-6221
  • Location: Chattahoochee National Forest, 9.7-miles northeast of Clarkesville, GA 
  • Length: 6.7-mile out-and-back 
  • Difficulty Rating: Hard 
  • Best For: Adventurous hikers looking for a challenge 
  • Dogs: Allowed on-leash

Another Georgia favorite, Panther Creek Falls is geared toward hikers looking for a bit more adventure. The trail winds around moss-covered boulders beneath a hardwood canopy that provides shade in the summer and a colorful ceiling come autumn. The terrain gets more difficult as you go, but the roots, rocks, creek crossings and steep, exposed drop-offs are all part of the fun. Make sure you bring your bathing suit. Once you’ve scrambled and sweated your way to the pool at the base of Panther Creek Falls, you’ll definitely want to take a dip. 

Are you a new hiker excited to learn or someone more experienced looking to connect with fellow hikers? Check out our local hiking events and go on an adventure with REI.

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