The Georgia mountains are so naturally beautiful, that it is hard to resist the urge to go outside on a nice day. Fortunately, there are some amazing hikes and trails that highlight the best of the area!
The most famous trails in Georgia are the Appalachian Trail and the Benton MacKaye Trail, which draw thousands of hikers each year. While there are a small handful of hikers who complete the 2000+ miles of the Appalachian Trail each year, most hikers choose to hike a much smaller section.
In addition to these well-known challenging trails, there are many other great places to find easy hikes in the Georgia mountains! Choose your challenge level and set out to explore the quiet paths and clean air of these beautiful mountains.
Hiking Options and Trails in the Georgia Mountains
To get the most out of your adventures, you’ll want to do some advance planning and select the right trail for your party. This is a small collection of local favorites, but you can also take advantage of other books, maps, websites, and other resources available to find a great hiking trail.
North Georgia Hiking Trails
Located in Amicalola Falls State Park, this park has the tallest cascading waterfall East of the Mississippi River. There are 10 trails emanating from the park, including the 8.5-mile Approach Trail that runs from the park to Springer Mountain (the southern terminus of the famous Appalachian Trail).
In addition to the trails, waterfalls, and natural beauty, there is a lodge, restaurant, and options for unique adventures like axe throwing, ziplining, archery, scavenger hunts, animal meet-and-greets, and wilderness survival sessions!
Amicalola Falls State Park hours are 7:00 am to 10:00 pm. All cars require a $5 GA State Park Pass.
At 2,192 total miles, The Appalachian Trail (the AT) is the ultimate challenge for serious hikers on the East Coast. However, hiking smaller sections of the AT can also be an enjoyable way to take a quick day hike. The trail receives 3 million visitors each year, but only a small handful of these visitors attempt to travel the entire length through 14 states.
Although the trail starts in Georgia, only 79 miles of the AT run through the state, with parts that range from easy to challenging (rating 2 – 7) and elevation changes from 2,510′ – 4,461′. Almost half of the AT in Georgia passes through federally designated wilderness areas.
The Appalachian Trail starts at Springer Mountain, which is an 8.5 mile hike from the drop-off point at Amicalola Falls.
The multi-state Bartram Trail that follows William Bartram’s 18th-century route through 8 southern colonies has just over 30 miles of trails in Northeast Georgia. Explore the gentler Warwoman Dell Nature Trail (0.4 miles) or try the more challenging Rabun Bald Trail (3 miles) for rewarding 360° views from Georgia’s second highest peak!
Learn more about the history and current status of the trail from the Bartram Trail Conference.
Benton MacKaye Trail
Named for the man who originally conceived and fought for the concept of the Appalachian Trail, the Benton MacKaye Trail is also a favorite trail in the Georgia mountains. There are numerous access points and trailheads along the BMT, which create many options for one-way and loop hikes. One of the more popular sights is the Toccoa River Swinging Bridge, a 270-foot hiker’s bridge over the Toccoa River where the Benton MacKaye Trail meets the Duncan Ridge National Recreation Trail.
Click to view a map / guide of the BMT landmarks and see how the AT and BMT intersect.
Visit the tallest mountain in Georgia and take in 360° views from the top of Brasstown Bald (elevation 4,784′). The Brasstown Bald Summit Trail connects the parking area to the Visitor Center / Viewing Platform, and is a short, but very steep, 0.6 mile paved foot trail. There is a shuttle service provided for those who require an alternative to walking the trail.
Adult entrance fees are $5.00 and kids under 16 are free. Entrance fees include shuttle service.
Tallulah Gorge is one of the most spectacular gorges in the southeast, and runs 3 miles long and 1,000 feet deep! Tallulah Gorge’s breathtaking views make this a favorite stopping point along Highway 441. A suspension bridge sways 80 feet above the rocky bottom, providing amazing views of the Tallulah River and waterfalls. The park offers camping, lake/beach swimming, trails, and an interpretive center with exhibits and film. The hiking trails in Tallulah Gorge State Park are rated from easy to very difficult.
Wine Hikes at Montaluce Vineyard & Winery
Combine 2 of the best activities in the Georgia mountains by going on a hike through a beautiful Georgia mountain vineyard!
Wine hikes are available every Saturday and Sunday morning at Montaluce near Dahlonega. You’ll have a trained guide for the 1.8 mile hike on nature trails along the headwaters of the Etowah River and through the vineyard. After the hike, you’ll retreat to Montaluce’s beautiful patio overlooking the vineyard to enjoy a tasting of five Montaluce wines. Reservations can be made online ($45 per person) for this unique experience.
Hiking Resources for the Georgia Mountains
To get the most out of your adventures, you’ll want to do some advance planning and have the right equipment for your trek. These are some gear favorites that should help get you started with your hike planning.
Find detailed information about the area’s best hikes in these highly rated books.
Maps are essential tools to both plan your hike and to stay on course when you are on the trail. These tear-proof and waterproof topographic maps will hold up to years of use and can be used in inclement weather. These are best used to get a general idea of the overall area — they cover a large area so there may be better / more details options for individual trails.
Hiking Gear for Georgia (and Beyond!)
The specific gear you’ll need for any hike will depend on the time of year, environment, weather conditions, and length of your hike. Be certain to check with park rangers about specific things to stay alert for on your trail (including any animal / wildlife cautions in the area).
Make sure to set out with a comfortable backpack that fits comfortably and will hold your water, food, and gear and keep your things dry in case of poor weather.
Practice using your compass before you go on a long hike. You’ll want to have this skill handy long before it’s needed.
A GPS unit that is made specifically for hiking has higher sensitivity and should have better reception / performance under tree cover or in deep canyons.
Make sure that your shoes / boots are comfortably broken in before you set out on a long hike. Comfortable sneakers can be much better for a hike than boots that are not properly broken in.
What are your other essential items to have on a great hike?
Remember to always let someone know where you are going, and be prepared for the hike by choosing your gear, routes, and hiking partners carefully in order to have the best experience possible.