One of America’s most famous trails is the Appalachian Trail, which enters North Georgia at Springer Mountain in the Chattahoochee National Forest and exits 79 miles to the north at Bly Gap. The rugged terrain along North Georgia’s portion of the Appalachian Trail reaches a height of more than 4,400 ft. and never dips below 2,500 ft. The 750,000 acre Chattahoochee National Forest contains 454 miles of hiking trails, 138 miles of horse trails, 133 miles of off-road vehicle trails and 75 miles of combined use trails.
North Georgia Mountain trails
On Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s tallest mountain, the Brasstown Bald Trail climbs 500 ft. in ½ mile and along its path are the only locations in Georgia where rhododendrons bloom in June. The Arkaquah Trail follows high ridges on Brasstown Bald to the Track Rock Road Archaeological Area where ancient Cherokee Indian writings can be seen. The Stone Mountain Mountaintop Trail leads to the top of Stone Mountain and the Kennesaw Mountain Trail rises 1,000 ft. in one mile past historic Civil War sites to the top of Kennesaw Mountain.
One of the most dramatic trails in North Georgia, the Smith Creek Trail, begins at Unicoi State Park near the City of Helen in the Blue Ridge Mountains and winds 4.6 miles through dense patches of rhododendron, mountain laurel, hemlock and ferns to the twin waterfalls at Anna Ruby Falls. In Towns County, the High Shoals Trail winds along High Shoals Creek to observation decks above two of five waterfalls that have a total vertical drop of 300 ft. In Dawson County, the Amicalola Falls Trail leads to an observation bridge at the top of the 729 ft. tall Amicalola Falls in Amicalola State Park where people can see the Allatoona Mountains 30 miles away. Amicalola Falls East Ridge Trail, Amicalola Falls West Ridge Trail and Amicalola River Trail are also in Amicalola State Park.
Vogel State Park near Blairsville is one of Georgia’s oldest and most popular state parks and it contains a variety of trails including the 4-mile Bear Hair Gap Loop and the challenging 13-mile Coosa Backcountry Trail. One of the most popular hiking destinations in North Georgia is Carters Lake near Ellijay in the Blue Ridge Mountains where the Oak Ridge Trail, Tumbling Waters Trail, Hidden Pond Songbird Trail and the Carters Lake Nature Trail lead hikers trough some of the most picturesque scenery in North Georgia.
North Georgia’s city park trails
Because hiking is such a popular sport in North Georgia, many cities have hiking trails in their public parks. The City of Lilburn’s Camp Creek Greenway Trail meanders through beautiful parkland with bridges, boardwalks and rest areas where friends and neighbors can stroll with their pets, jog, and ride bicycles. The Clinton Nature Preserve in Douglasville contains 200 acres filled with observation trails and the Pine Mountain Recreation Area in Cartersville contains hiking trails connecting the city to Lake Allatoona. The historic Allatoona Pass Trail begins at Deep Cut where the Battle of Allatoona Pass occurred during the Civil War near Cartersville and then it follows the shoreline along Lake Allatoona. Another 12 miles of hiking trails wind through Red Top Mountain Park in Cartersville including Homestead Trail, Sweetgum Trail, Whitetail Trail, Lakeside Trail, Iron Hill Trail and the Allatoona Pass Civil War Interpretation Trail.