America’s first national military park, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, was created in 1890 near Fort Oglethorpe in North Georgia to commemorate the Civil War battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga. The 5,500 acre Chickamauga Battlefield is the site of the last major Confederate victory of the Civil War and the park contains many monuments, historical tablets, wayside exhibits and trails. Visitors can drive along a 7 mile road to observe major points of interest and stop at the Visitor Center to see the Claud E. and Zenada O. Fuller Collection of American Military Shoulder Arms.
Cloudland Canyon State Park is located about 10 miles south of Chickamauga Battlefield. Cloudland Canyon State Park is one of Georgia’s most scenic state parks because it straddles a deep gorge cut into Lookout Mountain by Sitton Gulch Creek where elevations change rapidly from 1,980 ft. to 800 ft. The 3,485 acre park contains 30 walk-in campsites, 73 tent, trailer and RV campsites, 11 back country campsites and 16 rental cottages. Cloudland Canyon State Park also offers a wide variety of recreational activities such as swimming, camping, hiking, tennis, disc golf and picnicking.
During the 1800’s, Tallulah Gorge was North Georgia’s first tourist attraction yet the 2,689 acre Tallulah Gorge State Park was not created until 1993. The Tallulah River flows through Tallulah Gorge, which is more than 2 miles long and 1,000 ft. deep, and there are six waterfalls located at the lower end of the Gorge. Tallulah Gorge State Park also contains an 80 ft. high suspension bridge with spectacular views of Tallulah Gorge, the 63 acre Tallulah Lake, the Terrora Campground, and the 15,000 sq. ft. Jane Hurt Yarn Interpretive Center featuring many interesting exhibits about the history of Tallulah Gorge and the region’s natural ecology.
North Georgia’s most popular state parks
Unicoi State Park is one of the most popular parks in North Georgia because of its close proximity to the City of Helen, a tourist destination also known as the Alpine Village of Helen. Helen is renowned throughout the South for its Bavarian mountain chalet style architecture, its picturesque cobblestone streets and its annual 6 week Oktoberfest celebration, which is one of Georgia’s biggest public parties. Unicoi State Park contains 1,050 acres of protected land, the 53 acre Unicoi Lake, camping facilities, and a 100 room Lodge & Conference Center with meeting facilities for groups of up to 500 people. Two hiking trails beginning at the Unicoi State Park Visitor Center are the only ways to reach the famous twin waterfalls at Anna Ruby Falls. Anna Ruby Falls and the Anna Ruby Falls Scenic Area are part of the federally protected Chattahoochee National Forest.
Vogel State Park is located 11 miles south of the City of Blairsville at the base of Blood Mountain in the Chattahoochee National Forest about halfway between Blairsville and the City of Helen on U.S. Highway 19/129. At 2,500 ft. above sea level, Vogel State Park is situated at one of the highest altitudes found in any Georgia state park and it is also one of Georgia’s most popular state parks. At the center of Vogel State Park is the 22 acre Lake Trahlyta. Vogel State Park contains many streams, a waterfall, campsites, cabins, a general store, a miniature golf course and the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum.
Amicalola Falls State Park near Dahlonega contains the tallest cascading waterfall in America east of the Mississippi River, Amicalola Falls. The park has camping facilities, 14 fully equipped cottages and a huge 4-story, 56-room Lodge & Conference Center that can accommodate groups of up to 250 people. Amicalola Falls State Park also contains 12 miles of hiking trails through some of the most beautiful scenery in North Georgia. The Amicalola Falls Trail leads to an observation bridge at the top of Amicalola Falls. Leaving from behind the falls, the Southern Terminus Access Trail leads to the beginning of the Appalachian Trail.