Hiking in Georgia State Parks: our top 10 favorite trails

Hiking in Georgia State Parks: our top 10 favorite trails

Georgia State Parks offer some of the most popular, scenery-packed hiking trails across Georgia's incredibly diverse terrain. Our top ten favorite trails in Georgia’s State Parks.

 

From sandy coastal barrier islands to towering waterfalls, and from waterfall-filled canyons to towering mountain summits with see-forever views, Georgia State Parks offer an incredible options for adventure. Throughout these landscapes, miles and miles of well-marked and well-groomed hiking trails wind through Georgia forest to visit the parks’ most picturesque features.

Trails for beginning hikers, trails for backpackers, dog-friendly trails and kid-friendly trails – Georgia State Parks offer a wide variety of hikes for all ages and abilities. Having hiked hundreds of miles in the parks, it was tough to choose, but we’ve listed our favorites below.

Hike the Amicalola Falls Trail to the tallest waterfall in GeorgiaAbove: hike Amicalola Falls State Park to the tallest waterfall in Georgia


Extend the Adventure

While each of Georgia’s State Parks is unique, many offer an abundance of options for outdoor family fun, including hiking, backpacking, boating and biking and camping, cabins, and yurts for multi-day adventures. After catching some trail time on our favorite hikes, scope out the park’s other outdoor offerings to maximize your adventure during the day. Or extend the adventure: visit gastateparks.org to make accommodations for an outdoor-fun-packed weekend getaway.

While the day-use parking fees at the parks ($5) are well-worth the small fee (five dollars for an all-day adventure can’t be beat!), you’ll grab an even better value with the annual park pass if you plan to visit often. Planning to knock off our top ten favorite hikes in the next year? Grab unlimited, year-round adventure with a $50 Georgia State Parks Annual Pass that allows fee-free parking for a full year.

Hike Providence Canyon in southwestern Georgia, the 'Little Grand Canyon' of the eastAbove: hike Providence Canyon State Park in southwestern Georgia through colorful walls of sculpted sandstone

Share your Adventure

Hitting the trail? We’d love to see your adventure! Share your photos with us by tagging them #getoutsidegeorgia and #atlantatrails on Instagram and Twitter.

 

GEORGIA STATE PARKS: OUR FAVORITE TRAILS

Hike the Cloudland Canyon West Rim Loop Trail to stunning views of this canyon in Northwest Georgia

Cloudland Canyon State Park
West Rim Loop Trail
4.9 miles

The West Rim Loop skirts the towering rim of Cloudland Canyon for breathtaking view after breathtaking view. It’s a great hike in any season, but the West Rim Loop is a stunner in Fall, when the sheer canyon walls are painted in autumn color.
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Hike Sweetwater Creek State Park's Red and Blue Trail Loop to mill ruins, waterfalls and whitewater near Atlanta

Sweetwater Creek State Park
Red & Blue Trail Loop
3.1 miles

This two-trail duo hikes through scenery and history at Sweetwater Creek State Park, visiting the ruins of a Civil-War-era mill (featured in The Hunger Games Mockingjay movie) before trailing downstream to rushing whitewater, waterfalls and scenic overlooks.
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Hike Skidaway State Park near Savannah to gorgeous views of coastal Georgia

Skidaway Island State Park
Big Ferry Trail
2.3 miles

Hike Skidaway Island’s coastal beauty near Savannah, catching sweeping views of coastal Georgia from an observation tower, visiting the remains of a prohibition-era moonshine still and trailing through beautiful moss-draped forest.
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Catch stunning views of Tallulah Gorge: hike the Hurricane Falls Trail over a suspension bridge to rushing waterfalls

Tallulah Gorge State Park
Hurricane Falls Trail
2 miles

The Hurricane Falls Trail catches views from dizzying heights at Tallulah’s 1,000-foot-tall rim before plunging into the canyon, crossing the Tallulah River via suspension bridge, and catching views of rushing waterfalls deep in the gorge’s depths.
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Hike the Cloudland Canyon State Park Waterfalls Trail to two towering waterfalls, Cherokee Falls and Hemlock Falls

Cloudland Canyon State Park
Waterfalls Trail
2.1 miles

Cloudland Canyon scores a second spot in our top ten: the Waterfalls Trail is a difficult, stair-filled drop deep into the canyon. The payoff? Visit two waterfalls that tumble from towering, arced rock to the boulder-filled canyon floor.
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Hike Georgia's Fort Mountain State Park to a mysterious rock wall, a castle-like tower and stunning overlook views

Fort Mountain State Park
Stone Wall, Overlook & Tower Trails
1.6 miles

This relatively easy, family-friendly trail packs a ton into a short distance: stunning, sweeping overlook views, a castle-like tower built in the 1920s, and a lengthy, serpentine rock wall of mysterious origins.
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Hike the Amicalola Falls Trail Loop to Georgia's tallest waterfall

Amicalola Falls State Park
Amicalola Falls Loop Trail
2.1 miles

Catch wide vistas from the top of a towering cliff before descending stairs beside Amicalola Falls, Georgia’s tallest waterfall. Multiple tiers of white, wispy falling water cascade down over 730 feet, making this hike especially photo-worthy.
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Hike the Providence Canyon Loop Trail at this Georgia State Park through colorful, carved sandstone canyons

Providence Canyon State Park
Canyon Loop Trail
3 miles

“I can’t believe we’re in Georgia.” Bet you’ll say it, at least once, as you hike trails winding between colorful, steep-walled sandstone canyons. Sculpted by water, Providence Canyon carves serpentine shapes into the sun-drenched landscape.
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Hike the Edmonds Backcountry Trail at Black Rock Mountain State Park to mountain summits and a waterfall

Black Rock Mountain State Park
Edmonds Backcountry Trail
6 miles

Hike Georgia’s highest-elevation state park, Black Rock Mountain, on this challenging loop trail. The Edmonds Trail scales multiple mountain summits and catches outstanding views before visiting a tumbling waterfall.
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Hike Panola Mountain State Park at twilight on a guided hike, catching a beautiful sunset at the mountain's summit

Panola Mountain State Park
Guided Twilight Hikes
2 – 4 miles

Scale a massive granite mountain that’s covered with rare lichens, mosses and plants on this guide-led twilight hike, catching stunning sunset views from the mountain’s summit before descending by flashlight to a glassy lake.
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What to Pack Hiking? Our hiking gear lists feature our favorite, trail-tested gear.

What to pack?
Our favorite hiking gear

Ready to hit the trail, but wondering what to pack? Our gear lists feature our favorite, trail-tested hiking gear for day hikes on local trails and in the Georgia backcountry.
HIKING GEAR LIST: LOCAL HIKES
HIKING GEAR LIST: BACKCOUNTRY HIKES

 
Eric Champlin is a writer and photographer who loves to hike, run, backpack, kayak and cycle the southeast. He’s the editor and founder of Atlanta Trails and Asheville Trails, online magazines that cover the South’s best outdoor adventures. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s scenic beauty.