Atlanta TrailsbyTrailful Outdoor Co
Top Georgia trails & how-to

Great Georgia sunrise and sunset hikes: our top 10 favorite trails

There’s no better way to start (or end) the day! Hike these ten great Georgia trails to catch a gorgeous sunrise or sunset from some of Georgia’s most beautiful places.

There’s something magical about watching the first rays of the new day peek over the horizon. Or, equally so, witnessing the last bits of evening glow sink slowly behind the far-flung distant mountains.

No two are ever the same, making them all the more addicting. A chilly sunrise, framed by mountains and bordered by wispy clouds, brilliantly reflects a colorful show, making an early morning dawn hike all the more worthwhile. And catching the day’s last light on a great sunset hike makes for a memorable way to end the day.

We’ve enjoyed great Georgia sunrises and sunsets from mountain tops, sandy beaches and everywhere in between. And they’re usually all fairly spectacular – but these ten hikes top the list of our favorite spots to chase a colorful show. Remember to pack essential hiking gear (check out our hiking gear list for our trail-tested favorites), watch the weather, and remember a flashlight or headlamp to help lead the way. Pre-dawn and pre-dusk hikes can be rewarding, but tricky. And be sure to check each park’s opening and closing times: hours can change, and many lock parking area gates at night.

There's no better way to start (or end) the day! Hike these ten great Georgia trails to catch a gorgeous sunrise or sunset from some of Georgia's most beautiful places. #hiking #trailrunning #camping #backpacking #northgeorgia #atlanta #georgia #travel #outdoors #adventure

Our favorite Georgia sunrise and sunset hikes

  • Top 10 Georgia sunrise and sunset hikes: sunrise from the Len Foote Hike Inn, an eco-friendly inn available only by hike from Amicalola Falls

    Len Foote Hike Inn

    9.8 miles, round trip, with an awesome overnight stay

    Catch gorgeous skies, great food, good company and an overall unforgettable experience at this beautifully rustic eco-lodge accessible only by hike. Sunrise at the Len Foote Hike Inn is a communal gathering, signaled by the faint sound of drumming. Gather with the other guests, morning coffee in hand, to welcome the new day from the Inn’s overlook near the Springer Mountain summit. The Hike Inn Trail begins at Amicalola Falls, hiking through fern-filled creek valleys before reaching the Len Foote Hike Inn. Read more about this unique eco-friendly experience in our Len Foote Hike Inn review. (Reservations are strongly encouraged!)

  • Great Georgia sunrise and sunset hikes: our top 10 favorite trails

    Stone Mountain Walk-Up Trail

    2.1 miles

    The iconic granite dome of Stone Mountain, just east of Atlanta, offers amazing views from its lofty summit. Hit the Stone Mountain Walk-Up Trail for an early morning hike to catch gorgeous sunrise views over Atlanta’s rolling landscape, and the twinkling beauty of the city’s skyline on the western horizon. Or hike the trail at twilight to catch sunset, and watch the day’s last light reflect gorgeous colors in the pools on the mountain’s summit. Stone Mountain Park gates are open daily, 5:00 am to midnight.

  • Sawnee Mountain: hiking the Indian Seats Trail

    Sawnee Mountain Preserve

    4 miles

    Hike the Indian Seats Trail at the Sawnee Mountain Preserve to sweeping gorgeous sunset views from the mountain’s summit. The hike climbs through rugged pine and deciduous forest and passes a now-gated mine entrance from Sawnee’s gold mining history. At the summit, Sawnee Mountain offers stunning 180-degree vistas to the Blue Ridge Mountains on the horizon, and farmland, fields, and forests below. As sublime as the mountain’s sunsets can be, don’t hang around too long: the trails close just after dusk, so be sure to allow plenty of time to descend from the mountain.

  • Watch sunset from the summit of Panola Mountain near Atlanta, GA on a ranger-led guided twilight hike

    Panola Mountain Guided Sunset Hikes

    2.4 miles

    Explore a fragile ecosystem of rare plants on the summit of Panola Mountain. Join a guide-led twilight hike to score access to usually-off-limit areas of the mountain, and catch a great sunset from the mountaintop. As the sun begins to sink, colorful dusk views from the summit are beautiful and wide – and the moonlit hike back down the mountain is a great adventure, too.

  • Watch a stunning sunrise over Sparks Reservoir at Sweetwater Creek State Park near Atlanta

    Sweetwater Creek State Park

    2-9 miles

    Sweetwater Creek State Park is our go-to for North Georgia beauty without the long drive. At Atlanta’s closest state park, over 9 miles of trails wind through beautiful, rugged terrain to a whitewater-filled creek and historic Civil War-era ruins.
    Catch a stunning dawn sky over Sweetwater Creek State Park’s glassy lake, and then hit the trails for a day of adventure. Park gates open at 7:00 am, so over-the-lake sunrise views are possible from the park’s main entrance on all but the longest summertime days. Or, overnight in the new Sweetwater Creek yurt village for a memorable camping experience near the city, and enjoy early morning access to the park during your stay. Check out our Sweetwater Creek State Park adventure guide to find more awesome ways to fill your day at the park.

  • Brasstown Bald

    Brasstown Bald

    1.1 miles

    Views from the old wooden fire tower on the summit of Brasstown Bald are breathtaking pretty much any time when the day is clear. But they’re particularly stunning at dawn and dusk, when the sun hangs low on the horizon and golden hues abound. Hike a short (but steep!) paved trail to the summit of Georgia’s highest peak to catch sublime 360-degree panoramas from the summit, and some outstanding golden light at sunrise or sunset.

  • Catch a gorgeous sunset at Skidaway Island State Park on Georgia's coast

    Skidaway Island State Park

    2 miles

    Hike the Sandpiper Trail & Avian Loop Trail at Skidaway Island State Park near Savannah to explore salt flats, tidal creeks and marshland, and catch a gorgeous sunset over the marsh on the Skidaway River. As the sun sinks behind the trees, the colorful sunset rays reflect in the river’s calm waters, and golden light filters through Spanish moss-draped trees along the banks. But hurry – as with most Georgia State Parks, the trails close at dark, so be sure to leave enough time to get back to the trailhead.

  • Fort Mountain State Park: adventure guide

    Fort Mountain Trail

    1.6 miles

    Fort Mountain has long been one of our favorite Georgia State Parks, and our go-to for beautiful North Georgia sunset views. Hike the Fort Mountain Trail to an ancient serpentine stone wall and a historic observation tower. As dusk descends on the mountain, hike to the wooden observation platform to catch vast westerly views. It’s the perfect place to watch the sun sink behind the horizon.
    Not ready for the fun at Fort Mountain to end? Stay a few nights stay at one of Fort Mountain’s cottages; they’re newly renovated, and make a great base camp to explore Fort Mountain’s many trails, glassy mountaintop lake and on-water paddling adventures.

  • Hike to gorgeous sunsets at Black Rock Mountain State Park in North Georgia near Clayton

    Black Rock Mountain Tennessee Rock Trail

    2.2 miles

    Hike the Tennessee Rock Trail at Georgia’s highest elevation state park, looping through a lush wildflower-filled forest to the Black Rock Mountain summit. Just past the true summit, the Tennessee Rock overlook offers gorgeous views extending to Albert Mountain and Pickens Nose Mountain in nearby North Carolina. Sunsets from the overlook are stunning, especially in Fall, when the mountain’s leafy hardwood forest is draped in autumn’s colorful hues.

  • Hike to a gorgeous sunset view at Cloudland Canyon State Park in North Georgia

    Cloudland Canyon State Park

    2-9+ miles

    The views at Cloudland Canyon State Park are picturesque any time of the day, but we absolutely love catching colorful dusk skies at the park. The last rays of the day frame the canyon’s steep western walls in a warm, golden glow.
    Hike Cloudland’s West Rim Loop Trail or the Cloudland Canyon Waterfalls Trail in late afternoon, returning to the east rim trailhead at twilight to catch a colorful sunset from lofty heights.

  • Hiking gear list: our favorite backpacks and trail essentials

    Our favorite hiking gear

    What to pack for a hiking adventure?

    Ready to hit the trail, but wondering what to pack? Our hiking gear list features our favorite, trail-tested hiking gear for day hikes on local trails and in the Georgia backcountry. We print and stitch our Atlanta Trails shirts and hats locally in Atlanta and Asheville, and they’re our favorite for trail adventures all over the South. And no matter what you pack in, pack it all back out. Please leave no trace and help preserve Georgia’s beauty.

Leave No Trace: Atlanta Trails, Asheville Trails and Trailful are official Leave No Trace partners

Please Remember

Always leave no trace, pack out everything you pack in, and if you see trash, pick it up and pack it out.

Stay on the marked trail, tell someone where you're going, pack safety and wayfinding essentials, and don't rely on a mobile phone to find your way. Please always practice good trail etiquette. And before you go, always check the trailhead kiosk, official maps, and the park or ranger office for notices of changed routes, trail closures, safety information, and restrictions.

Eric Champlin is a creative director and photographer who loves to explore southeast. He's the co-owner of Trailful Outdoor Co, a locally-owned hiking outfitter shop in Hiawassee in the Georgia mountains near the Appalachian Trail. He’s also the co-founder of Atlanta Trails and Asheville Trails, digital magazines that highlight the South’s best outdoor adventures. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.