Georgia’s State Parks offer hundreds of miles of well-marked and well-maintained hiking trails that wind through some of our state’s most beautiful forests, shores, and meadows. From sandy coastal barrier islands to towering waterfalls, and from waterfall-filled canyons to towering mountain summits with see-forever views, the parks offer incredible options for a great outdoor adventure in the Peach State.

The parks offer a wide variety of hikes for all ages and abilities: trails for beginning hikers, technical trails for experienced backpackers, dog-friendly trails and kid-friendly trails. And the parks’ individuality and diversity are as diverse as Georgia’s landscapes: each one we’ve had the pleasure of exploring has been well worth the visit.

Hike these top 10 trails at our favorite Georgia State Parks, trekking some of the most popular, scenery-packed trails in the state. From canyons to river valleys to moss-draped coastal forest, these hikes explore Georgia's incredibly diverse terrain. #hiking #running #camping #backpacking #atlanta #georgia #travel #outdoors #adventure

Georgia State Parks: our top 10 favorite hikes

Here’s the list of our all-time favorite trails in the parks. We admit, narrowing the list to a handful was exceptionally difficult! Explore our state’s history, climb to towering, view-packed mountaintops, visit tumbling rivers and whitewater-filled creeks, explore some seriously stunning terrain on these top favorite hiking trails. Looking for a trail near you? Check out our Georgia State Parks map for our favorite parks and trails throughout our state. Or for a complete list of our favorite trail adventures in the parks, see our Georgia State Parks hiking guide. And wherever you choose to explore, please remember to pack out what you pack in and leave no trace to help preserve Georgia’s beauty.

  • Top hikes at Georgia State Parks: hike Cloudland Canyon State Park to some seriously epic views near Chattanooga

    Cloudland Canyon State Park

    Cloudland Canyon West Rim Loop Trail

    4.9 miles

    The West Rim Loop skirts the towering rim of Cloudland Canyon, catching breathtaking view after breathtaking view from the southern stretches of Lookout Mountain in northeast Georgia. It’s a great hike in any season, but it’s a downright stunner in autumn, when fall leaves paints the canyon’s sheer walls in brilliant color. And the sunset views from Cloudland’s eastern rim trailhead are simply unforgettable.

  • Hike Sweetwater Creek's Red and White Trail Loop to mill ruins, waterfalls and whitewater at this Georgia State Park near Atlanta

    Sweetwater Creek State Park

    Sweetwater Creek White Trail

    4.1 miles

    Hike through epic scenery and history at Sweetwater Creek State Park on the park’s White Trail. Visit the ruins of a Civil-War-era mill on the banks of a broad, tumbling, rocky creek, a filming location for The Hunger Games. Departing the mill, the trail follows Sweetwater Creek downstream, catching beautiful views of rushing whitewater and tumbling waterfalls, climbing over rocky bluffs and then looping back to the trailhead. Sweetwater Creek is the state park closest to Atlanta, and it’s easily one of our favorite local adventure destinations in the metro area.

  • Hike Skidaway Island State Park near Savannah, exploring Georgia's coastal beauty

    Skidaway Island State Park

    Skidaway Island Sandpiper & Avian Loop Trails

    2 miles

    Hike through abundant coastal beauty near Savannah, catching sweeping views from an observation tower, visiting the remains of a prohibition-era moonshine still, and exploring a beautiful moss-draped forest. Skidaway Island State Park offers some of coastal Georgia’s most scenic trails, and the park’s campsites and camper cabins make for a great multi-day adventure.

  • Top hikes in Georgia State Parks: hike across a towering suspension bridge at Tallulah Gorge in North Georgia

    Tallulah Gorge State Park

    Hurricane Falls Trail

    2 miles

    Stunning views, thundering waterfalls, and a dizzying, swaying suspension bridge: this is by far one of Georgia’s most scenic state park adventures. Follow the Hurricane Falls Trail to breathtaking views from Tallulah Gorge’s 1,000-foot-tall rim. Then follow the trail as it drops into the gorge, crossing the Tallulah River via suspension bridge. Enjoy an up-close view of the enormous Hurricane Falls waterfall before climbing seemingly endless stairs back to the gorge’s rim, catching a great workout along the way.

  • Hike to a tumbling waterfall at Cloudland Canyon, one of the most scenic state parks in Georgia

    Cloudland Canyon State Park

    Cloudland Canyon Waterfalls Trail

    2.1 miles

    Cloudland Canyon scores a second spot in our top ten with a hike on the park’s challenging but stunningly beautiful Waterfalls Trail. This hike follows a difficult, stair-filled drop deep into the canyon to visit two waterfalls that tumble from a towering, curved rock outcrop down to the boulder-filled canyon floor. Cherokee Falls is our favorite of the two, and makes a great spot for some seriously beautiful waterfall photography.

  • Top hikes at Georgia State Parks: catch stunning views from the summit overlook at Fort Mountain

    Fort Mountain State Park

    Fort Mountain Stone Wall, Overlook & Tower Trails

    1.6 miles

    This relatively easy, family-friendly loop packs a ton of scenic beauty into a short distance. This three-trail trio catches stunning, sweeping long-range views into the nearby Cohutta Wilderness from an overlook near the Fort Mountain summit. Along the way, the trail visits a castle-like fire lookout tower built in the 1920s, and explores a lengthy, mysterious serpentine rock wall. At under two miles, this is one incredible hike.

  • Hike to the tallest waterfall in Georgia at Amicalola Falls State Park

    Amicalola Falls State Park

    Amicalola Falls Loop Trail

    2.1 miles

    Amicalola is one of the most visited and most popular of the Georgia State Parks, and for a very good reason: the park’s waterfall is enormous and stunningly beautiful. Hike to expansive views from the top of a towering cliff, and then descend a long series of stairs alongside Amicalola Falls, Georgia’s tallest waterfall. Multiple tiers of white, wispy falling water cascade 730 feet, making this hike especially photo-worthy.

  • Hike through sculpted colorful canyons in Georgia's Providence Canyon State Park

    Providence Canyon State Park

    Providence Canyon Loop Trail

    3 miles

    “I can’t believe we’re in Georgia.” We bet you’ll say it, at least once, as you hike these trails winding through colorful, steep-walled sandstone canyons. Sculpted by water and a result of erosion, Providence Canyon carves serpentine shapes into the sun-drenched landscape, making this state park a beautiful visit with an important lesson on ecology and preservation.

  • Hike Black Rock Mountain, Georgia's highest-elevation state park, to stunning mountaintop views

    Black Rock Mountain State Park

    Black Rock Mountain Tennessee Rock Trail Trail

    2.2 miles

    Hike Georgia’s highest-elevation state park, Black Rock Mountain, on this scenic two-mile loop. The trail explores a wildflower-filled forest on the mountain’s mid-elevation slope before climbing to the summit, catching stunning views from the Tennessee Rock Overlook. Vistas extend northward to Albert Mountain and Pickens Nose Mountain, located just over the Georgia – North Carolina state line.

  • Hike to Anna Ruby Falls from Unicoi State Park in Georgia, following the Smith Creek Trail

    Unicoi State Park

    Unicoi State Park to Anna Ruby Falls

    8.7 miles

    Hike from this scenic state park near the alpine village of Helen, following the Smith Creek Trail and tracing the banks of a historic gold mining ditch from Georgia’s gold rush in the late 1800s. The trail’s end reaches the stunning Anna Ruby Falls, a rare double waterfall located just outside of Unicoi State Park. At over eight miles, round trip, this is a longer-distance adventure, but the hike’s abundant beauty makes the miles worthwhile.

  • Hiking gear list: our favorite backpacks and trail essentials

    What to pack?

    What to pack for a Georgia State Parks 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. Our Atlanta Trails shirts and longsleeves are printed our ultra-soft tri-blend shirts, and they’re our favorite for trail adventures all over the South. Our outdoor apparel reviews feature our favorite trail-worthy hiking boots, running shoes, jackets, and layering essentials for the South. And no matter what you pack in, pack it all back out. Please leave no trace and help preserve Georgia’s beauty.

Extend your 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. Fort Mountain State Park’s newly renovated lakeside cabins and the charming, retro (and renovated) historic cabins at FD Roosevelt State Park are some of our favorite places to stay for an adventure-filled long weekend or vacation at the parks.

Georgia State Parks Annual Passes

While the $5 day-use parking fees at the parks 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 annual pass that allows fee-free parking for a full year.