Georgia State Parks’ “Leaf Watch” website tracks best fall color
ATLANTA, GA – For many people, the perfect autumn weekend includes cozy campfires and gooey s’mores surrounded by fiery- hued forests. To help leaf peepers plan their fall escapes, Georgia’s state parks will soon launch “Leaf Watch 2018” to track fall color as it moves across the Peach State.
Found at GeorgiaStateParks. org/ LeafWatch, the travel planner is filled with top trails and overlooks, mountain cabins and campsites, fall events and hiking safety tips. Shutterbugs are encouraged to share their favorite shots on the Georgia State Parks’ Facebook page and Instagram, tagging # GaLeafWatch and # GaStateParks. Rangers will also post updates on how fall color is progressing in their parks.
Typically, Georgia’s mountain parks peak in late October; however, color can be seen as early as September and throughout much of November. Some of the most popular parks for leaf watching include Black Rock Mountain, Cloudland Canyon, Fort Mountain, Tallulah Gorge and Vogel. Since mountain parks are heavily visited on October weekends, travelers may want to explore lesser- known parks which can be vibrant as well. Hardwoods and mossy rock gardens can be found at F. D. Roosevelt State Park in near Columbus.
Georgia State Parks offer a variety of accommodations where leaf peepers can stay in the heart of autumn scenery. Guests can choose from cabins, campsites and yurts – a “glamping” option that is like a combination tent -cabin . Accommodations may be reserved 13 months in advance, and many fill up on October weekends. Guests are encouraged to make plans as early as possible or visit during weekdays. Reservations can be made by calling 1- 800- 864- 7275 or at GeorgiaStateParks. org/ Reservations.
Park rangers have planned numerous events throughout autumn, including guided hikes and paddles, fall festivals, Halloween hayrides and campground trickor- treating. A list of events can be found at GeorgiaStateParks. org.
Amicalola Falls State Park – Dawsonville
Just an hour north of Atlanta you’ll find the Southeast’s tallest cascading waterfall. A short, flat path leads to a boardwalk offering the most spectacular views. There is also an easy- to- reach overlook at the top. For a tougher challenge, start from the bottom of the falls and hike up the steep staircase.
GeorgiaStateParks. org/ AmicalolaFalls
Black Rock Mountain State Park – Clayton
At an altitude of 3,640 feet, Black Rock Mountain is Georgia’s highest state park. ( Brasstown Bald is the state’s highest peak.) Roadside overlooks and the summit Visitor Center offer sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The 2.2mile Tennessee Rock Trail is a good choice for a short, moderate hike. For an all- day challenge, take the 7.2mile James E. Edmonds Backcountry Trail.
GeorgiaStateParks. o r g / BlackRockMountain
Cloudland Canyon State Park – Near Chattanooga
One of Georgia’s most beautiful parks offers easy- to- reach rim overlooks and challenging trails. A favorite hike takes you down a staircase to the bottom of the canyon, where you’ll find two waterfalls. ( Remember, you have to hike back up, but it’s worth it.) The 5-mile West Rim Loop is moderately difficult and offers great views of the canyon.
F. D. Roosevelt State Park – Pine Mountain
Many people are surprised to find hardwood forests and rolling mountains south of Atlanta. The 6.7-mile Wolf Den Loop is a favorite section of the longer Pine Mountain Trail. For a touch of history, drive to Dowdell’s Knob to see a life- size bronze sculpture of President F. D. Roosevelt and views of the forested valley. Ga. Hwy. 190 is a pretty driving route.