Ge­or­gia State Parks’ “Leaf Watch” web­site tracks best fall color

Calhoun Times - - RELIGION -

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.

Ge­or­giaS­tateParks. org/Cloud­landCanyon

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.

Ge­or­giaS­tateParks.

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