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Hiking for all skill levels at Georgia State Parks


With spring on the way, it's time to get up, get out and do something.

Unicoi State Park- hikinh

Georgia State Parks offer hiking for all skill levels with elevations in North Georgia ranging from sea level to more than 3,600 feet. In South Georgia, you can hike the coastal plains and along marshes. There are also ADA-accessible trails.

National Trails Day is June 4, featuring ranger-led hikes at parks around the state, but you can get out before then with this skill-level guide to the trails.

For beginners:

For easier strolls, head to Black Rock Lake at Black Mountain Park for an 0.85-mile stroll on the Lake Loop Trail. Hikers will cross wooden bridges overlooking Taylor and Greasy Creek, and an 80-foot bridge spanning the southwest corner of Cricket Cove.

General Coffee State Park offers hikers the chance to spot Gopher Tortoise burrows while walking the Gopher Loop Trail.

Unicoi State Park’s Bottoms Loop Trail is a two-mile hike through hemlocks, mountain laurels and rhododendrons, and blooming wildflowers in spring. There are a few easy-to-manage brook crossings and the last mile follows Smith Creek.

For intermediate hikers:

Hit F.D. Roosevelt State Park for more than 42 miles of trails to explore. First time backpackers can try the 23-mile Pine Mountain Trail. There are 16 designated campsites along the trail for backcountry camping.

The eight-mile Gahuti Trail at Fort Mountain State Park offers a challenging hike with seasonal views of hardwood forest, blueberry thickets, cross streams and more.

For advanced climbers:

The West Rim Loop Trail at Cloudland Canyon State Park is five-miles of challenging trail. Beginning at the Daniel Creek Bridge, the trail climbs out of the canyon onto the canyon’s plateau for a view of Trenton, Georgia.

At Vogel State Park , hike the Coosa Backcountry Trail, a 12.5-mile loop. Add additional mileage and turn a hike into an overnight trip by linking up with the Duncan Ridge Trail. The Coosa Backcountry Trail begins in Vogel State Park and loops through the Chattahoochee National forest crossing three ridgelines.

Join the Canyon Climbers Club , then hike to the top of Amicalola Falls, explore Providence Canyon, cross the swinging bridge in Tallulah Gorge and climb the staircase in Cloudland Canyon. Upon completion, you'll get a card punched by rangers. Redeem it for a t-shirt and bragging rights. To join, stop by one of the four participating state park offices and purchase a $10 membership card, call 770-389-7401 or email your name, address and daytime phone number to: CustomerService@GeorgiaStateParks.org.

ADA Accessible trails:

The West Ridge Falls Trail at Amicalola Falls State Park is a 1/3-mile rubber-surfaced wheelchair-accessible trail with a gentle slope.

Mistletoe State Park’s rubber-surfaced loop trail, the Canyon Trail Loop, is also a 1/3-mile trail with a surprise “canyon” formed by water run-off from poor farming practices in the 1920s.


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About the Author

Nedra Rhone has been a features reporter with the AJC for 10 years. She’s written about everything from fashion to food to news.