Five Wild and Wander-ful Hikes of Georgia

by Shelby DeCusati, Girls Who Hike Georgia Ambassador

Do you love being outdoors and exploring new trails? Have you ever
wondered what kind of southern charm Georgia has to offer? Georgia isn’t
just about exploring the great city of Atlanta or just a state of sweet
peaches, fried fixins’, and southern accents. It also is home to some
extraordinary mountain trails, such as the beginning of the Appalachian
Trail. Did you know that the Appalachian Trail is the longest hike-only
footpath in the world? It extends from Georgia to Maine. In addition to being
one of the most popular hiking trails, there are also plenty of hiking gems
for those looking to explore deeper into of what Georgia has to offer. As a
proud born and raised Georgian I would like to share with you five wild and
wander-ful hikes I have thoroughly enjoyed and what makes each of these
trails unique.

1. Cloudland Canyon State Park


Cloudland Canyon is one of the largest state parks in the state of
Georgia. Cloudland Canyon encompasses thousand-foot deep canyons,
sandstone cliffs, wild caves, waterfalls, cascading creeks, and dense
woodland. The state park offers numerous trails, but the trails that I enjoyed
exploring most were the waterfall trail and west-rim trail because they have
two unique experiences to offer while visiting Cloudland Canyon.
The Waterfall Trail is quite an intense stair step workout! It is about 2
miles but include 600 stairs down and back up. I promise these waterfalls
are worth the trip! There are two extravagant waterfalls below, Cherokee
Falls and Hemlock Falls. You are welcome to enjoy the views of watching
water spill over into the canyon’s depths from observation decks or sitting
alongside the pool on one of many boulders. You are advised not to swim
in the pools of water. The Sitton Gulch trail is connected to these trails as
well. So, if you would like more of an adventure, and to continue hiking
along the eastern rim of the canyon. The Sitton Gulch Trail has a bridge
crossing the canyon, massive boulders, and multiple waterfalls and views
from the depths of the canyon.
The West-Rim Loop Trail is around 5 miles. It offers a unique experience
to see astonishing views of the east and western rims of Cloudland
Canyon. These steep overlooks offer breathtaking heights and panoramic
views of the canyon. These views could easily be some of Georgia’s finest
and I would highly recommend catching a sunrise or sunset here!

2. Rabun Bald

Are you anxious to adventure up to a magnificent 360-degree
panoramic view of the North Carolina and North Georgia mountains?
Rabun Bald is the second highest peak in the state of Georgia. It is
about a 3-mile moderate hike with the last quarter of a mile being the
most strenuous because of the elevation. Let me tell you, these
views are totally worth the work! Though Brasstown Bald may be
Georgia’s highest peak, many times the tourist buses can get in the
way or over crowded trails and observation deck can take away from
the reasons people like adventuring to the mountains, to get away.
Rabun Bald’s observation deck can be peaceful and often times you
can catch a glimpse of birds soaring through the mountain skies.
Rabun Bald should definitely be added to your hiking bucket list
because there is nothing quite like this sweet serene view.

3. Panther Creek Falls


Do you like chasing waterfalls? Have you heard that Georgia has
some of the most awe-inspiring waterfalls? Well, you better believe it
because the North Georgia Mountains have plenty of charming
waterfall hikes. Panther Creek Falls has to be one of Georgia’s
favorite waterfall hikes because this 7-mile round trip hike includes a
sequence of cascading falls located in the luscious forest. This makes
a great hike during the spring, summer, and fall months because you
can also swim in the mossy multi-tiered falls and deep swimming pool
or chill on the sandy beaches of it and take in the natural North
Georgia beauty. This trail has plenty of spots off of the walking path
that make for camp sites so over night trips are optimal and popular
along this trail. This was the first trail I took my husband Justin and
dog carter backpacking on for the first time!

4. Mount Yonah


Hiking to this rock face summit has to be one of the most outstanding
in Georgia. If you like camping, hiking, or rock climbing this is the
perfect path for you! Mount Yonah is around a 4-mile trail that follows
through a dense forest of trees and wild flowers. You may find the
path may be a little rocky with some large boulders to climb over but
views are insurmountable once you reach the top. Mount Yonah is
one of Georgia’s best and most popular hikes in the southern
Appalachian because of its exposed rock face for climbers and hikers
to enjoy. It simply delivers what outdoor enthusiasts look for with its
steep drop-offs, iconic rock face summit, and iconic views over
Georgia. One of my favorite memories is sharing a southern sunset
up on the top with my pup Carter.

5. Blood Mountain


Would you like to be able to say that you hiked the highest peak in
Georgia on the Appalachian Trail? Well, it’s time to add Blood
Mountain to your must hike list! The views from this trail are great
year round. One of my favorite hiking memories of were shared on
this trial with my brother George and dog Carter. We completely
hiked in feet of snow and ice with not a soul in sight. Some people
may say this is completely crazy and unsafe, but we sure did have a
blast! The trail can be considered around a steep 4 mile more difficult
hike. This can be an extremely popular day hike in Georgia because
of the countless scenic views it offers along the AT and on the way up
to the summit. The trail will open up as you near the summit with
various boulders, and rock faces you are able to enjoy the view from.
What many people miss out on is hiking some of the steepest
sections of this trail to the very top which has a rock building (shelter).
This is a shelter that was built around the 1930s but can be used by
campers and through hikers on their way to Maine to accomplish the
AT. My favorite view is actually right outside of this shelter along the
boulders that provide extraordinary views over the North Georgia
Mountains.

 


Shelby DeCusati is one of our amazing Girls Who Hike Georgia Ambassadors. You can join her local meetups at http://www.facebook.com/groups/girlswhohikega/

Sharron McBrideComment