By now, most of us are a few football tailgates and a half-dozen pumpkin spice lattes into fall. But the woodlands of North Georgia are still mostly green, with hints of color in the understory. So says Leaf Watch, an online guide that allows you to plan your visit to one of Georgia’s state parks around maximal views of goldenrod, burgundy, russet, and sienna.
According to the website, fall color in North Georgia peaks in late October and early November. For the best vistas of the Chattahoochee National Forest arrayed in seasonal finery, hit the hiking or biking trails at Amicalola Falls, Cloudland Canyon, Black Rock Mountain, Fort Mountain, Moccasin Creek, Tallulah Gorge, Unicoi, or Vogel. At the state’s highest park, Black Rock Mountain, you can spy into Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia on a clear day. Visit Tallulah Gorge during the first three weekends of November, when Georgia Power performs its bi-annual dam release, and watch from the canyon’s rim as kayakers tackle a swollen river surrounded by fiery color.
If Thanksgiving approaches and you’ve procrastinated on leaf-ogling, ignore the Christmas commercials and bring the family for one last autumnal gasp. In state parks to the east, west, and south of Atlanta, especially F.D. Roosevelt, Sweetwater Creek, and Hard Labor Creek, fall arrives with equal splendor–just a few weeks later.
For now, though, here’s a slideshow of scenes from past falls in Georgia State Parks that will have you ready to tie your hiking shoes. gastateparks.org