Georgia is a nature lover’s paradise. Whether you are an avid hiker, a climber, a history buff, or if you just love waterfalls, there is something for everyone in the Peach State. Your thighs will be burning the next day, but you will be content with the knowledge that you had a perfect day!
There are a variety of mighty mountains to climb, including Brasstown Bald, which towers at an impressive 4784 feet above sea level; Fort Mountain, which has an ancient stone wall and a Rapunzel-like tower; and Pine Mountain, the refuge of former president FDR.
From miniseries-making WWII history to ancient stone walls of disputed origin, something is interesting on every mountain that already has unparalleled beauty to boot. Read on for more.
1. Blood Mountain
As Georgia’s highest peak on the Appalachian Trail, Blood Mountain has a lot to offer. Sprawling vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the rest of the region are fantastic rewards for the 4.3-mile out-and-back strenuous hike.
The hike starts at the Bryon Reece trailhead close to Neels Gap. The Blood Mountain Loop offers a hike over and around the mountain’s summit if you prefer to hike a loop. The most strenuous hike to Blood Mountain starts in Vogel State Park, this hike totals 8.5 miles.
There are many other paths to Blood Mountain, but know that, whichever you choose, you will be treated by a spectacular view. There is a large stone shelter along the Appalachian Trail, constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps if you need to rest up.
2. Fort Mountain
The Fort Mountain State Park is home to Fort Mountain, part of the Cohutta Mountain Range. Take the Summit Trail to access the famed 800-foot-long stone wall of possible Native American origin at the summit
This hike is not long at a mere 1.6 miles, but its uphill trajectory can be challenging for some. A loop around the summit offers many sights, including the breathtaking Cohutta Wilderness.
A four-story tower constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s as a forest fire outlook is one of the major attractions of the trail. Think Rapunzel, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of how it looks.
The stone wall is very close to the tower, so you can quickly tick off many must-sees on this trail. The stone wall could have been built as far back as 500 ACE. Some believe early Welsh explorers built it. The mountain was named for this wall.
3. Brasstown Bald Mountain
Despite being the highest peak in all of Georgia, at 4784 feet above sea level, the hike to Brasstown Bald need only be a very steep one mile, totaling 2.3 miles out-and-back. The peak offers views of four states on a clear day: Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee.
The trail offers time trekking in the gorgeous Chattahoochee National Forest and an observation tower at its summit, which provides 360-degree views. It was named Enotah by the Native Americans.
If you don’t want to hike to the visitor’s center at the summit, you can take a shuttle there for a small fee instead of hiking the Summit Trail.
4. Bell Mountain
In February 2016, Bell Mountain Park and Historical Site was officially established after a generous donation by the Hal Herrin Estate. The observation deck that lines the peak was named the Hal Herrin Scenic Outlook in honor of this great donation.
The view is ridiculously aesthetic, with vistas of Brasstown Bald, Lake Chatuge, and the small town of Hiawassee. The hike to the observation deck is littered with graffiti which has been a topic of controversy over the years.
5. Black Rock Mountain
Black Rock Mountain is situated within Black Rock Mountain State Park and includes part of Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. It is the highest elevation state park in the Peach State, and the Mountain is named for the dark biotite gneiss found on its cliffs.
The Tennessee Rock Trail is one of the park’s most popular trails. The walk from the trailhead is dotted with beautiful wildflowers in the spring months. The hike to the summit is 1.55 miles, and you’ll want to get a photo with the engraved stone here.
Wooden stairs near the summit lead to the Tennessee Rock outlook. You can see the summits of North Carolina’s Albert Mountain and Pickens Nose Mountain from the outlook.
Once you have enjoyed the glorious views, this loop trail will take you back without much ado, with the hike totaling just over 2 miles. Don’t confuse this hike with the one in North Carolina, which is also called Blackrock Mountain.
6. Currahee Mountain
Besides being a lovely mountain to climb, Currahee Mountain has an illustrious history. The area around the mountain was the site of the WWII Parachute Infantry Training Center called Camp Toccoa.
“Currahee” is the name of the first episode of the miniseries “Band of Brothers,” which was set partially at Camp Toccoa. Currahee is a Cherokee name meaning “stand alone.” This phrase even became the motto of the 506th Infantry Regiment.
The hike up to the peak is around three miles and becomes very steep near the top. There is a lot of graffiti along the way. The peak is majestic and offers great views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are lots of great spots for rock climbing and rappelling.
If you’re a history devotee and a nature enthusiast, visit the small Currahee Military Museum in the nearby town of Toccoa. Also, a five-minute drive away will get you to the picturesque Toccoa Falls.
7. Sawnee Mountain
At around half the height of Brasstown Bald, Sawnee Mountain is named after Chief Sawnee of the Cherokee people. The Indian Seats Loop trail is one of the best ways to get to the peak of Sawnee. The hike is a 3.5-mile loop in the historic Sawnee Mountain Preserve.
The mountain was once mined for gold, and you can see the boarded-up entrances to two abandoned gold mines along the way.
Rock climbing, rappelling, birding, trail running, and hiking are popular pursuits in Sawnee Mountain Preserve. Dogs are, however, not allowed in the Preserve. The Fairy Trail is a whimsical aspect of the Sawnee Mountain Preserve, consisting of a section of decorated birdhouses.
8. Pine Mountain
Located in the F.D. Roosevelt State Park, Pine Mountain is not a hike for novices. Spanning 23 miles atop a high ridgeline, with plenty of backcountry campsites along the route, the Pine Mountain Trail is an intermediate hike where you can hopefully spot deer and meander along in lush forests.
The park is named for the former president, who frequented the warm spring to treat his polio. If you prefer a shorter hike, try Dowdell’s Knob Loop, which is only 4.3 miles long and is of moderate difficulty. The path features wildflowers and the summit, which was FDR’s favorite picnic spot.
9. Yonah Mountain
Yonah means “bear,” and the mountain is decidedly as mighty as a bear. The Yonah Mountain Tail spans 4.4 miles and gets rather steep near the top. Caution is advised when hiking Yonah Mountain, and it generally shouldn’t be undertaken by beginners.
The Mountain ridge is located between the towns of Helen and Cleveland in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Climbers especially enjoy this mountain as there are suitably exposed rock outcrops to climb. Again, caution is urged.
The trail starts at the Chambers Mountain Road trailhead and passes a US Army training camp before veering off to the summit. Camping is available at the summit on a first-come-first-served basis.
The hike is something special in any season, whether it be as a result of wildflowers, autumn leaves, or snow!
10. Springer Mountain
As the Southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, Springer Mountain is accessible via several routes. Georgia’s part of the Appalachian Trail only consists of 78 miles of the whole 2200 miles, but they’re miles not to be missed.
The summit of Springer Mountain is a feast for the eyes, especially in the fall. Blood Mountain and Tray Mountain can also be climbed on this trail. The Appalachian Trail is suitable for the true thru-hiker but can be broken up into more manageable parts for weekend enjoyment.
Some choose to stay, for instance, at the Len Foote Hike Inn, situated in the Chattahoochee National Forest. It’s five miles one way to the Inn, but some use it as a springboard to hike to Springer Mountain, which in itself is a 9-mile round trip.
Another way to do it is to indulge in the Amicalola Falls trail, which boasts Georgia’s tallest waterfall. It’s a picturesque way to get to Springer Mountain, albeit a bit of a longer one. There are various campsites along the way, so there’s no need to rush.
Each mountain in Georgia holds a special place in our hearts, as each is unique and wonderful in its own way. Visiting these mountains is not only great for your fitness and physical health but also your mental health.