Great Hikes Near and Around Georgia
There are great hikes near and around Georgia, waiting for you to escape from your shelter-in place and explore the great outdoors. Hiking is the best answer to cabin-fever and stay-at-home blues. There are trails for everyone, from easy – moderate and difficult – strenuous. For dog lovers there is great news! Dogs are not to be left at home. Many trails welcome the family pet asking only for your dog to be leashed. Here are our top picks starting with Georgia, and giving you a taste of nearby states with wonderful paths to explore.
Blood Mountain Loop
The North Georgia Mountains have hikes taking you through paths surrounded by natural beauty any time of the year. Blood Mountain Loop takes you to the highest-elevation summit on the Appalachian train in Georgia. It is one of the most popular hikes with great views and wide-open space to view far into the distance.
It is 6 miles round trip and recommended for more experienced hikers due to terrain, elevation change, and varying weather conditions. A big plus for dog lovers – It is dog friendly.
Ocmulgee National Monument
Explore Georgia’s Native American history and beautiful wetlands in Macon. Located on the Ocmulgee River banks, the 3.25-mile trail takes you along pre-historic Indian mounds, fern-filled forest, and wetlands filled with wildlife.
The easy to walk trail is also dog friendly, and with a total of 3.25 miles round trip, you’ll be ready to find your next adventure right away.
A National Seashore, wild horses, and historic ruins. What better way to explore history and nature combined than a trip to beautiful Cumberland Island. The U.S. Mint featured Cumberland and its wildlife on their quarter series, America The Beautiful.
Jump onboard the morning ferry in St. Marys for a day of hiking from 2 – 20 miles. The 16 mile-long barrier island holds a complex history of Native Americas to Antebellum plantations to the playground of the Carnegies. Wild horses continue to roam the paths, and on the pristine sandy beaches you will encounter only a handful of visitors. It’s the perfect hike to take your time or have a brisk walk from one dock to the next. If you are thinking of bringing your fur baby, they can not come on the ferry but are allowed on a leash when transported by a private boat.
Arabia Mountain Top Trail
If you’re looking for an easy hike and one that will not take your whole day, the Arabia Mountain Top Trail is only 1.3 miles. Located outside of Atlanta’s perimeter, this hike takes you around the mountain’s cratered domed summit. What makes this hike exciting are the moderately challenging vast fields of rocks and granite. There are shallow basins where you’ll find rare plants, and the area opens to a broad big sky view. After a rainstorm, when the craters fill with water, you can catch a spectacular reflection of the wide-open sky.
A bonus for this trail – if you want a longer hike, there are more extensive paths that are great for exploring.
Hikes near and around Georgia are plentiful and easy to find. The Georgia State Parks have a long list of great hikes and outdoor adventures. Several states are a quick drive and offers options for families to get out and about. Hikes near and around Georgia give you a chance to put away some of the shelter-in-place days for fun outdoor adventures. We have highlighted some of the close states and their parks to help you get started exploring. Let’s check ’em out!
Big Cypress Swamp
Are you looking for a grand adventure? Hike the Big Cypress Swamp, a National Preserve for its beauty and an exhilarating challenge.
It is the wildest and most remote section of Florida’s Trails, and you’ll agree with others who have said it is like no other hike in Florida or anyplace else. You’ll hike through bonsai-like cypress trees, across sawgrass prairies and lush cypress stands and domes. You’ll also encounter alligators – small and massive, near Interstate 75. Once you’ve maneuvered your way through the wildlife, the Cypress Swamp, which flows southwesterly, is also the home to the highest concentration of orchid and Fern species in the U.S. It is also the inspiration for the book and movie – The Orchid thief.
Little River Canyon
There is no need to look any further for an outdoor experience for everyone? Little River Canyon is an easy hike for the whole family. The 1.4-mile trail grabs many hikers’ attention, especially those looking for a little outdoor adventure with time to spare for other things. Located near Fort Payne, Alabama, the trail features a waterfall with several lookout spots. The beautiful views and easy paths make Little River Canyon an excellent escape for time away from home for the whole family. And you can bring along the family pet for a romp-around too.
Bear Creek Outcropping Trail
Have you always wanted to cross a swing bridge? This trail begins and ends at the swing bridge. Bear Creek Outcropping trail, located near Dennis, Mississippi, is a 1.8-mile loop trail that is part of Tishomingo State Park.
There are rock climbing routes, hiking trails, and opportunities to explore nature. Along the path, you will find a waterfall, wildflowers, and wildlife – be on the lookout for turtles. The trail is considered moderately difficult and for hikers with experience. For those with extensive rock climbing experience, there are splendid views of the valley that Bear Creek travels through, especially atop the rock formations. There are many rocky areas and wet areas along the path. Bring along your dog on a leash.
Expert, experienced hikers who want a challenge that meets their skill level; Grandfather Mountain State Park in North Carolina fits the bill. Although challenging, the mountain has been an icon in North Carolina’s landscape for generations. With the stunning scenery, nature trails, and opportunities for a day hike or camping excursion, the experience will be memorable. It is essential to note the park is known for some of the South’s most severe weather and challenging terrain, taking hikers along cliffs, up and down ladders, across the mile-high swinging bridge, and along uneven paths. For the explorer with the experience, stamina, and nerves of steel, the experience will be thrilling, but not recommended for the faint of heart.
Head over to South Carolina where Foothill Trail brings together day hikers and campers looking to spend time in the South Carolina Mountains. The 77-mile trail takes you through a wonderland of flora and fauna. There are also Black Bears in those mountains. With several routes to choose from, you can make the hike as long and as challenging as you’d like. The Foothills trail is part of the Oconee State Park with major trailheads at various locations; with planning, you can explore with your family, creating lasting memories.
With lots of nature to explore, Tennessee offers special hiking events to get explorers out and about on an adventure. In 2021 Tennessee State Parks have several calendar event dates and invite you to be part of a great outdoor experience. Tennessee will have you saying “Don’t just stop with one hike, let’s do them all!”
The Spring Hike – Saturday, March 20
National Trails Day Hike – Saturday, June 5
National Public Lands Day Hike – Saturday, September 25
After Thanksgiving Hike – Friday, November 26.
A visit to their website will give you a long list of hikes you may choose. Trails range from easy on paved paths to strenuous outings to an overnight campsite
Tips for hikers
While hiking is great fun, it’s also serious business. A slip, fall or twist of the ankle can mean trouble far away from help. The first rule is to prepare and 2nd be safe. Here are a few tips to help you plan.
– Travel with a buddy
– Take water and food/snacks – even on short hikes.
– Wear proper shoes for the terrain and conditions. Ensure the appropriate fit to avoid foot and ankle injury
– Wear proper clothing
– Research ahead of time for the best preparation
– Purchase a trail map
– Stop by park offices to log in, get tips and updates.
– Know the weather conditions
– Research wildlife in the area
– Follow parking and trail rules.
– Share your itinerary with others not going on the trail.
– Research hike coordinates and share those.
– Bring along your cell phone, camera, extra battery.
– A collapsible trekking pole