Oct 8, 2021 - Things to Do
How to see North Georgia's best fall leaves
A view of Fort Mountain State Park in the autumn as green leaves change to red, amber, orange, and brown
Fort Mountain State Park. Photo courtesy of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Fall is the best time to venture to the North Georgia mountains, when the air turns crisp, and the leaves turn rust, amber and ocher.

  • Seems early, right? But if you want to escape the city and take in some of Georgia's natural beauty, start researching jaunts now.

Why it matters: Leaf colors in North Georgia hit their peak in mid- to late October, says Kim Hatcher, the public affairs coordinator with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' state parks division. The higher the elevation, the sooner the leaves change colors.

  • Hatcher says many travelers book state park campsites and cabins a year in advance, but some private rentals might be available. Cancellations are listed in the state parks website, so keep your eyes peeled.
  • Don't forget the dozens of national parks, wildlife areas, and other nature escapes in North Georgia.

Details: For roughly 15 years, nature lovers have leaned on the parks division's Leaf Watch. Written by Hatcher, the website culls information from park rangers and Georgia Forestry Commission experts in the field.

  • Share your Instagram posts with the #GALeafWatch and #GAStateParks tags.

Hidden gems: Hatcher recommends Black Rock Mountain State Park in Rabun County (the high elevation makes for great colors and views); Victoria Bryant State Park in Franklin County (less frequented and along the Piedmont foothills); and, if you want to head southwest, F.D.R. State Park (low elevation but rich with hardwoods).

  • Ranger-led leaf watching trips are limited in size to encourage social distancing, and advanced registration is required.
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