December 26, 2018
The 5 Best State Parks in North Georgia
By: Ginevra Boyes
North Georgia is home to many incredible state parks offering countless opportunities for outdoor adventure. Some of the largest and oldest parks in the state are located an easy drive away from the Sylvan Valley Lodge & Cellars. Within these 5 state parks, you’ll find unbeatable hiking, cycling, fishing, swimming, and so much more. Add them to your itinerary for a trip around North Georgia you’ll never forget.
1. Vogel State Park
Vogel State Park is the second oldest state park in Georgia. Located at the base of Blood Mountain in the Chattahoochee National Forest, this 233-acre park offers 17 miles of hiking trails, including the popular 4-mile Bear Hair Gap Loop, which ends at the stunning Trahlyta Falls, and the challenging 13-mile Coosa Backcountry Trail. Vogel is also a great place for fishing, geocaching, and swimming. It is especially stunning in the fall, when the Blue Ridge Mountains are bursting with brilliant red, orange, and gold foliage.
2. Unicoi State Park
Unicoi State Park is one of the most popular parks in all of Georgia. Within this beautiful 1,050-acre park in the gorgeous mountains just outside of Helen, you’ll find waterfalls, mountain lakes, and many excellent hiking and biking trails. The scenic centerpiece of the park is Smith Lake, a 44-acre lake surrounded by a lush forest landscape that is perfect for fishing, swimming, or simply sunbathing on its pleasant sand beach shores. If you’d like to get your adrenaline pumping, take a zipline canopy tour with the Unicoi Aerial Adventure Park.
3. Cloudland Canyon State Park
Located on the western edge of Lookout Mountain, Cloudland Canyon State Park is one of the largest and most scenic parks in the state. Cloudland is famous for the sheer diversity of its landscapes, from thousand-foot deep canyons and caves to sandstone cliffs and cascading waterfalls. The park boasts 30 miles of biking trails, 64 miles of hiking trails, and 16 miles of horseback riding trails. It’s Cloudland Connector Trail is a particularly popular destination for mountain bikers. Unique among Georgia state parks, Cloudland also includes an 18-hole disc golf course.
4. Smithgall Woods State Park
Smithgall Woods State Park is considered one of the best places to fish in the state. Some even call it an “Angler’s Paradise.” Located on 5,664 stunning acres of hardwoods just 3 miles west of Helen, Smithgall Woods also boasts 28 miles of well-maintained trails for hiking and cycling. In addition, there are great opportunities for archery, birdwatching, and hunting.
5. Amicalola Falls State Park
At seven hundred and twenty-nine feet, Amicalola Falls is the tallest cascading waterfall in the entire southeastern United States. In addition to world-class hiking and sightseeing, Amicalola is filled with fun, unique offerings like a nightly storytime at their firepit, birds of prey demonstrations, survivalist camps, and zipline adventures.
Planning a trip to North Georgia’s state parks? Book a stay at The Sylvan Valley Lodge & Cellars, located in the charming alpine town of Helen near many of the best parks in the state.