The Best Parks in North Georgia
Finding the best parks in North Georgia isn't too hard, with the large and expansive Chattahoochee National Forest just minutes from the Blue Ridge area. But, there are other smaller or less-popular parks in the area that are perfect for your family to enjoy.
Chattahoochee National Forest
Photo Credit: Jeff Gunn via Flickr CC2.0
The Chattahoochee National Forest is by far the largest local attraction in North Georgia. This section is located in close proximity to the Blue Ridge area and is part of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests. These national forests compromise of almost 867,000 acres and span over 26 counties within Georgia. Rich in history and with nearly 850 miles of recreation trails, there is sure to be an attraction for any vacationers coming to the area. The Chattahoochee National Forest was proclaimed separate from Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests in 1936.
After the separation Forest managers worked hard to restore and rejuvenate the natural beauty of the area by planting trees, fighting wildfires, managing erosion, and improving habitats for fish and wildlife so they could return to productive and healthy populations. Now the area is world-renowned for its fishing as well as abundant recreation opportunities.
Within Chattahoochee National Forest you will find several popular attractions. With so many acres to cover any extensive exploration opportunities, we've highlighted several smaller attractions within the Chattahoochee National Forest:
Located near Blairsville, GA, Track Rock Petroglyphs offer a historic glance into Native American culture as you can view rock carvings and better understand the areas rich history.
If you're interested in venturing deep into the forest, you can make the hike to Springer Mountain which is located along the 76 miles within the Georgian section of the Appalachian Trail and denotes the southern terminus for both the Appalachian Trail and the Benton MacKaye Trail.
Located near Morganton, GA, Long Creek Falls offers a moderate hike along the Appalachian Trail with immaculate scenery and a stunning waterfall. The hike is a manageable two-mile trek and follows along Noontootla Creek, which has multiple smaller waterfalls.
Amicalola Falls State Park
Photo Credit Michael Hicks via Flickr CC2.0
Amicalola Falls State Park is unique in that it is identified as a state park but it's managed by North Georgia Mountains Authority and a hospitality group. Because of this, there are many opportunities for exciting adventures.
Amicalola is perfect for adrenaline-seekers with opportunities to partake in zip lining, climbing walls, and archery. If you're looking to connect more closely with nature they offer guides trail runs and hikes, survivalist camp, and classes on birds of prey.
In addition to organized classes and activities, the park hosts the tallest cascading waterfall East of the Mississippi, at 729 feet.
Fort Mountain State Park
Photo Credit: TranceMist via Flickr CC2.0
Fort Mountain State Park is located along a scenic route at the Southwestern end of the Cohutta Mountain range. Another area rich in early history, Fort Mountain is home to a mysterious stone wall over 850 feet in length.
There are still some questions around its origin, but it is believed to be developed by the Cherokee tribe for either fortification or ceremonial use. In addition to the stone wall, there is also a stone fire tower, recently rebuilt in 2015, which pays homage to the previous fire tower that assisted in forest fire prevention efforts. Fort Mountain also offers a 17 acre lake with a sand beach, swimming and water activities and rentals.
Hiking opportunities are aplenty at Fort Mountain, as well as horseback riding, each with more than 25 miles of trails.
Vogel State Park
Photo Credit: Neal Wellons via Flickr CC2.0
Vogel State Park is located within the Chattahoochee National Forest but is identified as its own separate park. It was established in 1931 and is one of Georgia's oldest State parks. This park is ideal for family trips with swimming, fishing, boating, hiking, and waterfall viewing opportunities.
Vogel State Park offers more than 230 acres of land with 17 miles of hiking trails. Several hiking trails have been outlined and they range from one hour to nine hours trip on foot. In addition there are opportunities for geocaching, playing miniature golf, and hosting special events such as weddings.
For a casual day at Vogel, relax on their sand beach, visit the museum, and pick up lunch at their general store. If you're feeling more adventurous, you can rent a paddle board, kayak, or aquacycle and experience the water from a different perspective.
Chief Vann House Historic Site
Photo Credit: J. Stephen Conn via Flickr CC2.0
If you're looking to connect with the early history of Georgia and the Cherokee Nation, the Chief Vann House is the perfect place to explore for the day. This historic site offers a glimpse into the life of James Vann, a Cherokee Indian leader, and a wealthy businessman.
The site includes the historic mansion, 137 acres of property, a nature trail and a guided house tour. In addition, they offer a rotation of seasonal historical exhibits on various subjects including Cherokee baskets, historical maps, and quilts.