I am, and forever will be, an island girl. When I think of the ideal place to be, I picture the wind combing through my hair, the salty smell of the ocean, and the sound of waves crashing against the shore.
Even so, I openly confess to being charmed by the evergreen woodlands of Georgia. There is no state I know half so well, no other state whose trails I’ve hiked from north to south, no other state where when people ask me for hiking recommendations, I needn’t hesitate.
So this year, though I took a few trips out-of-state, I nonetheless took the time to explore our local trails. Here are my top five Georgia hiking trails of 2017.
5. Constitution Lakes
Located inside the Atlanta perimeter, Constitution Lakes feels very much a part of the suburbs, south of the city. Once inside, one is immediately immersed into the woods. This is not one of those parks where you can expect to hear highway traffic a few feet away.
I first visited in Constitution Lakes in the summer of 2016. Though I generally have a rule against revisiting trails, I nonetheless returned in the fall of this year. The trail wore fall well, though the cloudy sky completely ruins the digital rendition of what I saw.
My favourite feature about Constitution Lakes is the boardwalks weaving its way through the swamp. It’s wide enough for two to pass, with no rails. I wonder how many people have fallen into that swamp…
4. Mason Mill
Also located inside the Atlanta perimeter, Mason Mill is a pocket of forestry in the heart of Decatur. The trail features woodlands, rivers, and hillsides leading up to train tracks. Some of the trails are paved, some are steps, and much of it is dirt trails.
What I loved most about Mason Mill is the small beaches following the river, and the steps leading down to them. Waterscapes is the way to my heart on a trail.
3. Red Top Mountain
Red Top Mountain is located roughly 40 miles from the city of Atlanta, and is well-worth the drive if you’re eager for a summertime swim. Needless to say, my favourite thing about this trail is the obvious opportunity for water sports.
If swimming isn’t enough to keep you occupied, then this is also a great place for paddle-boarding, kayaking, and yachting. The bottom of the river is muddy silt, and the water is not clear, but if you can get past this, you’ll be fine.
2. Deepdene Park
So, until I started working on this list, I mistakenly believed this park was called Depende Park. That was the name a local had referred to it by, and I never questioned it. It took me about an hour to go through social media and this blog to correct the name!
That said, this is my favourite city trail. The park is in a lovely neighbourhood by a busy main road, and gets lots of foot traffic; making it a perfect hiking spot for first-time solo-hikers. This was the second park I ever hiked by myself.
What I loved about this trail were the steps leading into and out of streams throughout the parks. It was a lovely and unexpected surprise that I never tired of.
1. Amicalola Falls
Amicalola Falls had been sitting on my hiking wishlist alongside Tallulah Gorge, since 2016. In the summer of 2017, I finally had the opportunity to visit when one of my friends invited me to tag along.
The climb was more difficult than I had first anticipated, but it was well worth the sweat, blood, and tears. The falls was absolutely stunning, and at 729 feet is the most majestic waterfall I have ever seen.
While I don’t find it more beautiful than Cloudland Canyon, it is nonetheless the best thing I laid eyes on in Georgia in 2017.
Have you ever been hiking in Georgia, especially around the Atlanta area? What were some of the trails you visited? Which one was your favourite?
28 thoughts on “My Top 5 Georgia Trails of 2017”
Can’t believe you omitted that great monument to stubbornness–Stone Mountain.
Haha, that’s exactly why it needs to be omitted. I’ve never gone hiking there. It just seems like such a stereotypical hiking spot for Atlanta.
I definitely envy you because El Paso is a border town that sits most of the year hot and dry in the Texas southwest desert. I love the water and greenery in your photos.
I love the desert though! Next week’s list will be my top 5 trails all across the US, so you’ll see some desert trails there 🙂
Never been hiking in Texas before, but I’ve been dying to see Hamilton Pools!
I’ll trade you. Texas for Georgia. Although, I did enjoy Hueco Tanks.
Haha, the racism in Texas is a bit too much for me 😂 Atlanta is a blue city in a red state and that’s bad enough. I can’t imagine El Paso!
Cali is where I’d love to go! I really want to see Oregon and Utah as well. Utah is on my spring list for next year. 😄
Oh, c’mon Alexis. Texas racism has its charm–it doesn’t discriminate and El Paso is also a blue city in a red state.
Is it? I don’t know 🤔 My White friends always told me to stay as far away from Texas as possible. I passed through, but never lingered.
I love #1 and #4. Thanks
Awesome! Have you hiked them before, or just plan on going someday?
I plan to. I haven’t done them before
Awesome! I really want to go hiking in Canada next summer, but I also want to be near the beaches. Any advice?
well If you are in the West. It depends Alberta or British Columbia. BC has Ocean so some beaches if you stay to the coast. Alberta has amazing hikes through the rockies and lower in Waterton National Park. but not beaches. If you got Ontario you got beaches along the great lakes and great hikes in in norther Ontario and Algonquin Park in south. Quebed has IAT trail and some beaches but northern qc would be cold water to swim in. Atlantic Canada my areas I did a story on the summer of the beach. WE are called the ocean playground. Fundy trail is world famous and you are on the coast. also the International Appalachian Trail and Trans Canada Trails, is all through the provinces. I have several hike on my blog.
I know. I saw the hikes on your blog. That’s why I asked. Figured you would have some experience and some excellent advice, which you did! Canada is so big. I wasn’t sure where to go.
Thanks again for sharing that!
Glad I can help. So much to see so little time that is why I am focusing on the Maritime Provinces with my blog. I may never get to Singapore, but I can get to Sussex.
I know what you mean! That’s why I’ve been seeing as much of the states as I can. Even Jamaica is a tiny island and there’s so much I haven’t seen despite living there for 25 years!
I want to see the old fort area in Jamaica that went under water with a great earth quake and mud slide
Oh, it’s called Port Royal. You can go across to the beach, but I don’t think they allow people to dive or snorkel there because of our national treasures. They wouldn’t even allow Disney to film Pirates of the Caribbean there. Very protective!
Oh I don’t dive, but across the beach be ok
I snorkel, so I would love to go snooping there, but probably not allowed either haha.
Kingston (or near it) isn’t really a part of the island you should be venturing to by yourself, however. We tell tourists to stay on the north coast and the west.
So if you end up going, I hope you have a local to go with you! Or go with an official tour to Port Royal. Pretty sure they have some. 😊
Oh, Alexis, you’re making me homesick. Christmas trip to mom’s can’t come soon enough😍
Glad I’m giving you a lot to look forward to! Whereabouts does she live? Is she near the city itself?
Mom is in Winder, younger brother in Cumming, baby sister in Alpharetta (which is where we grew up)
Well if you head into the city, let me know I’ll be traveling 18th to 22nd though.
I’ll be there late the 24th through 27th (I think)
I’ll be arriving late the 23rd (sunshine just had to remind me what the plan was lol)
Haha, well keep me in the loop. I’m not sure what my family will be up to on that day, but maybe we’ll cross paths!