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Georgia Mountain Laurel Magazine

3 Georgia State Parks With Beautiful Trails Worth Exploring

Jul 05, 2016 06:57PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

Unicoi State Park Trail. Photo courtesy of Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Rabun County is surrounded by beauty, and getting outdoors is a great way to appreciate it. Below we have listed a few Georgia State Park trails in and around Rabun County that are worth exploring this summer!

Black Rock Mountain State Park

Georgia's highest state park encompasses some of the most outstanding scenery in Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Roadside overlooks provide spectacular 80-mile vistas, and four hiking trails lead visitors past wildflowers, streams, small waterfalls and lush forests. At an altitude of 3,640 feet, Black Rock Mountain is often cooler than other Georgia parks in the summertime.

Beginner hikers can catch a spectacular view of Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee from Black Rock Mountain State Park’s scenic overlook, and then drive down to Black Rock Lake for an easy 0.85-mile stroll on the Lake Loop Trail. Hikers will cross wooden bridges overlooking Taylor and Greasy Creek, and an 80-foot bridge spanning the southwest corner of Cricket Cove.  

For an advanced, strenuous hiking loop, hike the 7.2-mile Edmund C. Backcountry Trail. This trail climbs steeply to beautiful summits, including the summit of Lookoff Mountain that offers a stunning vista of Wolffork Valley and surrounding mountain ranges. In laurel-filled coves, the trail follows cascading streams with small waterfalls.


Tallulah Gorge State Park

Tallulah Gorge is one of the most spectacular canyons in the eastern U.S., at two miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep. Visitors can hike rim trails to several overlooks. Tallulah Gorge is part of the Canyon Climbers Club. Hikers go down and back up the 602 steps (both ways) to the suspension bridge that sways 80 feet above the rocky bottom of the gorge. 

Advanced hikers can obtain a free permit to hike to the gorge floor. By hiking either the Hurricane Falls Loop (2 miles) or Gorge Floor Loop (2.5 miles) climb down 1,099 metal stairs.  

For a more leisurely walk, hike the North and South Rim Trails (3 miles total) to see the gorge from above. The terrain is predominately flat with a mix of mulch and exposed roots.  

For animals' safety, pets are not allowed on the gorge floor or on any trail accessing the gorge. Leashed pets are welcome on rim trails.


Unicoi State Park


Nestled in the north Georgia mountains just outside Helen, Unicoi is one of Georgia’s most beloved state parks. 12 miles of trails range in distance. 

The easiest hike, Bottoms Loop Trail, wanders through hemlocks, mountain laurels and rhododendrons, and wildflowers. A few brook crossings are easy to navigate and the second half of the two-mile hike follows along Smith Creek. 

Avoid Oktoberfest crowds in Helen by hiking the pretty Unicoi/Helen 3-mile trail which leads from the park into town.  

One of the longer hikes it the Smith Creek Trail, which leads to Anna Ruby Falls Recreation Area. Be sure to park a shuttle as the trail is 4.8 miles one way on a U.S. Forest Service trail.

What is your favorite trail to explore? Let us know by contacting us!

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