Fall Foliage Peaking in North GA Parks

Fall Foliage — Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Good news, Leaf Peepers!  This weekend the fall foliage is at its peak at several parks.

CLOUDLAND CANYON STATE PARK — October 16, 2012  —  Fall is here!

Many of the trees at the park seemed to have change overnight.  Both the east and west rims of the canyon are displaying wonderful and varied color.  Several sassafras trees along the Overlook Trail and in the day-use area are a brilliant orange.  The oaks around the Interpretive Center have changed to yellow, and maples all over the park are bright red.

The wildlife viewing/catfish pond area has two maples that are particularly showy and worth the hike down there.  In the field adjacent to the catfish pond one particular maple is pink!  The drive back to the west rim still provides a quick sampling of the fall colors as does the Overlook Trail for a quick hike.

FORT MOUNTAIN STATE PARK — October 15, 2012  —   The fall colors at Fort Mountain have really exploded in the last week and are being seen throughout the park, but we are not at peak yet.

The reds and burgundies of red maple, sourwood, and dogwoods are particularly vibrant.  Yellows of sugar maple, sassafras, and hickories are beginning to show their colors as well.

The Gahuti Backcountry Trail (8.2 miles) is a popular day hike this time of year.  Also, horseback rides can be scheduled by calling (706) 517-4906.


Everywhere you look you will see wonderful color, whether you’re hiking our trails, driving up to the lodge or campgrounds, or sitting on the lodge veranda with your fingers curled around a cup of hot cocoa!   Our rangers predict the weekend of October 20th will be peak viewing for our gorgeous Dogwood, Sourwood, Black Gum, and Maple reds, oranges and purples.

Although hints of golden bronze are evident in our Hickories, we feel that maximum yellow hues will be apparent the following weekend, October 27-28.   Meanwhile, remaining Tulip Poplar, Sycamore, Sassafras and grape leaves set off the reds with their yellow contributions.

Favorite area this weekend: The West Ridge Trail, an easy .3 mile walk to the bridge overlooking the water fall.  Don’t forget to stop and look at the wildflowers!

There’s also great news from Vogel State Park.

VOGEL STATE PARK — October 18, 2012  — It is like overnight, the colors have changed dramatically throughout Vogel State Park. It is certainly peak inside the park.

The mountains surrounding the park are close to peak color, if not peaking by this weekend and next week.  The hickories are now bright golds.  The Dogwood, Red Maple, Service Berry, Oak, Sweet Gum, Sourwood trees and many others are all showing colors of vivid reds, oranges/purples inside the park and the surrounding mountain sides.  The Beechnut, Eastern Redbud, Green Ash are very showy in their brilliant color of yellow/gold.  The Buckeye trees now have full colors of reds, oranges and yellows.

(Are you saying “Buckeye trees?  What the heck is a Buckeye tree?”  Maybe they just want to see if we’re paying attention.)

You can see these wonderful fall colors with your children and friends on the easy walk around the 1-mile Trahlyta Lake Trail.  From the dam you can really see some vivid colors from the mountain reflecting on Lake Trahlyta.  Take the waterfall spur trail at the dam to the viewing platform at the base of the falls to see the breathtaking colors adjacent to the waterfall.

Also there are two other trails that are moderate for families to hike.  One is the 1-mile Byron Herbert Reece Nature Trail with a couple of nice vistas to observe these beautiful fall colors.  The other trail is the 4-mile Bear Hair Gap Trail for the more adventurous families which is beautiful anytime.  But especially during the fall with the overlook viewing north back toward Vogel with Lake Trahlyta in the background.  You will ascend approximately 600 feet on this hike which provides several gorgeous vistas along the way.

Be sure to stop by the Visitors Center for a trail map of the trails that are connected to the park.

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