The 10 Best North Georgia State Parks

The 10 Best North Georgia State Parks

Growing up in a lower middle class family in metro Atlanta, the north Georgia mountains were our playground.

My parents led the youth group at our church when I was a young boy, and I can recall countless trips hiking and camping on Blood Mountain, Springer Mountain, and Brasstown Bald (the highest point in the state of Georgia).

As an adult, I honed my skills as a budding photographer in the north Georgia State Parks, hiking there often with my dogs. Long before we became world travelers, Unicoi State Park, Amicalola Falls, and Cloudland Canyon were my weekend stomping grounds.

So here’s a look at our Top 10 State Parks in North Georgia, including an overview of our favorite activities and attractions and the available accommodations in each.

10 Best North Georgia State Parks

  1. Amicalola State Park & Lodge
  2. Black Rock Mountain State Park
  3. Cloudland Canyon State Park
  4. Fort Mountain State Park
  5. James H. Floyd State Park
  6. Moccasin Creek State Park
  7. Smithgall Woods State Park
  8. Tallulah Gorge State Park
  9. Unicoi State Park & Lodge
  10. Vogel State Park
Amicalola State Park - North Georgia State Parks
Amicalola Falls

Amicalola State Park & Lodge

418 Amicalola Falls Road

Dawsonville, GA 30534

Reservations: 1-800-573-9656

Entry Fee: $5 GA State Park Pass or $50 Annual Park Passes are available

https://www.amicalolafallslodge.com

Amicalola Falls State Park is located in the Chattahoochee National Forest, just eight miles away from the southern end of the Appalachian Trail.

It’s home to the highest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River, and has no shortage of beautiful scenery.

Things to Do in Amicalola Falls State Park

The park has 10 different hiking trails, with three of them giving you the best views of the 729-foot Amicalola Waterfall.

These include the wheelchair accessible West Ridge Falls Access Trail, the one-mile East Ridge Trail, and the popular New Appalachian Approach trail.

This includes a 1-mile hike to the falls overlook, and then 7.5 miles to Springer Mountain– the southernmost point of the Appalachian Trail.

Aside from taking in the breathtaking views of the north Georgia mountains, the Amicalola Falls Lodge also offers visitors a multitude of activities (for an additional charge).

These include birds of prey demonstrations, live regional reptile exhibits, guided hikes, and some of the best ziplining in Georgia.

Amicola Falls State Park Cabin Rentals via GaStateParks.org
Amicola Falls State Park Cabin

Amicalola Falls State Park Lodging

Amicalola Falls State Park offers some of the coziest cabins in north Georgia, each of which are pet-friendly and include their own living and kitchen areas.

The cabins are located at two sites, Wooded Mountain Top and Creek Side Below the Falls.

The Amicalola Lodge offers accommodations ranging from mountainview lofts to several suite options, all of which provide modern amenities such as central air, Wi-Fi, and spectacular views.

There are also 24 wooded campsites located on the state park’s premises, accommodating tent camping and RVs. Water, power, and picnic tables are all offered as well as a grill and fire ring at each campsite.

Sunset at Black Rock Mountain State Park, North Georgia
Sunset at Black Rock Mountain State Park via GAstateparks.org

Black Rock Mountain State Park

3085 Black Rock Mountain Parkway

Mountain City, GA 30562

Reservations: 800-864-7275

Entry Fee: $5 State Park Pass or $50 annual Park Passes are available

https://gastateparks.org/BlackRockMountain

Standing tall on the Eastern Continental Divide, Black Rock Mountain reaches altitudes of 3,640 feet, making it Georgia’s highest state park.

Offering some of the most outstanding views of the Blue Ridge Mountains all year-round, this is truly a must-see north Georgia attraction.

Things to Do in Black Rock Mountain State Park

There are five main hiking trails in Black Rock Mountain State park, ranging in length from the .10-mile Norma Campbell Cove Trail to the 7.2-mile James E. Edmond Trail.

The most popular is the 2.2-mile Tennessee Rock Trail, which takes you through some of the park’s highest forests. The exceptional views there span nearly 80 miles into North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Fishing and kayaking/canoeing in Black Rock Lake, geocaching, and shopping at the Summit Visitor Center’s gift shop are also popular activities.

Black Rock Mountain State Park Cabin Rental via GAStateParks.org
Black Rock Mountain State Park Cabin Rental

Black Rock Mountain Lodging

Cabin rentals are available in the state park that can hold a maximum of 8 to 10 people. Each of these north Georgia cabins offers 2 to 3 bedrooms, a kitchen, and a living area.

There are also 12 walk-in campsites and 44 tent, trailer, and RV campsites, offering both pull-through and back-in driveways.

Cloudland Canyon State Park - North Georgia
Cloudland Canyon Scenic Overlook

Cloudland Canyon State Park

122 Cloudland Canyon Park Road

Rising Fawn, GA 30738

Reservations: 800-864-7275

Entry fee: $5 State Park Pass or $50 annual Park Passes are available

https://gastateparks.org/CloudlandCanyon

Cloudland Canyon is one of the largest state parks in Georgia, with 3,538 acres of lush woodlands, thousand-foot-deep canyons, sandstone cliffs, and other breathtaking terrain.

Things to Do in Cloudland Canyon State Park

There is no shortage of activities in Cloudland Canyon, including 30 miles of biking trails (bike rentals are available), 16 miles of horseback riding trails, a fishing pond, and an 18-hole disc golf course.

Of course, the main attraction here is the park’s 64 miles of gorgeous north Georgia hiking trails.

Some of the most popular hikes include the one-mile Overlook trail, the two-mile Waterfalls Trail (which leads to both Cherokee and Hemlock Falls), and the six-mile Sitton’s Gulch Trail, which is scattered with beautiful wildflowers in March and early April.

Cloudland Canyon State Park Yurt Rental via GAStateParks.org
Cloudland Canyon State Park Yurt Rental 

Cloudland Canyon State Park Lodging

Cloudland Canyon State Park offers numerous cottages with 2 to 3 bedrooms that can house up to 8 people.

But if you’re looking for a more unique place to stay, they also offer 10 fully furnished Yurts that can hold up to 6 people.

The park has 72 tent, trailer, and RV campsites with pull-through and back-in driveways. There are also 30 tent-only walk-in campsites, 13 backcountry campsites, and 4 pioneer campsites.

For private events with larger numbers of people, there’s also a group shelter that seats 175 and a group lodge that sleeps up to 40 people.

Fort Mountain State Park in North Georgia via GAStateParks.org
Fort Mountain State Park, photo via GAStateParks.org

Fort Mountain State Park

181 Fort Mountain Park Road

Chatsworth, GA 30705

Reservations: 800-864-7275

Entry Fee: $5 State Park Pass or $50 annual Park Passes are available

https://gastateparks.org/FortMountain

Situated on land that belonged to the Cherokee Indians for hundreds of years, Fort Mountain State Park is encompassed in magnificent natural beauty, offering some of the most beautiful and historical hiking trails in north Georgia.

Things to Do in Fort Mountain State Park

One of the most notable parts of Fort Mountain State Park is the ancient, 855-foot-long stone rock wall located near the crest of the mountain.

It is believed to have been built by early indigenous Americans as a defense fortification, and/or possibly for spiritual and ceremonial purposes.

Another piece of Georgia history located within the park is the stone fire tower that was first built in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, which allowed rangers to see fires from up to 40 miles away.

It can be reached by hiking the one-mile CCC Fire Tower Trail. An open house of the tower is available every Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 pm.

Mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, kayak/canoeing, and miniature golf are also popular activities, and there’s a lakeside beach for swimming during summer.

Fort Mountain State Park Cabin Rentals via GaStateParks.org
Fort Mountain State Park Cabin Rentals, via GaStateParks.org

Fort Mountain State Park Lodging

Overnight lodging in Fort Mountain State Park is available at fully furnished 2- to 3-bedroom cottages, as well as walk-in, platform, pioneer, and backcountry campsites.

There are also 70 tent, trailer, and RV campsites with pull-through or back-in driveways (some of which are seasonal), as well as one group shelter that seats 80 people.

James H Floyd State Park, North Georgia Mountains via GAStateParks.org
Marble Mine in James H Floyd State Park, via GAStateParks.org

James H. Floyd State Park

2800 Sloppy Floyd Lake road

Summerville, GA 30747

Reservations: 800-864-7275

Entry Fee: $5 State Park Pass or $50 annual Park Passes are available

https://gastateparks.org/JamesHFloyd

Named after former Georgia Representative James H. “Sloppy” Floyd (who grew up in the area), this serene state park is nestled in between gorgeous rural countryside and the Chattahoochee National Forest.

Things to Do in James H. Floyd State Park

The park has two stocked lakes that are perfect for fishing and boating. There are rental services available for kayaks, canoes, and pedal boats, while private boats are allowed with electric motors only.

The park has five miles of hiking trails. These include the scenic Marble Mine Trail (which takes you to the entrance of the abandoned mine) and the Upper and Lower Lake Loop Trails (which follow the lake’s boardwalk and extend through elegant wooded hillsides).

James H Floyd State Park Cabin Rentals, North Georgia Mountains via GAStateParks.org
James H Floyd State Park Cabin Rentals, via GAStateParks.org

James H. Floyd State Park Lodging

The park offers two-bedroom cottages as well as backcountry campsites and tent, trailer, and RV campsites with pull-through or back-in driveways.

Picnic shelters are also available, as well as a pioneer campground that can be reserved through calling the park at the number listed above.

Moccasin Creek State Park, North Georgia Mountains
Moccasin Creek State Park

Moccasin Creek State Park

3655 Highway 197

Clarkesville, GA 30523

Reservations: 800-864-7275

Entry Fee: $5 State Park Pass or $50 annual Park Passes are available

https://gastateparks.org/MoccasinCreek

Known as the place where spring spends summer, Moccasin Creek State Park sits on the shore of Lake Burton.

It’s positioned on relatively flat ground compared to most north Georgia state parks, making it a great site for large RV navigation, biking, and people in wheelchairs.

Things to Do in Moccasin Creek State Park

The 2,800-acre Lake Burton is the main attraction at Moccasin Creek State Park, and is a perfect place for fishing and boating. Kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards can be rented at the lake as well.

There is also a unique fishing pier located above a creek that is ADA accessible. It’s only open to those aged 65+, 11 and younger, and people of any age with a Georgia disability fishing license.

Three miles of hiking trails wind throughout the park, offering beautiful views of the landscape. There’s also a wildlife observation tower, where you can try to catch a glimpse of the diverse array of animals that live in the park.

Moccasin Creek State Park Camping, North Georgia Mountains
Moccasin Creek State Park Camping, via GAStateParks.org

Moccasin Creek State Park Lodging

One of the best parks for RV camping in north Georgia (due to its flat terrain), Moccasin Creek has 53 campsites that are open to RVs, tents, and trailers. There’s also a picnic shelter that can fit 30 people and is ADA accessible.

Smithgall Woods State Park, North Georgia Mountains
Smithgall Woods State Park, via GAStateParks.org

Smithgall Woods State Park

61 Tsalaki Trail

Helen, GA 30545

Reservations: 800-864-7275

Entry Fee: $5 State Park Pass or $50 annual Park Passes are available

https://gastateparks.org/SmithgallWoods

Originally used for hydraulic gold mining during the 19th century, the land that is now protected as Smithgall Woods State Park was gifted to the state of Georgia by conservationist Charles A. Smithgall, Jr.

Today it’s considered one of the best north Georgia parks, offering beautiful hiking trails, great fishing, and all kinds of outdoor activities.

Note that all visitors must register at the Visitors Center before entering the park.

Things to Do in Smithgall Woods State Park

Dukes Creek, which runs through Smithgall Woods State Park, is considered one of north Georgia’s best trout streams. It’s a prime location for catch-and-release fishing.

The park offers 28 miles of hiking trails. These include the Ash Creek Trail, which takes you wading through Dukes Creek, and Wetland Loop Trail, which passes by a boardwalk and deck that are perfect for bird watching (another popular activity in the park).

Archery and hunting are also available (with advance reservations) during specific days and times.

Smithgall Woods State Park Cabin Rentals, North Georgia Mountains
Smithgall Woods State Park Cabin Rentals, via GAStateParks.org

Smithgall Woods State Park Lodging

Along with picnic shelters and a pioneer campground that can be reserved for youth and conservation groups, the park has six fully furnished cottages.

Each comes with a telephone and television, and is positioned along a one-mile trail leading to Dukes Creek.

Tallulah Gorge State Park, North Georgia Mountains
Tallulah Gorge State Park, via @GAStateparks.org

Tallulah Gorge State Park

338 Jane Hurt Yarn Drive

Tallulah Falls, GA 30573

Reservations: 800-864-7275

Entry Fee: $5 State Park Pass or $50 annual Park Passes are available. Free permits are also required to visit the gorge floor, and are limited to 100 per day.

https://gastateparks.org/TallulahGorge

Tallulah Gorge State Park is home to some of the most spectacular waterfalls in north Georgia.

It also offers hiking trails across rugged terrain and a stunning, 1,000-foot canyon carved by the Tallulah River.

In short, this park is filled with plenty of awe-inspiring natural beauty and opportunities for outdoor adventure.

Things to Do in Tallulah Gorge State Park

There are 20 miles of hiking trails throughout the park, including the Gorge Floor Trail, which requires a permit and takes you to the bottom of the Tallulah Gorge.

If you do take this remarkable trek, be sure to carry plenty of water, as the bottom of gorge can get extremely hot on sunny days.

Hikers can also follow rim trails to scenic overlooks and cross a suspension bridge that is 80 feet high, offering some of the best views in the park.

The Tallulah River is known as a prime location for kayaking and canoeing. During specific times of the year, they open to dam to offer excellent white-water rafting opportunities!

Tallulah Gorge State Park Camping, North Georgia Mountains
Tallulah Gorge State Park Camping, via GAStateparks.org

Tallulah Gorge State Park Lodging

In terms of Tallulah Gorge lodging, there are 50 campsites for tent, trailers, and RVs that have pull-through or back-in driveways.

There is also a pioneer campsite that can hold up to 25 people, and three backcountry Adirondack shelters throughout the park.

Unicoi State Park, North Georgia Mountains
Fishing in Unicoi State Park, via GaStateParks.org

Unicoi State Park & Lodge

1788 Highway 356

Helen, GA 30545

Reservations: 1-800-573-9659

Entry Fee: $5 State Park Pass or $50 annual Park Passes are available

https://www.unicoilodge.com

Surrounded by magnificent Georgia mountains, lovely towns, and countless adventures, the Unicoi State Park & Lodge promises an expansive outdoor recreation experience.

The park offers everything from kayaking in the Chattahoochee River to some of the best hikes in north Georgia.

Things to Do in Unicoi State Park & Lodge

The Unicoi hiking trails are open all year-round, taking you through some of the most scenic parts of the park.

Some of the most popular include Bottoms Loop Trail (which passes by remnants of an old homestead), the Lake Trail (which winds around Unicoi Lake), and the Smith Creek Trail (which stretches from the state park campground to the Anna Ruby Falls Recreation Area).

Other fun activities in the park include archery, an air gun range, a GPS scavenger hunt, guided nature hikes, fly fishing classes, guided kayaking, and paddle boarding classes.

For more info, contact the park’s activity department.

Unicoi State Park Cabin Rentals, North Georgia Mountains
Unicoi State Park Cabin Rentals, via GaStateParks.org

Unicoi State Park Lodging

The Unicoi State Park & Lodge offers top-of-the-line north Georgia cabin rentals, each of which offer easy access to the park’s hiking trails, streams, and lake.

These cozy cabins boast 1 to 3 bedrooms and are pet friendly. Certain cabins are also  ADA accessible.

The Unicoi Lodge has guest rooms available ranging from King rooms to double Queen  and loft rooms. Each offers amenities such as Wi-Fi and cable TV.

The park also has many campsites for RV and tent camping, each of which includes water, power, a fire ring, grill, sewer, and dump station nearby.

Trahlyta Falls in Vogel State Park, North Georgia Mountains
Trahlyta Falls in Vogel State Park, photo by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

Vogel State Park

405 Vogel State Park Road

Blairsville, GA 30512

Reservations: 800-864-7275

Entry Fee: $5 State Park Pass or $50 annual Park Passes are available

https://gastateparks.org/Vogel

Established in 1931, Vogel is one of the oldest north Georgia state parks. Many of its buildings were constructed during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

With its dynamic landscapes and gorgeous views, Vogel is still thriving today. Nearly 90 years after its creation, it remains one of the most visited parks in north Georgia.

Things to Do in Vogel State Park

Vogel State Park offers 17 miles of hiking trails.

The popular Trahlyta Lake Trail crosses an earthen dam created by the CCC in 1935, while the Bear Hair Gap Trail takes you through the lower ridges of Blood Mountain and one of our favorite north Georgia waterfalls, Trahlyta Falls.

Other fun activities in the park include visiting the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum and renting kayaks, stand up paddle boards, pedal boats, and bikes.

Vogel State Park Cabin Rentals, North Georgia Mountains
Vogel State Park Cabin Rentals, via GAStateParks.org

Vogel State Park Lodging

There are plenty of options for overnight stays in Vogel Park, including 1 to 2 bedroom cottages, walk-in campsites, and RV-accessible campsites with pull-through or back-in driveways.

There is also a pioneer campsite that holds 50 people.  Christina Maggitas & Bret Love

Growing up in rural south Georgia, Christina Maggitas developed a love for nature at a young age and spent the majority of her formative years outdoors. Since first visiting the Great Smokey Mountains with her family as a child, she has always admired the beauty of the Blue Ridge region and spends as much time as she can hiking north Georgia. She has a passion for writing and storytelling with the hopes of inspiring others to enjoy the great outdoors. Currently, Christina is a senior at Kennesaw State University where she is studying Journalism and Emerging Media.