By Christine Tibbetts
Thinking peaches this fall as I consider leaf-peeping travel. New England woods and western mountain slopes always appeal in October but so does closer to home.
|Permits required to hike down into the canyon at Tallulah Gorge State Park, but viewing from above available to everyone!|
Road tripping from South Georgia to several state parks works for me.
“Leaf Watch 2017” helps track fall color as it moves across the Peach State. I’m considering trails, overlooks, special events and lodging (cabins, yurts and campsites) with info on www.GeorgiaStateParks.org/LeafWatch.
|Musing ought to accompany gazing with views like the ones at Vogel State Park.|
Park rangers say they’ll be posting to the Georgia State Parks Facebook page to update how color progresses at their parks; I like boots-on-the-ground reporting.
Here’s a cool idea the rangers make possible: Newbie campers can try the First Time Camper’s Program, where rangers assist with loaner tents and prepping the family for a night of camping.
For reservations or a free brochure, call 800-864-7275. GaStateParks.org/Reservations
Might plan ahead for 2018 too. Same season does fill up.
|Leaf-peeping with water is an added bonus in Georgia State Parks. Canoes add to the pleasure at Fort Mountain.|
Typically, Georgia’s mountain park leaves peak in late October; however, color can start earlier. Many years it lasts throughout November.
|Hike if you like, or prop your feet up on a rock ledge at Amicalola Falls State Park for the big view.|
Leaf-watching parks known best are Black Rock Mountain, Cloudland Canyon, Fort Mountain, Tallulah Gorge and Vogel. That means crowded.
Lesser-known but vibrant parks please you? Check out hardwoods and mossy rock gardens at F.D. Roosevelt State Park in near Columbus and deep orange cypress needles reflecting off a shimmering pond at George L. Smith State Park in Twin City. That’s southeast Georgia.
Fall Insider tip: Take the two-mile hike outside of Moccasin Creek to Hemlock Falls Trail at Lake Burton to experience a breath-taking waterfall photo op.
Water’s one way to narrow down location choices:
Amicalola Falls in Dawsonville is home to a 729-foot waterfall --- soundtrack for viewing the leaves of the north Georgia mountains.
Tallulah Gorge near Clayton hides six waterfalls in the bottom of a 1,000-foot-deep canyon. Get a permit to hike to the bottom for a close up look at the power of nature.
Cloudland Canyon near Chattanooga offers night hikes.
Reed Bingham near Adel features twilight pontoon boat rides.
Double the pleasure for me when I discover special events like guided hikes and paddles, fall festivals, Halloween hayrides and campground trick-or-treating. A list of events exists at www.GeorgiaStateParks.org/events.