Get outside over the Thanksgiving holidays to enjoy the fall weather and take in the scenery at Georgia’s parks and trails. Below are a few easy-to-get-to spots for Thanksgiving and day after Thanksgiving hikes.
Nine miles of hiking trails wind through the woods near the rapids of Sweetwater Creek. The 2-mile out-and-back History Hike winds near the banks of Sweetwater Creek for a mile before reaching the impressive New Manchester Mill ruins. The hike is easy, with some gradual climbs and many beautiful views. Energetic trailblazers extend this hike by continuing along the white trail at the intersection near the ruins. The white trail adds several miles of more challenging, rocky terrain before turning away from the creek and leading hikers back to the visitor center.
Red Top Mountain State Park Sweet Gum Loop
Red Top Mountain offers 15 miles of hiking and biking trails with an additional paved, ADA-accessible trail. The scenic trails lead visitors through the woods over moderate terrain to view historic and natural sites. Sweet Gum Loop is perfect for families. This relatively easy 3.5-mile hike through the woods connects with the paved Lakeside Trail, featuring lake views for a short distance. Explore more of the lakeshore on the 5.5-mile Homestead Trail, or bring mountain bikes to ride nearly 4 miles on Iron Hill.
Chattahoochee River NRA Island Ford Loop
The Island Ford Unit of Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area features a 3-mile loop beginning with a long walk near the banks of the river. The trail passes several interesting rock outcrops that make fun photo ops. Keep the hike easy by making the return trip along this riverside stretch of trail, or extend the hike by gradually climbing into the forest along the loop.
The Falls Trail begins with a short walk to a sweeping view of the falls tumbling over rock outcroppings in the Towaliga River. Following the loop for just over a mile takes hikers from the falls through the forest, where the trail climbs in elevation. Hikers looking for more also visit the history trail on the other side of the river. The history trail offers two more miles of hiking and includes the remains of an old hydroelectric power plant.
Little Ocmulgee’s Oak Ridge Trail offers a fascinating look at the threatened longleaf pine ecosystem. The relatively flat sandhill terrain makes this an easy 2-mile hike with virtually no elevation change. A boardwalk about halfway into the loop leads visitors onto the blackwater streams for tranquil, mesmerizing walk among tupelo and bay trees.
Paved trails in every Georgia region
From the Silver Comet to the Atlanta BeltLine, Georgia features paved multi-use trails in every region. These paths make up some of the longest, easiest stretches of trail in the state, catering to pedestrians and bikers. Many of these paved trails offer wooded areas, landscape views, and unique sights along the way.