By Alli Hill
Hiking during the winter in Georgia is a completely different experience than summertime walks in the woods. Aside from the obvious changes in temperature, those willing to brave the chillier air can expect amazing rewards that just aren’t possible in warmer months, like potentially frozen waterfalls and sweeping vistas that are typically obscured by plant life. You won’t want to miss your chance of experiencing these nine best winter hikes in Georgia!
Easily one of Georgia’s most scenic spots, the Waterfalls Trail takes you to a magical winter wonderland when temperatures drop. Tucked inside the Cloudland Canyon State Park, this trail leads you to two waterfalls that are often glistening in their frozen state during the winter. It’s a strenuous, two-mile hike, but the rewarding views are well worth the effort.
For an energizing hike with the best views of the Atlanta skyline, head to Kennesaw Mountain and make your way to the top. Switchbacks are frequent on this loop trail as you pass through Civil War battlefields. The low vegetation growth in the winter months make it easier to see the skyline as you climb to the summit, giving you fantastic views all along the way.
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Despite being in one of the chillier parts of the state, Raven Cliff Falls still boasts plenty of green signs of life during the winter. This 6.6-mile out-and-back hike takes you to beautiful Raven Cliff Falls that slices through a looming rock outcrop. If you’re looking for a backpack camping experiences, the banks of the stream have become a favorite spot for many.
Sweetwater Creek State Park features a number of great trails, but the White Trail is the historical one that takes you to the ruins of the old textile mill that burned during the Civil War. The White Trail intersects with several of the other trails in the park for you to make your hike as long or short as you like.
This trail is ideal for winter hikes because each of its loops offer excellent stand-alone day hikes. Pine Mountain’s historical significance makes it attractive to tourists, as there’s much to see and do both on and off the trails. You can get a permit to camp along the trail if the cold weather doesn’t bother you—and it does get quite chilly here!
This easy 1.5-mile loop inside General Coffee State Park gives you a great chance of glimpsing the protected Gopher tortoise and threatened Indigo snake. Winter is ideal for traveling this trail because it’s located in the driest area of the park, which makes it extremely hot during the summer.
Tucked in the southeastern corner of Georgia, Woodbine enjoys slightly warmer temperatures than the mountainous regions of North Georgia, which makes winter hiking here an obvious must-do. This small section of a growing rail trail allows hikers to travel on a defunct rail line that’s been transformed to the point where you may never have known that trains were once rules of this space.
This short one-mile trail is far from simple. Starting at the base of Stone Mountain, you’ll gain elevation with every step until you reach the top. People enjoy this steep set of steps year-round, but the lack of Georgia summer heat in the winter makes it a preferred time for many.
Tucked away in beautiful Sky Valley roars a 100-foot waterfall that you deserve to find. This one-mile trail is considered easy, offering mulched terrain all the way to the falls. You’ll need to come back the way you came, which adds another mile to your trip.