Fall is in full swing. Who doesn’t love the smell of a campfire and the crunch of leaves underfoot? To experience autumn in its full glory, families in Atlanta head to the hills – the North Georgia Mountains, to “leaf peep” and attend down home festivals. To make the most of your day trip, here are some pointers on the best routes to take, a time frame for peak season in 2013, festivals and attractions, and some “leaf peeping” tips.
Each year, the Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources posts “Leaf Watch” to keep visitors informed on the fall color season. Below is the most recent post…
Even though it's mid-October, most trees (including maples and hickories) are still green, with some color here and there. Even sumac is still green. This summer's rain is causing some leaves to drop early, especially yellow poplars. However, sourwoods and dogwoods are turning red and sweetgum are turning purple. We expect the best fall color to come in a few weeks since peak is usually around the end of October or early November.
If you plan on loading up the minivan or SUV and heading to the North Georgia Mountains to “leaf peep,” below are some recommended driving routes.
- Russell-Brasstown National Scenic Byway
- Ridge and Valley Scenic Byway
- U.S. Highway 76 from Ellijay to all points east to the state line and South Carolina
- Georgia Highway 60 between Dahlonega and Blue Ridge
- Georgia Highway 52 between Chatsworth and Ellijay
- Georgia Highway 129 between Cleveland and Blairsville
- Georgia Highway 75 between Cleveland and Hiawassee
- Georgia Highway 197 from Clarkesville to U.S. Highway 76
- U.S. Highway 441 from the Baldwin and Cornelia area north to the state line with North Carolina
To further enjoy the wonders of the autumn season, there are numerous attractions, farms, mazes and pumpkin patches scattered throughout the North Georgia Mountains. Below are a few of the most popular.
- Amicalola Falls State Park
- Wildlife Rehab Sanctuary in Ellijay
- Chestatee Wildlife Preserve in Dahlonega
- Burt’s Pumpkin Farm and Hay Rides
- Hillcrest Orchards Petting Farm, Bakery and Farm Store
For more family fall fun in the North Georgia Mountains, be sure to check out the popular Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay this weekend. This year marks the 42nd anniversary of the festival that features over 300 vendors with handmade, handcrafted items, as well as many on-site demonstrations. The festival is open from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19 and 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20.
Before heading out to enjoy the wonders of fall in the North Georgia Mountains, be sure to pack:
- A sweater or jacket
- A hat
- Good walking shoes
- Snacks or a picnic lunch
- Camera, camcorder and binoculars
Again, peak leaf viewing in the North Georgia Mountains is right around the corner, so make plans now for a fall family adventure. Brasstown Bald is Georgia’s highest viewing point, located at 4,784 feet above sea level. It’s also home to some of the best hiking trails in North Georgia. With spectacular, sweeping views, it’s the perfect destination to view the fall colors at their peak.
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