Fall in North Georgia: Stunning Foliage Spots & Festivals

fall in north georgia

Vermont gets all the attention when it comes to “leaf-peeping,” but have you ever seen the fall colors of North Georgia? Probably not. More than likely, you’ve never even heard about the Georgia fall foliage. It’s a well-kept secret from those outside the area and beloved by those in the know.

Thanks to its lack of notoriety, you won’t need to book your accommodations a year in advance. You also won’t be dealing with bumper-to-bumper traffic or hour-long waits for breakfast.

North Georgia Fall Leaves Schedule 2021

Just after Labor Day, when the kids are back in school and the summer tourist season is coming to a close, is when everyone starts asking rangers, “When do the leaves change in North Georgia?” Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer as every year is different. The transformation begins once the nights are cool enough — cold but not yet freezing. For most areas, that’ll be around the end of October, though higher elevations start earlier, and some regions won’t see their colors arrive until mid-November.

Planning a trip to see fall in North Georgia can be a gamble because you won’t know when the leaves will turn with much certainty until a few weeks beforehand. That’s why it’s always a good idea to have a few locations to visit, at various elevations, so there’s always somewhere that’s getting colorful during your trip.

Best North Georgia Fall Foliage Spots

While camping would be the logical way to see North Georgia’s beautiful foliage spots, the cooler temperatures necessary for jump-starting the leaves’ transition make a night out under the stars a little too chilly. Instead, stay in the luxurious comfort at the Lake Rabun Hotel, centrally located in North Georgia’s forests. There’s no need to worry about staying warm here. Just be sure to stay up to date on the Georgia fall leaves schedule and where to get the best photos of that brilliantly pigmented foliage.

Tallulah Gorge State Park

Striking colors paired with unforgettable waterfalls make Tallulah Gorge State Park one of the best places to experience fall in North Georgia. The gorge is only fifteen minutes southwest of Lake Rabun Hotel and is one of the most popular attractions for our guests. The torrential surge of water cascading over five waterfalls creates an irresistible contrast with the radiant hues of gold, copper, and burgundy gently falling from the trees.

Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls — located in Lakemont, Georgia — is another eye-catching attraction during the fall in North Georgia. Getting to the gorgeous falls is only a short and kid-friendly four-mile hike away. During your hike, take in the vibrant golds, rusts, and red Georgia fall foliage. Minnehaha Falls cascades over a cliff and continues to Lake Rabun’s shore.

Plenty of fall colors can be found throughout the hike, so be sure to bring your camera to take some stunning photos of Mother Nature in action.

Russell-Brasstown National Scenic Byway

If hiking is not your cup of tea, you can drink in North Georgia’s beauty from the comforts of your vehicle on the Russell-Brasstown National Scenic Byway. This scenic drive runs for 41 miles between the charming Bavarian-themed town of Helen and Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s tallest mountain.

Along the way, the road climbs over 3,000 feet, allowing for both early season and mid-season foliage viewing. Should you decide to get out of the car and stretch your legs a little, the famed Appalachian Trail cuts right through the middle of the driving loop.

Raper Creek Falls

Just 30 minutes west of Lake Rabun Hotel lies Raper Creek Falls in Habersham County. This small but scenic waterfall is surrounded by colorful fall foliage starting in late October. In autumn, Raper Creek Falls’ natural beauty is at its peak. This waterfall area makes for a secluded, short hike on a steep trail. Be careful to watch for wet and slippery rocks from the spray of the falls.

The trees, with their falling leaves, create a scenic and picturesque landscape near the falls. You will be able to savor the charm of this hidden spot.

Panther Creek Falls

Near the eastern edge of Georgia, you will discover the enchanting Panther Creek Falls. This waterfall can be seen on an 11-mile hiking trail near Turnerville, Georgia. The red and orange leaves that make their appearance during fall in North Georgia can be seen at this relaxing oasis.

Take in the sounds of the rushing waterfall cascading down into the pool below and let the fall foliage center you. The array of fall colors you’ll see here will be worth the hike.

Vogel State Park

On the eastern edge of the Chattahoochee National Forest, an hour and a half northeast of Atlanta, Vogel State Park has something for everyone. Seasoned hikers can hit the Bear Hair Gap Trail, a four-mile loop trail that gains 900 feet and is one of the higher elevation spots in the state for enjoying the foliage. It’s perfect if you’re looking for early-season foliage changes.

If that’s more than you’re ready for, the Lake Loop encircles Lake Trahlyta and gains very little elevation. It’ll be more colorful later in the season, along with the enchanting roads around nearby Blairsville.

Enjoy the Fall Colors at Lake Rabun Hotel

After a long day of hiking, driving, and taking in the beauty of North Georgia’s fall foliage, you need a place to relax and recuperate. The Lake Rabun Hotel offers boutique lodging in the spectacularly scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. The beauty of fall in North Georgia is all around you as are some great amenities, including a spa, gourmet dining, and plenty of other adventures like horseback riding, ziplining, and fly fishing.

Make a reservation today and start planning your next trip to enjoy fall in North Georgia.

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