Best Hikes in Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests (GA)

Best Hikes in Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests Overview

The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests are 2 separate national forests located in northern Georgia. In addition to the best hikes in Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests described below, the forest is also noted for the beginning (or end) of the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mountain.

Nearest Metro AreaAtlanta, GA
Area SizeJuly 9, 1936
Established866,468 acres
Hiking Trails850 miles

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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Best Hikes in Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests

(*** = Best hikes in Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests)

Anna Ruby Falls Trail – 0.8 miles out and back
Anna Ruby Falls
Anna Ruby Falls, Photo by ChattOconneNF

This trail is paved but relatively steep. Benches are located along the trail, and two observation decks offer a beautiful view of the twin falls of York and Curtis Creeks.

Blood Mountain Loop*** – 6.6 mile loop
View From Blood Mountain
View from Blood Mountain, Photo by Mikel Manitius

This loop trail is recommended counterclockwise, climbing up 1300′ in elevation in your first 2.5 miles to the summit of Blood Mountain. Then take the Freeman Trail back around to your starting point. Hikers will start out on the Appalachian Trail from the Neels Gap parking area. Views from the top of Blood Mountain are gorgeous.

Brasstown Bald – 1.2 miles out and back
Brasstown Bald Sunset
Brasstown Bald Sunset, Photo by Stephen Rahn

This steep, paved trail leads from the parking lot on Brasstown Bald Mountain to the Visitor Information Center at the summit. The summit of the bald is the highest point in Georgia, rising 4,784 feet above sea level.

Dukes Creek Trail – 2.5 miles out and back
Dukes Creek Falls
Dukes Creek Falls, Photo by ChattOconeeNF

This trail winds its way into Dukes Creek Gorge where it dead ends across from the 300-foot Dukes Creek Falls

High Shoals Falls Trail*** – 2.4 miles out and back
Upper High Shoals Creek Falls
Upper High Shoals Creek Falls, Photo by Stanislav Vitebskiy

This trail descends through a series of long switchbacks to a creek crossing, then follows the creek to viewing platforms at two waterfalls. People have been fatally injured climbing on the rocks around these waterfalls.

Mount Yonah Trail*** – 4.2 miles out and back
2012 Fall Color in the Chattahoochee National Forest
Early Morning View from Mt. Yonah, Photo by ChattOconeeNF

The Mount Yonah trail is easily accessible from Georgia Highway 75 between Cleveland and Helen. It’s a relatively short trail at 2.1 miles, but some sections of the trail are steep enough to get a good little workout. Just right if you just want to spend an hour or two outdoors. The trail leads to the top of Mt. Yonah and provides very scenic views of the mountains to the north.

Panther Creek Trail – 6.6 miles out and back
Panther Creek Falls (North Georgia)
Panther Creek Falls, Photo by Martin Bravenboer

This trail follows Panther Creek through stands of white pine and hemlock along steep, rocky bluffs of the creek. The trail passes a series of cascades and Panther Creek Falls. It terminates where Davidson Creek joins Panther Creek.

Raven Cliff Falls Trail – 5.4 miles out and back
Raven Cliffs Falls
Raven Cliff Falls, Photo by Milton

This trail is in the Raven Cliffs Wilderness Area. The trail follows cascading Dodd Creek upstream to the cliffs.

Springer Mountain Loop – 4.7 mile loop
Springer Mountain
Springer Mountain, Photo by Thomson20192

The Appalachian Trail begins, or ends, at Springer Mountain, located in North Georgia’s Fannin County . At the peak of Springer Mountain is a bronze plaque with the Appalachian Trail logo, a register for hikers to sign, and a benchmark. Springer can be reached by Forest Service Road 42, a 0.9 mile hike south to the summit of Springer Mountain. Then take Benton MacKaye Trail to Ball Mountain before returning to the trailhead. Given the popularity of being the start/end point of the AT, Springer Mountain can get pretty crowded.

Featured Image: Cool Springs Overlook, Photo by Thompson200

Don’t forget to stock up on the essentials before you plan your next hiking or camping trip! We have recommendations on: