12 Spectacular Spots for Fall Colors
Blue Ridge has so many spots to enjoy the splendor of fall colors. Here are a dozen special places to experience the beauty…
Lake Blue Ridge Recreation Day Use Area
Here’s a quiet spot with great paved walkways that make for easy strolls and biking. Open every day, the trails wind close to Lake Blue Ridge through thick mixed hardwood forest. It’s right off Aska Road. Please be careful if biking here in the middle of leaf season after a rain… fallen leaves can be slick on the pavement. Download free map here.
This scenic, twisting two-lane road through farms, nature and wilderness in Fannin County makes for a leisurely drive south from Blue Ridge. There are many stops along the way and many jaw dropping forest scenes and farm scapes painted in fall colors.
Three Forks Area
For those with a 4-wheel drive vehicle, this area of the Chattahoochee National Forest has it all. The drive along Noontootla Creek has tumbling waters, lush forested mountainsides and access to some of the prime natural attractions in the whole southeastern USA… the start of the famous Appalachian Trail on Springer Mountain, the Chattahoochee National Fish Hatchery and Long Creek Falls, just to name a few. Download free map here.
Springer Mountain and the AT
From Three Forks you can begin a 3 mile uphill hike to the beginning of the 2,200 mile long Appalachian Trail. For a less strenuous experience, it’s possible to drive past Three Forks to the parking lot at Springer Mountain and hike a short trail to the terminus. The views, in a word, are breathtaking. Download free map here.
The Cohutta Wilderness
The rugged wilderness in the Cohutta is best experienced by seasoned backpackers and hikers, but you can get a good taste of its beauty in a sturdy 4-wheel drive vehicle. Try Jacks River Fields, or try hiking down to Jacks River from Dally Gap. Cell phone service and GPS can be spotty, and you should be prepared for a serious wilderness adventure when heading into the Cohutta Wilderness. Download free map here.
Rich Mountain Wilderness
A hidden treasure off Aska Road (turn at Stanley Creek Road near the Toccoa River Restaurant to Rock Creek Road). Another access point is the Aska Trails Area, where you can climb into the thick mixed hardwood forest and views across the Rich Mountain Wilderness. The Benton MacKaye Trail also crosses through Aska Trails, for those wanting to combine your adventure with a longer hike.
Deep Roots Orchard
A one-of-a-kind authentic Appalachian experience near McCaysville, Deep Roots Orchard offers a small step back in time. Bonfires, local music, wildflower fields, fruit orchards, wagon rides, farm tours, picnics, U-pick, festivals, outdoor movies, yoga, workshops and classes await you throughout the year. Luke, the local herbalist, creates tinctures, essential oils and herb bundles from locally grown Appalachian bounty and his grandma’s traditions.
Mercier Orchards is the South’s largest apple orchard and family owned farm is a beehive of activity in fall, with apple crops coming in and a huge variety of delicious, locally grown apples. The orchard has temporarily suspended U-Pick events, but you can still stroll through the orchards and peruse the market to purchase bulk apples, the best pies, all kinds of cute souvenirs and more. Locals tip: the bakery alone is worth the trip!
The highest mountain in Georgia at 4,784 feet above sea level, is one of the most magnificent places to experience 360 degree views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. In fall the colors sweep out in vistas literally hundreds of miles across. You reach the summit by driving up the mountain in a twisty paved access road, then you can hike from the huge parking lot to the summit and visitor center deck, or in season, take a shuttle. The trip to Brasstown Bald is a real memory maker, to be experienced in solitude or shared with loved ones. Download free map here.
Toccoa River Rapids
About halfway down Aska Road a pull-off along the Toccoa River provides a scenic rush of whitewater, and in fall, drifting colorful leaves on one of north Georgia’s most scenic rivers. You can take a picnic and sit on the rocks along the river, almost in the middle of the rapids.
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
Always a crowd pleaser for families and couples alike, The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway offers fall leaf viewing trips. The route north follows the Toccoa River and winds through pristine farmland until it reaches McCaysville, GA and Copper Hill, TN for a lunch and strolling stop before heading back to the Depot in Blue Ridge.
Ada Street to Curtis Switch
From downtown Blue Ridge, the start of Ada Street winds through scenic countryside views all the way out to another section of the Toccoa River at Curtis Switch. Along the way looking west, you can see over Mercier Orchards rolling apple orchard, and in the distance the ridges of the Cohutta Wilderness. Curtis Switch has a small canoe boat launch that makes for a nice perch to dip your toes in the chilly water and watch fall leaves drift like little boats in the current of the Toccoa River. Or at the right time of day see the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway train pass by on the other side of the river.