Best Places in the GA Mountains for a Sunrise or Sunset

From rocky outcrops along the Appalachian Trail to some of Georgia’s tallest summit peaks, the North Georgia Mountains near Blue Ridge are the perfect spot to catch some golden hour beauty and a colorful sunrise or sunset.

Sunrise on Lake Blue Ridge


Watching the sun rise from just about anywhere can be pretty spectacular, but some of our favorite spots to watch day break include lofty summits with wide open views. Make a short, pre-dawn climb to Georgia’s tallest peak, Brasstown Bald. The hike follows a paved trail through a mossy forest filled with rhododendron and high-elevation plants. At the top, panoramic 360-degree views unfold with beautiful scenes of Lake Chatuge and the surrounding mountains bathed in golden light.

Another early morning favorite climbs a scenic section of the Appalachian Trail. The hike to Preachers Rock is one of our favorites on the AT and a great spot to welcome the first light of a new day. Departing from a trailhead at Woody Gap, the hike passes several rocky outcrops revealing through-the-tree views and pre-dawn color. At the summit, Preachers Rock offers expansive easterly vistas perfect for catching a gorgeous color show in the sky.

One of the most enchanting spots to experience day break in the North Georgia Mountains is at the eco-friendly Len Foote Hike Inn. The rustic-modern lodge, located near Springer Mountain, creates a celebratory atmosphere around each morning’s sunrise. Soft drumbeats act as an alarm clock just before daybreak, calling guests to grab a hot cup of coffee and enjoy the dawning of the new day from an overlook.

In Blue Ridge

Mountain sunrises and sunsets are amazing closer to Blue Ridge, and Lake Blue Ridge is a favorite spot to observe both. From the top of the dam looking north and south, or in the park area beside the dam try the new overlook on the lake.

Sunset at Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge


The perfect way to end a fantastic day of North Georgia adventure is to watch the setting sun sink slowly behind the distant horizon. From summit overlooks to glassy lake views, the mountains near Blue Ridge offer a multitude of scenic options to enjoy a serene sunset.

With sweeping views and miles of beautiful trails, Fort Mountain State Park has long been one of our favorite places to find an adventure in the Georgia Mountains. Hike the Fort Mountain Trail to explore a mysterious serpentine stone wall and historic fire tower and then head to the observation platform as dusk settles. The views from the platform are vast and breathtaking.

Springer Mountain is a favorite spot for sunset views on the Appalachian Trail. The rocky summit offers westerly vistas of the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains, perfect for catching the last golden rays of the day. A bronze plaque marks the southern end of the epic-length trail and a metal vault holds a trail log containing messages and well-wishes from hikers beginning or ending their journey.

If you’re looking to catch sunset closer to town, the Morganton Point Recreation Areais just a few miles from downtown Blue Ridge and is a great spot to take in a sunset over the water. The park features miles of hiking trails through beautiful forests and along a lake shore. Hang a hammock and relax, or grab a picnic basket and some friends, and enjoy the colorful display of sunset dancing across the water.

After the Adventure

No matter when the adventure ends, Blue Ridge has plenty of options for post-adventure fun. Grab an early morning coffee, a late dinner or snack at any of the amazing eateries, breweries or bars in town. Wander the quaint downtown streets browsing the vast number of shops and stores. Or explore the many events and festivals happening throughout the year. It’s no secret: Blue Ridge offers some of the best spots to stay, play and dine in the Georgia Mountains.

Hiking Safety

Hiking before dawn or after dusk can pose a challenge. Be sure to pack hiking essentials like extra layers, plenty of water and a flashlight or headlamp to help navigate the trail in low light. And please always remember to pack out anything you pack in and leave no trace.

About the Author

Eric Champlin
Atlanta Photographer & Creative Director

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