Considered our hometown staple, Amicalola is huge and scenic. It is 2 miles round trip, but don't let the number fool you, as the hike to the top is almost entirely stairs. It is, however, worth it. Amicalola Falls is one of the top state parks in Georgia, and offers many things to do at the top of the falls. It is one of the more visitor-interactive waterfalls nearby.
Between Dahlonega and Cleveland lies Dicks Creek Falls, or Waters Creek Falls. A lively spot in the summer month, this waterfall is a popular swimming hole for all ages. It is composed of three sections, a lower, middle, and upper. Dicks Creek Falls is a short hike in, but is considered a less scenic waterfall because of it's placement and proximity to residential housing. It can get crowded on summer days, but is a fun destination to cool off in the summer without having to do much work.
A short distance from the town of Helen, Dukes Creek Falls is the perfect spot for a day hike. The trail is wide and well maintained, making it an easy hike for families with children. Though Dukes Creek isn't considered a swimming hole, there are a few places to wade in the creek a bit. Once at the waterfall, there are two viewing decks to admire the creek and soak in the zen.
Raven Cliff Falls is a more popular and well-known waterfall in North Georgia. Though the trail is five miles round trip, the elevation climb is gradual (save for the last bit) and the trail is well maintained. The last bit of trail to the viewing point of the falls is somewhat strenuous, but well worth it. The waterfall itself is tall and beautiful with a few different spots at the base for wading (caution advised). The trail also has many spots to camp, making it a popular overnight destination.
As one of the closest mountain hikes to the store, the Sawnee Mountain trail is one of our favorite mountain hikes. Sawnee mountain is home to the iconic Indian Seats, carved seat-like depressions at the mountain's summit. The trail is a moderate 4 miles, offering many scenic overlooks and places for meditation. It is a great destination close to home, but keep in mind that dogs are not permitted at the preserve.
Preacher's Rock, situated near Woody Gap, is just past Dahlonega. The hike is a quick 2 miles round trip, but with some strenuous uphill climb for the last quarter mile before reaching the summit. The view, though, is completely worth it. The hike makes for a great day trip to North Georgia, and is pet friendly. Since it is a shorter hike with incredible views, the trail is fairly popular. Morning and evening are typically best for some solitude. Preacher's Rock is perfect for all seasons, but is particularly scenic in the fall.
Interested in climbing to the highest summit in Georgia? Blood Mountain is on the Appalachian Trail near Helen. It is a slightly more difficult trail, and a 4.3 mile round trip. However, the trail is made unique by it's varied terrain. The trail begins in a creek valley, but soon opens up to rocky clearings marked by boulders and outcrops. There are different overlooks to enjoy as you climb the mountain, and the view at the top is amazing. For a view-packed day hike, this is definitely one to consider!
A bit further from the store is Arabia Mountain, considered to be Stone Mountain's little sister. Though Arabia mountain is not the conventional Appalachian Mountain, it's uniqueness makes it worthy of this list. The crater-filled granite mountain is great for a day adventure closer to Atlanta, but without the crowds of Stone Mountain. The mountain is mostly open, boasting a 360 degree view at the top. Wildflowers bloom in the spring, and the colors around the lakes in the fall time make this a perfect spot year-round.