By: Hayley Hasberger
Online Section Writer
It’s that time of year again where summer blends into fall, the leaves begin to change color and there is a hint of autumn floating in the breeze. Whether you’re hiding out in the MLC hitting the books or baking up a frenzy of pumpkin pastries, it is always a good idea to get outside. Hiking among the fallen leaves and taking in the fresh air does wonders for the soul and mind.
There are plenty of walking trails near Athens and a multitude of beautiful hikes across Georgia displaying gorgeous fall colors and the beauties of nature.
In Athens: If you want to stay close to campus, there are a few options to immerse yourself in the great outdoors.
Head on over to Lake Herrick and enjoy a short walk on one of the many paths leading around the lake or adventure into the area nestled behind the Intramural Fields at the back of the complex known as the Oconee Forest Park. There are miles of trails perfect for jogging, hiking or mountain biking. The best part of this outdoor scene: it’s dog friendly, so bring your dog along with you.
Not too far from campus is The State Botanical Gardens of Georgia. You can wander around the garden grounds or take the paths less traveled on the forest trails. Some of the trails run alongside the Middle Oconee River, where you can relax on the boulders caressing the water’s edge.
North Georgia: These hikes are less than two hours from Athens, and offer a fantastic day trip to Georgia’s forests and stunning waterfalls.
Tallulah Gorge State Park has 20 miles of trails with several overlooks. The most popular hike in the state park is the 3.4 mile Tallulah Gorge Sliding Rock Trail that takes hikers across a suspension bridge that overlooks the river and gorge. The trail catches elevated views from the gorge’s rim before leading you down to the gorge’s floor to view waterfalls or even go for a swim.
If you are looking for hikes that capture the dramatic fall colors, Cloudland Canyon is the place to be. It offers soaring views from the canyon’s rim and picturesque scenes of plunging waters deep in the canyon. A short 2-mile hike will lead you to waterfalls, and for the energetic hiker there is up to 6 miles of trails along the canyon’s east and west rims that overlook breathtaking landscapes.
Amicalola Falls State Park lives up to its name with a variety of cascading waterfalls; it is home to Georgia’s tallest waterfall. The waterfalls nestled in Georgia’s forest become even more spectacular with the changing of the seasons. The hikes at this location range from just over 2 miles to over 15 miles in length, and all are well worth it to capture the gorgeous scenery.
This fall take a break from your studies, find a buddy and go enjoy all that Georgia’s great outdoors has to offer.
Photos in article by: Hayley Hasberger