Overlooking Georgia: The Best Summit Trails

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

Hiking has long been a favorite Atlanta pastime, and with many trails strewn across the state, it is also a great way to explore Georgia. It’s a great workout and an excellent way to gain a new perspective on things, both literally and mentally. Here are some of the favorite trails and summits that will give you stunning overlooks where you can catch even more spectacular views.

Two backpackers in the summer mountain with trees and sunset on background

Arabia Mountain Top Trail

The trail gives you much to explore as you hike through the massive, exposed granite fields, discover basins filled with rare plant forms, and take in stunning views from the top. This pretty moderate hike is about 1.3 miles long, and you are allowed to bring your four-legged friend with you.

Sweetwater Creek State Park

You’ll find Sweetwater Creek State Park just outside the city limits, with several trail options for hiking and biking. Along the hike, you get to experience the amazing creek (where you can also cool off on those hot summer days), ruins, and plenty of scenic abundances. You can choose moderate to more strenuous hikes (between 2-5 miles) and bring your dog to the trail.

Bartram Trail

The Bartram Trail to Rabun Bald is the second-tallest mountain summit in Georgia, so naturally, you can catch some stunning views here. The trail is three miles roundtrip with a pretty steep climb. The relatively moderate hike will give you moments of lovely serenity as you climb the summit – and the view from the top is nothing but breathtaking.

Fort Mountain State Park Summit Trail

This beginner-friendly trail offers a mysterious stone wall, a historic lookout tower, and gorgeous views of the Cohutta Wilderness and the Georgia State Parks. The 1.5-mile loop trail offers sweeping views of the surrounding plains and mountains from the observation deck – and yes, it’s dog-friendly.

Yonah Mountain Trail

This moderately challenging trail delivers one of North Georgia’s best and most popular hikes and highlights a walk through the boulder-filled landscapes filled with vibrant flowers. The hike is a pretty steady climb, but once you reach the summit, the stunning views from the exposed rock outcrops make it worth all the effort. Dog-friendly for an agile pup.

Tallulah Gorge State Park

This is one of Georgia’s most scenic parks, with rushing waterfalls, steep canyons, and serene riverbanks. There are numerous trails of various difficulty, and you get to experience hanging bridges, waterfalls, and of course, stunning views. Depending on the trail you pick, it can be dog-friendly, but some require a permit where dogs are not allowed due to the trail’s difficulty.

Amicalola Falls Trail

From the tallest waterfall in Georgia to some of the most breathtaking mountain views, this two-mile loop trail is a top contender for a hike deeply immersed in nature. You hike to the crest of this beautiful, cascading waterfall that drops 730 feet over multiple tiers while catching unbelievable views from the top. You descend alongside the waterfall via stairs and bridges, making this trail somewhat unfit for dogs.

Stone Mountain Trail

Hiking up and down Stone Mountain is quite an accomplishment, but if you want to get even more than the gorgeous views from the top, we recommend you combine the walkup with the Cherokee trails. This scenic six-mile hike is definitely on the more difficult side, but you get so much more Georgian scenery with this one – and the trail is not nearly as crowded as the summit. Due to park regulations, no dogs are allowed.

Pine Mountain Trail

A drive to North Georgia near Cartersville gives you outstanding views of Allatoona Lake from a beautiful mountain summit. You hike through a stream-filled forest before you reach the summit, where the woods clear to reveal views of the lake, Stone Mountain, and Kennesaw Mountain. The 4.5-mile hike is relatively moderate in intensity and is perfect for bringing your dog.

Providence Canyon State Park

Also known as the ‘Little Grand Canyon of Georgia,’ this place is truly remarkable. Sure, it’s nowhere near as large as its Arizona sibling, but it is still a place like no other in Georgia. The park’s white loop is a trail just below five miles that offers all the highlights of the canyon, from incredible views from the top to exploring the canyons from the bottom of the ravine. The sandy hiking trails also make this ideal for a dog hike.

Explore more hikes at atlantatrails.com.