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Overview

Overlooking a beautiful Blue Ridge panorama, Amicalola Falls State Park is best known to serious hikers worldwide as the jumping-off point for the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine (administered by the National Park Service). Each spring, hundreds of ambitious backpackers head to the park's 8.5-mile A.T. Approach Trail in hopes of completing the journey by fall. But visitors can find plenty of adventures right at the 829-acre park throughout the year. The park's eco-friendly Len Foote Hike Inn, nestled in the woods up a moderate 5.5-mile trail, is one of only a handful of backcountry lodges in the U.S.; stay ...

Overlooking a beautiful Blue Ridge panorama, Amicalola Falls State Park is best known to serious hikers worldwide as the jumping-off point for the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine (administered by the National Park Service). Each spring, hundreds of ambitious backpackers head to the park's 8.5-mile A.T. Approach Trail in hopes of completing the journey by fall. But visitors can find plenty of adventures right at the 829-acre park throughout the year. The park's eco-friendly Len Foote Hike Inn, nestled in the woods up a moderate 5.5-mile trail, is one of only a handful of backcountry lodges in the U.S.; stay overnight and you can continue another 2.5 miles along the trail to the A.T.'s southern terminus at Springer Mountain the next day. The park also offers lodging in woodside cottages, campgrounds, and in a modern lodge scenically set near the top of the dramatic 729-foot waterfall that gives the park its name. A visitor center near the Reflection Pool at its foot offers information and resources on local ecology and recreation. Paddlers head downhill for Class I and Class II-III sections of the Chestatee River, while the heart of Georgia's mountain biking recreation is just west of the park. After a day of activity, head to hearty buffets at the park's restaurant (featuring the local specialty, mountain trout), where rocking chairs overlook a pristine Blue Ridge landscape. Eighteen miles east of the park is the bustling gold rush town of Dahlonega, where the Gold Museum on the town square tells the story of Georgia's gold rush in the area in 1828.

Kap Stann
About the Expert

Kap Stann has written or contributed to many guidebooks to the American Southeast for such publishers as Moon, Avalon Travel, Lonely Planet, DK Eyewitness, and Mobil Guides.

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    Spring, summer, fall