The Great Outdoors

Outdoor Outpost: June 2024

Joe Schuster | June 1, 2024

The first official day of summer is June 20, the longest day of the year. My family has some great summer memories over the years that involve tent camping and wonderful hikes at various locations in our state.

One of my favorite camping and hiking spots is Vogel State Park, located near Blairsville. It offers a lakeside beach with swimming, non-motorized boating, fishing and has cottages to rent, along with tent, trailer and RV campsites. For a nearby hike, try the Bear Hair Gap loop and Brasstown Bald, our highest peak.

For more in north Georgia, consider checking out Amicalola Falls State Park and its 729-foot waterfall, the third highest east of the Mississippi River. The park is also the starting point for many who seek to walk the Appalachian Trail. If a good hike and an overnight adventure is what you’re after, consider the Hike Inn. A 5-mile trek leads to the Inn where you can book an overnight stay.

I’ve always enjoyed waking up from a night in a tent, smelling breakfast cooking on the fire and then hiking to some pretty views. One of my favorite hikes is on Yonah Mountain. This hike covers more than 4 miles with an upward climb of 1,500 feet in just more than 2 miles. The reward is a stunning view and a glimpse of the Atlanta skyline on a clear day.

Just outside of Atlanta is Stone Mountain. This is a much easier and shorter hike. It has an elevation gain of about half of Yonah but also offers some wonderful views. It certainly offers a much closer view of the Atlanta skyline than the Yonah hike.

Consider our “Little Grand Canyon” just below Columbus at Providence Canyon State Park where massive gullies reach as far as 150 feet deep. These gullies were created by poor farming practices during the 1800s, yet today they make some of the prettiest photographs within the state. The rare plumleaf azalea grows only in this region and blooms during July and August when most azaleas have lost their color.

In northwest Georgia, consider traveling to Cloudland State Park. There are hiking trails, waterfalls and beautiful cliffs to view and lots of camping/cottage opportunities. This park’s West Rim Trail has been rated as one best hikes in the U.S.

If Georgia’s coastline is more to your liking, try Skidaway State Park near Savannah. Stroll along forest and coastal marsh areas that are home to deer, raccoon, egrets and other types of wildlife. They offer about 7 miles of trails for biking/hiking and plenty of camping opportunities.

Enjoy your summer and get outdoors!

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