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“Fall”-ow the trails of Lake Chatuge for perfect autumnal views
There’s a reason people refer to Lake Chatuge as Georgia’s Enchanted Valley. An explorer’s dream, our destination is home to all of the natural wonders you could dream of, with mountainsides neighbored by our beautiful lake, and sprawling forests dotted with rushing waterfalls. It’s the ideal spot to enjoy stunning views of the colors of fall, with hiking trails nestled by the ever-changing leaves, and some ending with panoramic, breathtaking overlooks of our wonderland.
Our broad variety of hiking trails mean that we can accommodate any hiker at any skill level, from the first-time trekker to the seasoned outdoor veteran. From the breathtaking waterfalls at High Shoals to the Appalachian Trail, there are so many places to hike and soak in the best nature has to offer in this magical mountain escape. We’ve broken down a few based on difficulty levels below to make planning your adventure as sweet as an autumn breeze.
Difficulty Level: Easy
One of the area’s easiest, but no less scenic, trails is just four miles away from the lake, right in the heart of Young Harris. Cupid Falls is a short venture just past Young Harris College, much of which can be trekked by car. The secluded waterfall at the end of this small trail is calming and beautiful. It’s an ideal trail for families with little explorers. Another easy climb lies on Bell Mountain. The majority of the winding path to its peak is paved, with a parking lot sitting just below its highest point. Drive up the tight road, park and walk up the constructed flights of steps to get the best view: a panoramic sweep of our mountains, lake and, of course, the bursting colors of fall foliage. While there, you can also admire the multitude of rock formations, decorated with vibrant artwork.
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Another ideal spot for leaf-peeping is Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa, which is home to several miles of unique hiking trails that wind through the mountains that surround the beautiful resort. Of these, one of the most-loved is the Miller Trek. Though the full loop of this trail, popular for spotting local wildlife, spans just over six miles, an added route offers the option to shorten your venture to around two miles. Several of the other trails available at Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa are also able to be explored on horseback, with riding options available at the resort’s stable
High Shoals Falls is a natural step up on the difficulty scale that treks through the Chattahoochee National Forest. Sitting at two and a half miles round-trip, this trail will take you through the forest, rich with the changing leaves of fall, past Blue Hole Falls and up to towering High Shoals Falls. Soak in panoramic views of the trail’s crown jewel before beginning your trek back down through a natural wonderland of golden orange and red leaves.
Difficulty Level: Challenging
Hiking the full Appalachian Trail, which spans 2,184 miles from Georgia to Maine, is a life goal for many avid hikers. Depending on which state you start in, the Blue Ridge Mountains either marks the beginning or the end of the impressive journey. For those looking for an adventure in Lake Chatuge, however, this means the area is home to many sections of this historic trail. Unicoi Gap, Dicks Creek Gap and Jack’s Knob Trail are just a few of the Appalachian Trail-connected hikes that can be found within the larger Towns County area. Each range in difficulty, but the bragging rights earned from hiking part of the Appalachian Trail are worth every mile, twist and turn. Explore part of history as you wind through the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.
Whether a seasoned veteran or looking for a perfect hike for the whole family, there’s a trail for everyone. To explore more trail options, check out the Lake Chatuge Hiking Guide, which offers an in-depth look at all of the nearby trails and waterfalls, along with details about the difficulty level and how to access each.