Walton Gas customers share their picks for Georgia’s best state parks
Some of the nation’s most breathtaking scenery is right here in Georgia. Mountaintops or canyons? Hiker or biker? Camper or day-tripper? Whatever your favorite outdoor adventure, you’ll find it within one of Georgia’s state parks.
When we asked Walton Gas customers to tell us about your favorite park, we received many recommendations.
Georgia is home to nearly 50 state parks, offering visitors a diversity of landscapes and experiences. When we asked Walton Gas customers to tell us about your favorite park, we received many recommendations. Here are some of their suggestions for exploring Georgia this summer.
Tallulah Gorge State Park
Tallulah Gorge State Park • Tallulah Falls Recommended by Janet Keener, Carrollton “I have been visiting this state park for 30-plus years and still look forward to visiting it each year,” Janet wrote about the place dubbed “one of the most spectacular canyons in the eastern U.S.” Tallulah Gorge is 2 miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep. During spring and fall water releases from the dam, visitors can hike gorge rim trails to glimpse “five gorgeous, breathtaking waterfalls that are barely visible other times,” Janet advised. A suspension bridge sways 80 feet above the rocky bottom, providing more spectacular views of the river and waterfalls.
Hard Labor Creek State Park
Hard Labor Creek State Park • Rutledge Recommended by Mike Wasko, Athens Mike is a volunteer at the park which he says “has just about everything” within its 5,800 acres. The second largest park in the state system and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it features a popular golf course, around 20 miles of equestrian trails and more than 20 miles of hiking and biking trails. The park also offers a swimming beach on 270-acre Lake Rutledge, along with seasonal kayak rentals, and a boat ramp for year-round fishing and canoeing. A mini golf course plus renovated cabins and campground add to the park’s appeal.
Tugaloo State Park
Tugaloo State Park• Lavonia Recommended by Jim Lacy, Atlanta “My favorite state park is Tugaloo on Lake Hartwell,” Jim said about the park alongside the 55,590-acre lake. Situated on a wooded peninsula, Tugaloo’s cottages and most campsites offer spectacular views of the lake. The park is a popular destination for fishing, swimming, water skiing, sailing and boating.
Fort Mountain State Park
Fort Mountain State Park • Chatsworth Recommended by Glenda Brown, Lawrenceville “I hope everyone who is starved for the great outdoors can someday visit Fort Mountain,” wrote nominator Glenda Brown. Situated near Chatsworth in the North Georgia mountains, the park’s trails attract hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. Glenda says the abundance of wildlife is a favorite feature. She’s seen a bald eagle and twin fawns as well as countless wild turkeys and pheasants on past visits. “As someone from Chicago, to see all these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat was something amazing for me,” she wrote.
Mistletoe State Park
Mistletoe State Park• Appling Recommended by Carolyn Magers, Conyers Located on 71,100-acre Clarks Hill Lake, this park is known as one of the finest bass fishing spots in the nation. But it’s the scenery that draws the Mager family back again and again. “What makes Mistletoe very special to me are the sunrises and sunsets,” said Carolyn. The Magers have both camped and rented a cabin there. “The campsites were spacious with great water views, and the cabin was very spacious and clean,” said Carolyn. The park also offers public beaches and 8 miles of nature trails.
Black Rock Mountain State Park
Black Rock Mountain State Park• Mountain City Recommended by Mary Elliott, Athens “It is always nice to visit Black Rock Mountain State Park on a hot Georgia day,” Mary said about the mountain getaway positioned on the Eastern Continental Divide. Reaching altitudes of 3,640 feet, it is the state’s highest state park. It’s the ideal place to enjoy a “good visit with nature,” Mary advised. With mountaintop vistas overlooking pristine Appalachian forests, the park offers some of the most outstanding scenery in Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Four hiking trails lead visitors past wildflowers, streams, small waterfalls and lush forests.
Providence Canyon • Lumpling Walton Gas staff pick If you’ve always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon but can’t make the trek out West, head to Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon” instead. Providence Canyon is south of Columbus near historic Lumpkin. The canyon is a series of massive gullies as deep as 150 feet that were caused by poor farming practices in the 1800s. The canyon soil’s pink, orange, red and purple hues make the park a favorite for artists and photographers. Head there in the summer to see the rare Plumleaf azalea, which grows only in this region and blooms during July and August.
Grab a guide
If a state park is on your summer bucket list, check out the Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites Park Guide. The free resource will help you plan a summer vacation or a weekend day trip. It spotlights the park system’s best hiking trails, fishing spots, cabins and campsites.