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Explore the 5 Biggest Georgia State Parks

Begin your next adventure by visiting the five largest of the group.

By Amit KumarPublished about a year ago 3 min read

Georgia's State Park and historic parks in Georgia spans more than 84,000 acres, allowing you to spread out and find your own private nook in nature. Recreation options in Georgia range from the largest (F.D. Roosevelt State Park, 9,049 acres in Pine Mountain) to the smallest (Moccasin Creek State Park, 32 acres on Lake Burton). Begin your next adventure by visiting the five largest of the group.

1. F.D. Roosevelt State Park in Pine Mountain

Land area: 9,049 acres

Not only is F.D. Roosevelt Georgia's largest state park, but it also has 42 miles of trails with multiple loops and sections to hike. If you want to avoid the crowds, take the 3.2-mile Mountain Creek Nature Trail instead of the popular Wolf Den Loop. Are you up for an all-day hike? Take on the 7.8-mile Big Poplar Loop, so named after a particularly lovely tree near the 10-mile mark.

Stop by Dowdell's Knob overlook for sweeping valley views mixed with history, and take a "sculpture selfie" with FDR. Spend the night in one of the park's charming 1930s cabins before heading to nearby Roosevelt's Little White House Historic Site the following day.

2. Hard Labor Creek State Park in Rutledge

Land area: 5,804 acres

If you prefer knobby tires, hit the mountain bike trails at Hard Labor Creek State Park. Beginners can begin with the one-mile Orange Trail and progress to the more difficult 5.25-mile Red Trail. The 5-mile Blue Trail is the most popular, winding through hardwoods and pines and passing rippling creeks lined with lush ferns.

The newly renovated park cabins allow you to rest comfortably before paddling, swimming, or fishing on the 274-acre Lake Rutledge the next day. The Creek Golf Course has a pro shop and weekly themed leagues for as little as $23.

3. Smithgall Woods State Park in Helen

Land area: 5,664 acres

This fly-fishing paradise gives you access to one of North Georgia's best trophy-trout streams. Dukes Creek is teeming with rainbow, brown, and brook trout, enticing even the most seasoned outdoor enthusiasts. Each day, the number of anglers is limited to 15, ensuring a memorable catch-and-release experience. Ask rangers for advice on lures and prime fishing spots.

Smithgall Woods State Park also has lovely mountain cottages, some of which have streamside porches and others which have private hot tubs. Overnight guests have access to a private trail that leads to Dukes Creek Falls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in North Georgia. In late autumn, the forest is covered in red, orange, and gold leaves.

4. Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth

Land area: 3,712 acres

Fort Mountain State Park, located in the heart of the North Georgia mountains, offers a wealth of outdoor recreation opportunities. Hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians will enjoy the scenic trails that wind through hardwoods and blueberry thickets, cross streams, and lead to expansive overlooks. Kids can build sandcastles and swim in a cool mountain lake during the summer.

Hike along the ancient stone wall that zigzags 855 feet across the mountaintop if you enjoy a good mystery. No one knows for certain how it was built, but Cherokee legend attributes it to the "moon-eyed people." Finish your adventure with s'mores in the park's campground or on the porch of your cabin.

5. Cloudland Canyon State Park in Rising Fawn

Land area: 3,488 acres

Spectacular Cloudland Canyon State Park is a popular weekend destination due to its thousand-foot-deep chasms, sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, and wildlife. Lace up your boots, grab your water bottle, and explore the trails during the week for the best hiking adventure in Georgia state historic sites. The Waterfalls Trail is a short but strenuous 600-step hike that rewards hikers with two cascades tumbling into small pools. The 5-mile West Rim Loop offers the best Instagram-worthy canyon views.

RV sites, private tent pads, and even primitive backpacking sites are available to campers. Do you prefer a soft bed and a roof over your head? Stay in a fully equipped cabin or a one-of-a-kind "glamping" yurt. You'll be energized to explore even more of this incredible park after enjoying your morning coffee with songbirds.

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About the Creator

Amit Kumar

Full-time thinker & part-time writer...

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