Fall Colors in North Georgia: the Ultimate Leaf Peeper Guide

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Fiery reds, radiant yellows, and golden browns combine with warm orange tones, shades of green, and pops of purple to cast a kaleidoscope of color across the Blue Ridge Mountains throughout leaf-peeping season. It’s fall, y’all — and it’s gorgeous in North Georgia! In our experience, the best fall colors in Georgia can be found above Atlanta, where the changing leaves are coupled with breathtaking mountain views, tree-studded forests, enchanting rivers, roaming wildlife, and cascading waterfalls with reflective pools. 

Not to mention, autumn in the North Georgia mountains means fall-tastic festivals, like the Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay, the Blairsville Sorghum Festival, and Oktoberfest in Helen. Cozy cabins welcome guests with the quintessential amenities of the season — including fireside sips and reads, evening s’mores and story swaps, plus steamy hot tub soaks with spectacular autumn vistas. And downtown shops and restaurants are filled with local crafts and seasonal flavors. 

If you’re planning a leaf-peeping day trip or getaway soon, consider visiting the Blue Ridge Mountains for the best fall foliage in Georgia — plus autumn extras! Our ultimate leaf peeper guide is here to help you pick the best time to see the colorful hues of fall in North Georgia plus find the best places to ooh and aah over the stunning scenery. 

Best Time to Enjoy Georgia Fall Foliage

When is the best time to see fall foliage in Georgia? While only Mother Nature knows for sure, late October through early November is usually the peak of fall colors in North Georgia. Leaves change based on temperatures, weather, and elevations so it can be tricky to time it just right. 

Are there fall colors in South Georgia? Yes…but the leaves usually change color towards the end of fall, and the views just aren’t as grand as in North Georgia. Visiting the Blue Ridge Mountains offers awe-inspiring vistas earlier in the season, cooler temps, and more things to do. 

Official Georgia Leaf Watch
Closely monitoring the changing colors and shades of scarlet, hazel, amber, and plum in fall is the Georgia Leaf Watch. They typically post regular updates with photos during the autumn season so you can see when and where to visit. 

Fair warning: waiting until the last minute to book a fall vacation in North Georgia usually means fewer options…if any. Make plans as soon as possible!

Best Places to Experience Fall Colors in Georgia

Mountain Trails
Crisp, cool breezes brush past as leaves crunch beneath your steps on a colorful autumn trail in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia. Whether you want to take a stroll, a challenging trek, or a bike ride, there are plenty of cycling and hiking trails in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Top fall vistas for hikers and bikers include Yonah Mountain, the Appalachian Trail, Blood Mountain, and Lake Blue Ridge. 

North Georgia State Parks
Many great picnic areas, campsites, waterfalls, rivers, and trails to enjoy the palette of fall colors await inside North Georgia state parks! Check out our fav state park spots to view the attractive array of autumn hues in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

  • Amicalola Falls State Park — Southeast’s tallest cascading waterfall
  • Fort Mountain State Park — stone fire tower 
  • Tallulah Gorge State Park — rim overlooks & suspension bridge 
  • Unicoi State Park — Anna Ruby Falls 
  • Vogel State Park — Lake Trahlyta

Scenic Drives
Want to see the captivating fall leaves without getting out of the car? Take a scenic road trip through the North Georgia mountains. We recommend the following drives for the best fall views!

  • Georgia Highway 197 — rides through valleys bursting with fall foliage
  • Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway — dips and sways inside the national forest
  • Cohutta-Chattahoochee Scenic Byway — leads to a majestic mountaintop overlook

Brasstown Bald
As the highest peak in Georgia — 4,784 feet into the sky — Brasstown Bald is a must-stop if you’re looking for heavenly 360 views of the vivid fall colors across the Blue Ridge Mountains. From here, you can experience sensational autumn scenes across 4 states: Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Pictures don’t do it justice…but even they’re jaw-dropping! 

Mountain Cabin Rentals 
While exploring the great outdoors with fellow leaf peepers is fun, it’s extra special to take time in your own space to unwind with the fall leaves. Roast marshmallows, sip wine in a rocker, read under a blanket on a porch swing, relax in a hot tub, and enjoy multicolored trees, valleys, and peaks at a classic log cabin with mountain views.

The Blue Ridge Train
All aboard the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway for a memorable round-trip train ride through the national forest! Brimming with beautiful fall colors reflecting along the Toccoa River, fall is arguably the best time of year to ride the Blue Ridge train. Midway through your journey, you’ll stop at McCaysville and Copperhill to dine, shop, and check out the scenery. 

Treetop Ziplines
Adventurous sightseers will appreciate a chance to take in the autumn leaves from the treetops on a zipline tour in North Georgia. For more fun after ziplining in the great outdoors, we suggest rafting the Ocoee River at Zipline Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge or riding the giant 50-foot-high swing at Nacoochee Adventures! 

Toccoa River Swinging Bridge
Kayaking, canoeing, or fishing along the Toccoa River is a fantastic way to check out the fall colors in Georgia. But the Toccoa River holds a scenic secret — the Toccoa River Swinging Bridge! As the longest swinging bridge east of the Mississippi River, you can enjoy a nice walk, viewing the rushing waters, river stones, and even a hidden waterfall among the vibrant leaves. 

Pumpkin Patches + Apple Orchards
North Georgia boasts pumpkin farms and apple orchards, excellent places to see the painted leaves of fall. While picking apples or pumpkins, enjoying homemade baked goods, sipping apple cider, petting animals, or taking a tractor tour, look out to the mesmerizing tree scenes. A few of our favorite places are listed below.

  • B.J. Reece Orchards
  • Burt’s Farm
  • Hillcrest Orchards
  • Mercier Orchards
  • Uncle Shuck’s Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch

Plan YOUR Picturesque Fall Stay

Enjoying North Georgia’s canvas of color in fall truly elevates your Blue Ridge Mountain experience. And with so many people flocking to the area to peep at the changing leaves, it’s important to jump on planning right away. Some people even book a year in advance to secure their place to stay. 

At Georgia Cabins for YOU, we have a variety of budget-friendly, luxury, and pet-friendly vacation rentals of all shapes and sizes — loaded with entertaining and relaxing amenities plus scenic views — in Blue Ridge, Ellijay, Big Canoe (Jasper + Dawsonville), and the surrounding areas in North Georgia. From family vacations and getaways with friends to honeymoons and solo trips to reunions and corporate retreats, we have the cabin, condo, or large group lodge for YOU!

Fall Things to Do at YOUR Cabin

  • Take in the colorful fall leaves from the hot tub.
  • Sip apple cider on the wraparound deck.
  • Make s’mores around the firepit.
  • Fire up the grill for mountain cookouts.
  • Baked pies and cookies in the full kitchen.
  • Curl up in a blanket for movie night. 
  • Read a good book in front of the crackling fireplace.
  • Enjoy long, luxurious bubble baths.

Come to the Blue Ridge Mountains to experience the most impressive fall colors in Georgia! And don’t forget to tag us on Instagram or Facebook — @GeorgiaCFY.