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Website helps visitors track leaf color
State parks Leaf Watch site goes online Oct. 1
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The road to Dockery Lake in Lumpkin County. - photo by Tom Reed

Now that fall is officially here, a burst of autumn color in the North Georgia mountains isn’t far off.

And as the leaves change, visitors will descend on the region to hike, visit festivals and take in the beauty and variety of mountain life.

To help track the changing leaves and plan autumn getaways, Georgia’s State Parks will launch Leaf Watch 2012 beginning Oct. 1 at www.GeorgiaStateParks.org/LeafWatch.

Travelers can check Leaf Watch 2012 for advice on where and when to find the best color in Georgia’s state parks. The site will include updates from park rangers, safety tips for hiking and events calendars. Last-minute availability for cabins, yurts, campsites and lodge rooms in the state parks will also be posted.

Typically, northern Georgia peaks in late October; however, color can be seen as early as September and as late as mid-November.

“Fall is a great time to get outdoors and enjoy Mother Nature’s handiwork,” State Park Director Becky Kelley said. “We have short nature trails that are good for kids, and longer trails that are perfect for experienced hikers. We even have roadside overlooks that make it easy to enjoy the view during a road trip. With our wide range of accommodations, it’s easy to plan a fall vacation to one of Georgia’s State Parks.”

State officials recently announced Georgia’s top 10 state parks for leaf watching, which included Amicalola Falls, Black Rock Mountain, Cloudland Canyon, Fort Mountain, Moccasin Creek, James H. Sloppy Floyd, Smithgall Woods, Tallulah Gorge, Unicoi and Vogel.

For quieter getaways, visitors may want to explore parks further south, which can offer vibrant color as well.

Georgia has nearly 50 state parks, providing affordable “staycations” to residents and a not-so-far-away mountain escapes.

Park rangers advise guests to make reservations as soon as possible. Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-864-7275 or by going online at www.GeorgiaStateParks.org.