Adventurous getaways near Atlanta

With the weather finally getting warmer, spend the day outside at one of these beautiful outdoor locations

Ellie Ballew, Staff Writer

If you ever want to go hiking or go on a fun adventure with friends, here are some outdoor escapes that are close to the busy city of Atlanta. 

1. Raven Cliff Falls 

Raven Cliff Falls is a five-mile hike in Helen Georgia and there are many small waterfalls that lead up to the waterfall at the end. This hike is pet-friendly and relatively easy. 

“Raven Cliff Falls is one of my favorite day hikes. You can climb to the right of the falls and get to the top,” said Latin teacher Mrs. Maria Kepler, who is an avid hiker.

2. Blood Mountain Loop 

This hike is also in Helen, Georgia, and is a part of the Appalachian Trail. The six-mile pet-friendly hike features a stunning view of the surrounding mountains.

Junior Alex Smith said his favorite part of the hike was “reaching the top of the mountain because there was a really good view of the rest of the mountains” and that he would recommend this location because “even though it was a hard hike it was worth it.” 

3. Stone Mountain Park

Even if you don’t want to hike the mountain, there are many trails you can explore including ones that go along the lake, along with docks where you can go paddleboarding or canoeing. The park also has a campground where you can spend several days and nights in a tent or RV. 

“Stone Mountain is a great place to try camping for the first time,” Mrs. Kepler said. “It’s got good facilities and no really scary wildlife.” 

4. Fort Mountain

Fort Mountain is in Ellijay, Georgia, and features great pet-friendly hiking trails, breathtaking scenic views, and you’re only minutes away from the historic area of downtown Ellijay.

5.  Indian Seats Loop 

This is a great spot for hiking with amazing views where you can see for miles over Cumming, Georgia. It is around a three-mile round trip and is pet-friendly. 

6. Iron Hill Trail 

Around a 3.4 mile hike in Red Top Mountain state park, this trail is pet-friendly and travels along with Lake Lanier while overlooking nearby trails. 

“Iron Hill Trail at Red Top is a great multi-use trail,” Mrs. Kepler said adding that she “plans on “bringing my bike next time.” 

7. Sawnee Mountain Preserve 

This hike is perfect for sunsets with a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. It’s around four miles and pet-friendly. 

8. Sweetwater Creek State Park 

Located right here in Atlanta, this trail is unfortunately not pet-friendly However, there are a variety of different trails to choose from around the lake, as well as historic Civil War-era ruins with amazing sunrises and sunsets.

Sophomore Ava Godbey said her favorite part of Sweetwater Creek State Park were the “rocks by the water and the pretty scenery.” she added, “it isn’t a super long hike and is really fun.”

9. Cloudland Canyon State Park 

This breathtaking park has many trails with long-range views as well as waterfalls and the canyon. This state park is in Chattanooga, TN, and certain trails are pet-friendly. 

Kepler added that “cloudland canyon is unreal. It’s that little piece of northwest GA that’s in the Cumberland Plateau, and it will take your breath away no matter how many times you go, Ms. Kepler said The most trafficked part, the stairs down to the falls, is cool, but not the best part of the park.” She recommends the Bear Creek Backcountry Trail because it’s “gorgeous, and then you can climb behind the falls, scramble over rocks, and just play– and not many people go that way.” Junior Julia Trainor said while she was “hiking down, there were huge rocks that hungover people,” and she “specifically remembers that there was a waterfall in the canyon surrounded by rocks and the water was so blue!” 

10. Lula Lake 

You do have to make a reservation for this hike, however, it features a beautiful forest with many trails, waterfalls, and overlooks. 

These unique adventures are a way for us to connect with nature and let us slow down to make memories outside of our busy city.