Seeking a delightful outdoor adventure for your family? Is your New Year’s resolution to spend more time outdoors? Immerse yourselves in the invigorating mountain air and explore the picturesque, serene landscapes that make Ellijay the perfect destination for creating lasting memories through winter hiking adventures. Here are our recommended family-friendly winter trails for an unforgettable experience!
Amicalola Falls State Park
At 729 feet, Amicalola Falls is the tallest cascading waterfall in the Southeast, and that’s why we think the Base of the Falls Trail is a top hiking trail for the family! This hiking trail is considered moderate to strenuous due to the steep slope and stairs (604 to be exact), but there are plenty of benches and you will want to stop and take lots of photos on your way up. It is one mile from the base of the falls to the overlook at the top of the falls, and there are also plenty of playgrounds and picnic areas for the family to enjoy!
Bear Creek Trail
The Bear Creek Trail is located just 5 miles west of Downtown Ellijay. This trail provides some of the most beautiful woods and trees around, including the Gennett Poplar, the state record Tulip Poplar, the second tallest tree in Georgia! This family hiking trail offers a variety of options in length but if you are simply wanting to hike to the tree and back, it is 1.8 miles. Bring extra shoes for the creek crossings!
Carters Lake – Big Acorn Trail This family hiking trail starts at the Carters Lake Visitor Center which also serves as a nature center. They have plenty of educational, fun, and free things for kids at the Visitor Center. The hike is 2/3 mile round trip to the lake view overlook and back. This trail is short, easy and great for small children who just want to be trail leaders.
Carters Lake – Tumbling Waters Nature Trail If the Big Acorn Trail isn’t long enough for you this trail is on the other side of the lake (at least a 30 minute drive around the lake from Carters Lake Visitor Center) in the Ridgeway Recreation Area. The total walking distance of this trail is slightly over one mile, but has many scenic stops along the way. It includes a 150-foot long bridge that crosses 30 feet over Tails Creek and ends at the cascade’s peak, but don’t miss the other part of trail that leads to an overlook featuring a view of the gentle cascade.
Fort Mountain State Park
Fort Mountain State Park – The Lake Loop Trail is 1.6 miles and leads to the rock wall, stone tower and overlooks. Kids love the tower and you can tell them the story of the heart shaped stone. The many scenic overlooks make for great photo opportunities for the family. Fort Mountain State Park offers many picnic areas and activities for the family. You can enjoy a lunch by the lake then hike our next trail.
Fort Mountain State Park – The Lake Loop Trail is a 1.2 mile hike around the lake, tell the kids you are going on a bear hunt as you hike through the lush woods around the lake. You can bring your fishing pole and stop at many areas to fish around the lake.
The River Loop on the Cartecay River
The longest of all our recommended hikes, at 3.5 miles, this family hiking trail offers views of the beautiful mountains, the Cartecay River and Clear Creek Falls. This hike might not be best for small children as there are some steep declines near the Cartecay River.
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