Above: The fall color of Amicalola Falls draws leaf peepers from all over the southwest U.S. Photos courtesy of the Parks, Recreation and Historical Sites Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources identifies these Georgia State Parks as the Top 10 for fall color. They’re listed here in alphabetical order.

Amicalola Falls State Park

Nearby community: Dawsonville

Features: Amicalola Falls is the tallest cascading waterfall in the Southeastern U.S., the state park system says. A short walk leads to a boardwalk providing views. The park also offers activities ranging from stories around a campfire to zipline rides.

More information: amicalolafallslodge.com

Black Rock Mountain State Park

Nearby community: Clayton

Features: Black Rock is Georgia’s highest park. Roadside overlooks and the visitors’ center offer views of the Blue Ridge Mountains with spectacular fall color.

More information: gastateparks.org/BlackRockMountain

Cloudland Canyon State Park

Nearby community: Rising Fawn

Features: Cloudland provides views of the canyon and the sandstone cliffs of the Cumberland Plateau. A hike that includes a long staircase takes you into the canyon to see waterfalls (and then, offering more of a challenge, makes you hike back up to return to your car).

More information: gastateparks.org/CloudlandCanyon

F.D. Roosevelt State Park

Nearby community: Pine Mountain

Features: This 9,049-acre park, the state’s largest, is 80 miles southwest of Atlanta. It offers trails through hardwood and pine forests and past small waterfalls. Visitors can view a life-sized bronze statue of President Franklin Roosevelt at Dowdell’s Knob, where he sometimes picnicked.

More information: gastateparks.org/FDRoosevelt

Fort Mountain State Park

Nearby community: Chatsworth

Features: The park is probably best known for a mysterious rock wall that stands along the mountain’s highest ground and was presumably built by early Native Americans. The park also features a 17-acre lake, complete with a beach, for springtime fun or fall color.

More information: gastateparks.org/FortMountain

Moccasin Creek State Park

Nearby community: Lake Burton

Features: The state’s smallest state park is located on the shores of Lake Burton. It offers hikes and a wildlife observation tower. A fully accessible fishing pier sits above a trout-filled creek open only to people 65 and older and children 11 and younger, as well as all ages with a Georgia disability fishing license, the park’s webpage says.

More information: gastateparks.org/MoccasinCreek

Smithgall Woods State Park

Nearby community: Helen

Features: Visitors can picnic near Dukes Creek or hike a 1.6-mile loop that features views of Mount Yonah. The parks system describes Dukes Creek as one of the state’s premier trout streams, but warns that fishing is limited, so visitors should call ahead for reservations.

More information: gastateparks.org/SmithgallWoods

Tallulah Gorge bridge autumn
Tallulah Gorge

Tallulah Gorge State Park

Nearby community: Clayton

Features: Tallulah Gorge is two miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep. Hikes along the canyon rim include overlooks with waterfall views or, with a permit from the park office, to the bottom of the canyon. A suspension bridge sways 80 feet above the bottom, offering views of the river and waterfalls.

More information: gastateparks.org/TallulahGorge

Unicoi State Park and Lodge

Nearby community: Helen

Features: In addition to the 100-room Unicoi Lodge and restaurant, the park offers paddleboard lessons, archery and beginner’s fly-fishing lessons. Visitors can also hike the trails and see Anna Ruby Falls.

More information: unicoilodge.com

Vogel State Park

Nearby community: Blairsville

Features: Vogel is located at the base of Blood Mountain in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Twisting roads around Vogel and hikes through the park offer some of north Georgia’s prettiest fall color and scenery, the state park system says.

More information: gastateparks.org/Vogel

Source: Georgia State Parks

Leaf Watch Reports

To spread the word on which park is at its fall color peak on any given weekend during leaf-viewing season, the state parks service operates the “leaf watch” web page at gastateparks.org/leafwatch and a Facebook page at facebook.com/georgiastateparks.

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.