Whether you’re stretching your legs for the long thru-hike to Katahdin or enjoying a weekend away from bustling Atlanta, the AT in north Georgia offers more than 75 miles of ridgeline views, many above 3,000 feet. Thirty miles from the southern terminus, AT hikers crest Blood Mountain at 4,461 feet, the trail’s highest point in Georgia. Side trails from Blood Mountain include several through Raven Cliffs Wilderness, where waterfalls and rock climbing opportunities abound.
Contact: Chattahoochee National Forest, (770) 297-3000; www.fs.fed.us/conf.
Cumberland Island National Seashore
There’s only one way to explore Cumberland Island: Step off the ferry and start hiking. This 17-mile preserve harbors hundreds of shorebirds, sea turtles, armadillos, wild hogs, dunelands, and a maritime forest. For the best solitude, check in at the Sea Camp ranger station, then head north of Plum Orchard.
Contact: Cumberland Island National Seashore, (888) 817-3421; www.nps.gov/cuis.
Cohutta is what some folks call the softer side of the Blue Ridge. The peaks are round and the ridges flat-topped and covered in deep, black soil that anchors brilliant ferns and knee-high wildflowers. Ninety-five miles of trail access the wilderness, some crossing the Jacks and Conasauga Rivers 35 times in 15 miles.
Contact: Cohutta Ranger District, Chattahoochee National Forest, (706) 695-6736; www.fs.fed.us/conf.