Hike these 8 Blue Ridge Mountain Trails



Why do people escape to the mountains? For peace, quiet, and some time away from the hustle and bustle of daily life; of course. But if you’re an outdoor lover you probably also escape to the mountains to explore some wonderful hiking trails. In Blue Ridge, we have no shortage of great hiking options. Choose from mountain trails, riverside trails, lakeside trails, wooded trails, and even trails that lead to beautiful waterfalls. Wherever your heart leads you to explore, we’ve got it!

We’ve comprised a list of our top 8 favorite hiking trails to guide you on your next adventure. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a total newbie just wanting to get outdoors, there are trails for everyone. So grab your friends, family, and dogs along too for an adventure of a lifetime and fall in love with some of the best trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains!

Benton McKaye Trail

Photo Courtesy of @littlebitty87

Located in the heart of the Aska Adventure Area, we love the Benton McKaye Trail because it’s close to so many great activities like Lily Pad Village, Toccoa Valley Campground, and more. Plus it connects to so many other trails that will take you all around Blue Ridge! Benton McKaye crosses the Appalachian Trail about 15 miles south of Blue Ridge. Along the trail you may come across the famous Toccoa Swinging Bridge, Fall Branch Falls, Long Creek Falls, and Springer Mountain; all great spots to stop for a photo-op!

The Benton MacKaye Trail is a great option for day hikers and explorers looking to do some sightseeing. Or if you’re up for an adventure, you can warm up for a thru-hike by doing the entire 300 miles ending in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. There’s always something new to find on the Benton McKaye Trail! 

Lake Blue Ridge Loop

Take in the beauty of Lake Blue Ridge for yourself and hike the trails around the lake. The Lake Blue Ridge Loop is a quick 0.8 miles and is well maintained, making it a great hike for all ages. Admire the trees reflecting off the water as you wander along the trail. Once you finish, head on over to the Morganton Point Recreation Area for a quick dip or a much-needed lunch in the picnic area. 

Aska Adventure Area trails

The Aska Adventure Area hiking trails are made up of 5 smaller trails: Stanley Gap Trail, Green Mountain Trail, Flat Creek Loop, Stanley Gap/Flat Creek Connector, and Long Branch Loop; which all together form 17.0 miles of beautiful trails to explore.

Open year-round, these winding trails will take you through the Chattahoochee National Forest and across mountain streams & creeks. You might even run into a waterfall or two! These trails also eventually connect to the Benton McKaye Trail and Lake Blue Ridge Loop. Most all of the trails in Fannin County are connected and ready to take you throughout the most beautiful parts of Blue Ridge.

Jack’s River Trail

Photo Courtesy of Atlanta Trails

Jacks River Trail is a 14.8-mile trail located within the Cohutta Wilderness Area. Be aware that this trail is slightly more advanced and parts of it cross moving water; so make sure you’re up for the challenge! The hike will be a rocky, water-filled adventure that crosses Jacks River and its tributaries over 40 times, but the views will be so worth it.

One of the highlights of the hike is the beautiful, 80-foot Jacks River Falls. The falls are easily one of the South’s most beautiful waterfalls and one of Georgia’s top hiking destinations. You’ll also find wildflowers, mossy river banks, and rocky paths just waiting to be explored! If you’re looking for a rewarding and fun adventure this hike is for you!

Emery Creek Falls Trail

Photo Courtesy of Atlanta Trails

Looking for more water adventures? Hike on Emery Creek Falls Trail for a fun challenge!  This intermediate trail takes hikers through 20 creeks and past several waterfalls throughout the 6.2-mile round trip hike. You’ll wander and explore the lush, forested trail and feel like you’re hundreds of miles away from the rest of the world. Along the way, you’ll run into a pair of stunning, beautiful, remote waterfalls. Relax, listen to the sounds of the rushing waterfall, and feel at peace in your own beautiful oasis. 

The Hemp Top Trail

Photo Courtesy of hikingtheappalachians.com

Climb some of the highest peaks in Georgia as you make your way along The Hemp Top Trail. Only 10 minutes outside of Blue Ridge, this 6.2-mile strenuous hike is well worth it for the views at the top. You’ll be able to see the Tennessee Valley and surrounding mountains from one of the highest points in the Cohutta Wilderness. This quiet hike will submerge you right into the beauty of the North Georgia wilderness but is recommended for more experienced hikers. 

Ocoee Whitewater Center Trails

Photo Courtesy of Alltrails

While the Ocoee Whitewater Center, just across the border in Tennessee, is known for its whitewater rafting, but they also have over 30 miles of trails to explore! The Ocoee Whitewater Center is the site of the 1996 Summer Olympic white water events and has much to see like the Olympic bridges, gardens, historic and forested trails, and a 330-foot suspension bridge. Athletes and Olympic fans will especially love the trails but any outdoor lover can enjoy them! And when you finish your long or short adventure, picnic by the river and imagine the dozens of rafts that floated down that very same river in the Olympic games over 25 years ago! 

Amicalola Falls 

The hike to Amicalola Falls is a 2.1-mile loop but much of it is uphill. You’ll cross rocky terrain, as you weave through the narrow trail. On your way up to the falls, you’ll hear the sounds of rushing water in the distance and will catch a glimpse of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Once you reach the top of the falls you’ll begin the steep walk down along bridges and stairs. You’ll be blown away by the 730-foot waterfall that cascades down a towering cliff into a pool of water far below.

Soak in the incredible views of the tallest waterfall in Georgia, as you make your way down the stairs; you’ll have plenty of chances for photos of course! Looking for a more challenging hike to the falls? Take the 10-mile hike, past the stone archway at the visitor center onto the Amicalola Falls East Ridge Trail and Appalachian Approach Trail Loop. You’ll still make it to the falls you’ll just have a longer, more challenging hike ahead of you. Whichever route you choose Amicalola Falls is a must-see! 

Hiking out the Back Door



When you come to the mountains, you come to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and get out in nature. So it’s important that you’re close to all the trails and outdoor adventures that Blue Ridge has to offer; www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/seven-blue-ridge-hikes.

But what if these trails were right outside your cabin doors? Step outside and start on the trails, no driving necessary! Immerse yourself in the great outdoors and get moving with access to miles worth of trails, right in your backyard.  These 6 cabins are the perfect retreat for all the outdoor lovers and hikers out there! 

Aska Adventure Lodge

This beautiful cabin is right in the heart of the Aska Adventure Area and less than 5 minutes from Toccoa River, Lake Blue Ridge, and town. Just off of the vast, wraparound porch, you’ll find yourself just steps from The Benton MacKaye Trail. Along the trail, you might run into Fall Branch Falls, Long Creek Falls, Toccoa River Swinging Bridge, and even Springer Mountain. You’re also close to many great tubing and canoeing opportunities.

After a long day on the trails, lay back and soak in the hot tub or play a game of pool in the game room. Even inside you won’t feel far from the outdoors, with themed rooms like “Trout Camp”, a bear room, and an all-around rustic, natural look throughout. Aska Adventure Lodge sleeps up to 10 people, so grab a group of your favorite hikers and get ready to adventure! 

TreeTops

Perched high on the mountain overlooking the Aska Adventure Area, this classic mountain cabin is close by to a variety of great outdoor activities! Tube down the Toccoa River, catch fish in Lake Blue Ridge, or walk down the driveway to Long Mountain Trail which connects to both the Benton MacKaye Trail and the Aska Adventure Trail, where all kinds of beautiful hikes await you!

Even enjoy a long, scenic ride on the winding Aska Road to Highway 60 and take in all the mountain views. TreeTops also has a hot tub and game room; perfect for unwinding after a busy day. You can even bring your furry friend along to join in all the fun! 

Sanctuary Summit

For a relaxing escape to the wilderness, Sanctuary Summit is your place! This newly constructed cabin, built-in 2020, sits high on a hillside overlooking the National Forest. You’ll have stunning mountain views all around and can see Lake Blue Ridge off in the distance.

Located in the Aska Adventure Area, you’ll be just steps away from all kinds of fun outdoor activities. With access to dozens of hiking trails, the beautiful Toccoa River, and so much more, you’ll basically be living outdoors for a week! And Sanctuary Summit is pet friendly as well, so be sure to bring your pup along with you on the trails

Even when you’re inside the cabin you can enjoy the great outdoors with multiple wrap-around decks and enormous windows where you can sit to watch the sunset. In the evening, you can grill out on the deck and cuddle up next to the wood-burning fireplace. And of course, this cabin has both a hot tub and a game room as well so you can unwind however you choose! Hike, relax, and escape at this wonderful cabin!

Lake View Retreat

Perfect for a small group of nature lovers, Lake View Retreat is built right into the side of the mountain with an amazing view of Lake Blue Ridge framed by the trees. Since it’s located right next to Lake Blue Ridge it’s the perfect getaway for those who’d rather be on the lake. Boat and kayak on the lake, catch lots of fish, and if it’s summertime enjoy a nice swim.

Not only is Lake View Retreat close to Lake Blue Ridge but it’s also nearby countless hiking trails and the Toccoa River, where more outdoor adventures await! After a long day at the lake or on the trails soak into one of the comfy leather couches and watch some TV by the fire. It’s also pet friendly, and has a hot tub and game room as well! Grab your closest friends and go live a week by the lake! 

Take a Hike

As its name implies Take a Hike is perfect for all the hikers out there! Located in the Cohutta Wilderness and on Mt. Pisgah, you’ll experience stunning mountain views from any of the cabin’s 3 decks and be fully immersed in nature. Right from your cabin, step on the trails and enjoy an easy hike to a waterfall, cave, and even Colonel Magnum’s memorial. Or take a quick drive to get to any of the major trails in the Cohutta Wilderness like Daily Gap, Jacks River, Benton MacKaye, and Hemptop.

Also enjoy fantastic mountain biking trails around the mountain base. And within just 20 minutes from the cabin, you’ll find fishing, boating, and rafting adventures at the Ocoee River, Lake Blue Ridge, and Fighting Town Creek. You’ll have a full day of fun and adventure in store with so many great outdoor opportunities so close by.

When your day of hiking, biking, fishing, and boating is done enjoy dinner with a view at the picnic table and rocking chairs on the back deck. You’ll get cozy by the outdoor fireplace and watch the sunset. Then after dinner is done and the sun has set, step on down to the yard for s’mores by the fire or a dip in the hot tub. This cabin was truly made for outdoor lovers and adventurers! 

The Overlook 

Last but not least on our list is the beautiful and secluded cabin, The Overlook. It gets it’s name because it overlooks the Aska Adventure Area, Lake Blue Ridge, and has panoramic mountain views. And lucky for you outdoor lovers, it’s in short walking distance to the Benton McKaye trail, which takes you to past numerous falls, rivers, and mountain hikes. Its prime location and easy access to the trails makes this cabin the ideal escape for hikers.

Even while at the cabin you can take full advantage of the great outdoors by sitting out on the deck in a rocking chair and taking in the views. Or soak in the hot tub to warm up and relax after a long day on the trails. You’ll absolutely love having your own private and secluded oasis, far away from the rest of the world! 

Destination: Long Creek Falls



If you’re looking for a scenic trail with beautiful falls at the end, and to check off a couple high profile hiking trails while you’re at it, Long Creek Falls in the Chattahoochee National Forest in Blue Ridge, Georgia should make it to the top of your list.

An easy to moderate difficulty rating, Long Creek Falls is a two-mile round trip “out-and-back trail” that sits directly on the Appalachian Trail (AT), with access to both the Benton McKaye Trail and the Duncan Ridge Trail. Uniquely, the Appalachian Trail and Benton McKaye Trail run together as one route during this particular section of the footpath.

With full falls, even in the middle of summer, Long Creek Falls is one of the first attractions along the Appalachian Trail and one of the prettiest you’ll find not only in Fannin County, but also throughout all of the North Georgia Mountains! Exposed rock frames the cascading water, allowing for optimum sitting spots along the bank of the falls and the creek that it feeds. Before tumbling over one large rock face, Long Creek runs over smaller rocks, making the final drop into a shallow pool at the base of the falls even that much more impressive. Since the falls are only a short walk off of the AT, it’s a hot spot for thru-hikers who want a quiet place to rest their feet, take a nap alongside the river, or simply sit and take in the beauty of the falls.

Family & Pet Friendly

Over the years, Long Creek Falls has also become a destination for day hikers, particularly families and those with dogs who want a decent trail to visit on the weekends. In fact, it’s grown so much in popularity that the parking lot at Three Forks (the area you’ll drive to the start of the trail) is always packed, sprawling out down the dirt service road, especially on the weekends. So, if you’re wanting a less crowded view of the falls, going on the weekdays would give you more privacy to enjoy the trail and the falls once you get there.

For those with kids or grandkids, the falls are a huge hit since the shallow pool serves as the best spot to take a refreshing dip in the cool water, especially on those particularly sticky, southern summer days!

Take It Up a Notch

If you’re feeling especially ambitious after hiking Long Creek Falls, you can extend your hike another 8.6 miles and head toward Springer Mountain, the southern terminus for the Appalachian Trail. Though more difficult than Long Creek, the “out-and-back” from the trailhead at Long Creek to the peak of Springer Mountain offers one of the most diverse terrains on all of the Georgia section of the AT. Just follow the 2 x 6-inch white blaze north!

Are We There Yet?

You can hear that soft rustle of water from the start of the trail all the way through.

As far as getting to the trailhead goes, it isn’t a hard one to find. In fact, you can even plug the location into your GPS and it’ll take you right to the parking lot. From Blue Ridge, you’ll take Old Highway 76 and hop on Aska Road until it dead-ends into Newport Road. Take Newport Road until it ends and turn left onto Doublehead Gap Road. Doublehead Gap will turn into a dirt road, which you’ll follow until the three-way split. On the split, follow Forest Service Road 58 until you reach Three Forks, which is just over five miles.

Once you’ve made it, park your car, follow the trail across the road from the footbridge, and take in all the wonder and beauty of Long Creek Falls!

Be sure to share your pictures of your journeys with us on Facebook or Instagram. We’d love to see where your Escape to Blue Ridge takes you!