Mountain Flora & Blue Ridge Fauna



The Blue Ridge mountains are an ideal habitat for both vegetation and animal life due to several factors including rainfall, climate, and soil types. In just Blue Ridge alone, 40% of our county’s land is located in and protected by the Chattahoochee National Forest which creates a safe environment for abundant flora and fauna to thrive.

Our mountain ranges are covered in over 140 species of trees and is notably one of the most extensive broad-leaved deciduous forests still flourishing in the world. The combination of southern plant growth known as the Appalachian Forests put on quite the dramatic show throughout the year making fall one of the most popular times to visit and experience all the changing colors of fall. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular plants and animals that inhabit this special region.

Mountain Laurel

Photo Courtesy of bbg.org

The evergreen Mountain Laurel is a staple plant in the hills of the Appalachian Mountains. Tolerant to shade, these North American shrubs produce gorgeous flowers in the late spring and early summer. The spectacular blooms range in color from white to pink to deep rose and have distinctive and symmetrical purple dots or streaks. Mountain Laurel is slow growing, but average 6-15 feet in height. You will often see mountain furniture and home accents made out of the bark of the Mountain Laurel. Of Note: These plants are poisonous if ingested.

Rhododendron

Photo Courtesy of Gardening Know How

The evergreen Rhododendron come in many shapes and sizes, but they are most known for their spectacular blossoms that appear in the early spring to mid-summer in a variety of colors. The blossoms can be pure white, soft pink, yellow, red, purple and blue! Of Note: These plants are poisonous if ingested.

Azaleas

Photo Courtesy of Old Farmer’s Almanac

Azaleas were designated, in Georgia, as the official state wildflower in 1979. A relative to the Rhododendron, and in fact a part of the Rhododendron genus, but as all azaleas are rhododendrons, not all rhododendrons are azaleas. Similarly, azaleas bloom in brilliant colors like scarlet, crimson, orange and more. The main difference between the rhodies and the azaleas is the leaf size, quantity of stamen, and azaleas are deciduous as opposed to its evergreen cousins. Of Note: These plants are poisonous if ingested.

Fun Fact

Photo Courtesy of Hamilton Gardens at Lake Chatuge

Close by in Hiawassee, there are rhododendron gardens filled with azaleas, mountain laurels, and many other native Georgia plants. Plan to visit The Hamilton Gardens at Lake Chatuge and learn more about area flora. Admission is a suggested $5 donation.

Cherokee Rose

Photo Courtesy of petals from the past

The official state flower of Georgia is also found thriving in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Cherokee Rose is both beautiful and interesting. Rooted in Cherokee legend, the Cherokee Rose is said to have been created from the tears of Native American mothers crying for their children journeying on the Trail of Tears. The fragrant rose is white for their tears, a gold center represents the gold taken from Cherokee lands, and 7 leaves for the 7 Cherokee clans. The evergreen Cherokee Rose plant is a climbing shrub that has antibacterial properties.

Whitetail Deer

Photo Courtesy of My Canyon Lake

Probably the most common and most exciting animal to see grazing in the woods. These beautiful animals are the smallest of the North American deer population and graze on leaves, corn, fruits, and acorns. Male deer are called bucks and are easily recognizable by their antlers which grow each year and fall off in the winter! The female deer are called does and they give birth to 1-3 fawns a year. The best time to spot deer are at dawn and at dusk since deer are primarily nocturnal animals.

Wild Turkey

Photo Courtesy of CTpost

You might see wild turkeys on the side of the road on your drive up to the mountains or out in a field foraging with their flock. Turkey are a large game bird with a long neck and long legs. Male turkeys are distinguished by their unfeathered heads and large red throat known as a “gobble”. Turkeys can fly short distances and often roost in trees or under shrubs.

Black Bear

Photo Courtesy of Scott Michael Anna

The Black Bear is the smallest of the North American bears. These bears are ominivores which means they eat both plants and meat. Bears are also nocturnal which means they sleep during the day and come out to hunt at night. While we are intrigued by them, it is best for black bears to meander through the woods without human interaction.

Bird is the Word

Male Rose Breasted Grosbeak Photo Courtesy of Scott M Anna

Birding is a popular pastime for nature lovers and there are more than 80 species of migratory birds and 200 species of  native x to spot in the mountains! The Georgia State bird, the Brown Thrasher, can be seen here along with the Ruffed Grouse, Owls, Ravens, Wrens, Woodpeckers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and many varieties of Warblers and Hawks including Bald Eagles.

Coyote

Photo Courtesy of WFAE

Resembling a small dog, coyotes are indeed canines, but they are not of domesticated variety. They have keen eyesight, an acute sense of smell, and the ability to quickly adapt to a variety of habitats. In the evenings you may hear distant high pitched cries, shrieks, barking or howling as these animals communicate with each other. Contrary to popular believe, coyotes do not hunt in packs, but are primarily solo hunters and are effective in maintaining a balance in Georgia’s rodent population.

What’s Swimming in the Blue Ridge Waters?



Exploring the flowing waters in Blue Ridge can be such fun! There are many types of wildlife that are easily discovered, while some creatures remain hiding in their secret spots where only they know. The two main waterways where our water-bound friends live are Lake Blue Ridge and the Toccoa River. These bodies of water are known for their stunning location, scenery, and marine life. Other bodies of water include local streams and ponds. The Blue Ridge Mountains are an ideal habitat for a variety of animals. The rocky terrain, cool streams, and climate all provide support for the aquatic animals’ lives.

Bog Turtle

Photo Courtesy of Turtle Conservancy

Bog turtles are the smallest turtle species in North America at about 11.5 inches in length. These turtles tend to hang out on the banks of streams and soak up sunlight. They are most active between late March to early October. Bog turtles tend to favor wet areas and thick, dense vegetation to live in. Their black/brown shell can easily camouflage them on pieces of wood. Certain bog turtles will have a yellow/orange stripe or patches throughout their shell. Bog turtles are one of the most rare turtles found in the United States and are currently critically endangered.

Northern Water Snake

Photo Courtesy of Raritan Headwaters

Don’t be scared, these slithering non-venomous fellas can’t harm you! These snakes may make you squirm, but it’s not you that they’re after. Georgia has almost 50 species of snakes, and only six are venomous. The venomous and notorious Copperhead snake is commonly mistaken as a Northern Water Snake. But these two differ by the shape of their heads, swimming path, and pattern of their eyes. Rivers, lakes, swamps, and ponds are where Northern Water snakes like to camp out at. They tend to be dark-colored snakes, with tan, black or brown scales. If they are young or wet, their scales will display a vivid pigment. Their diets consist primarily of amphibians and fish.

Brook Trout

Photo Courtesy of FishingBooker

Also, known as ‘brookies’, Brook Trout are a beautiful speckled fish that is found throughout North America. Since they are often found in clean, cool mountain waters, the Blue Ridge Mountains are a perfect spot for some to call home. Mostly active during dusk and dawn, Brook Trout are likely found in deeper waters during the day. Aquatic insects are their favorite choice of food. They also will eat smaller fish, ants, and beetles when available.

Brown Trout

Photo Courtesy of Animals.net

While they may look like Brook Trout, they are a different species! Brown Trout often have a brassy appearance, and display olive-brown to black spots along their sides. Due to their large size, they are a dominant predatory fish amidst their environment. They become a threat to smaller, native fish that also live in the mountain waters. If the Brown Trout population is smaller than 12 inches, they will feast on aquatic insects. But if they become larger than 12 inches, they will snack on crayfish and smaller fish. 

Rainbow Trout

Photo Courtesy of We Sport Fish

For good reason, Blue Ridge is referred to as the Trout Capital of Georgia. Rainbow Trout were given their name due to their colorful appearance. The color of these fish can depend on their age and habitat. They prefer the chilly and clear waters that are found in these Blue Ridge Mountains. Rainbow trout are surprisingly a member of the salmon family. Does their pink stripe give it away? They survive off insects and smaller fish.

Smallmouth Bass

Photo Courtesy of Game & Fish

Smallmouth Bass are found primarily in the rocky and deeper areas of Lake Blue Ridge. These fish prefer waters that are fast-flowing and enjoy pools with gravel bottoms. The reason that Smallmouth Bass do well in Lake Blue Ridge is because of the cool water temperature. Crayfish can be a staple in their diet, but when small fish are present, they also feed on those. Smallmouth Bass are a part of the sunfish family. and are known to leap through the water!

Walleye

Photo Courtesy of Coastal Angler Magazine

Walleyes tend to stick together in small groups when cruising through the North Georgia waters. They are known to chase each other and swim in circles when in their small groups. Walleyes are native to lakes and streams. They have large, glassy eyes (hence the name) that help them catch their prey. But the downfall is that their eyes appear under lights during nighttime, which makes them easily catchable.

Crayfish

Photo Courtesy of Self-Reliance

Mudbugs, crayfish, crawdads, or crawfish… call ‘em what you want! Depending on where you live, you may even call these speedy crustaceans a different name. They require clean water to live, so they are commonly found in ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams in North Georgia. They are active most of the year until the water drops in the winter.  Crayfish adapt their bodies to their surrounding environments and blend in with the waters around them. They peruse along the floor of the creek or lake bed and will bury themselves under rocks. Crayfish are scavengers and will hunt for fish, eggs, and aquatic vegetation to feed on.

Green Salamander

Photo Courtesy of Marshall University

The Green Salamander is speedy and often slimy, and not to be mistaken for a lizard. While they can be spotted on land and water, they must have a water source nearby to keep their skin moist. Salamanders also have their offspring which hatch from eggs and remain in the water. Crevices in rocks and bark from fallen trees are where salamanders can be found when not re-moisturizing.

How Did the Blue Ridge Mountains Form?



When we say the old Blue Ridge mountains, we mean it! As part of the Appalachian mountain range, the Blue Ridge mountains are the second oldest range in the whole world. Over 1 BILLION years ago, shifts in our Earth’s tectonic plates caused the Blue Ridge mountains to form in a system of peaks and valleys that span eight states!

Sometimes it’s a little confusing that you can see the Blue Ridge mountains in other states besides Georgia but these mountains are vast. There is a Northern section that includes Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. The Southern section includes West Virginia, Tennessee, North & South Carolina, and of course right here in Blue Ridge, Georgia! Our particular section of the range is known as the Appalachian Mountain Range and we are a part of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest.

They Really are Blue!

View from “Adventure Us” cabin

Have you ever wondered why these mountains are called Blue Ridge? If you catch any section of the range at the right time of day, you’ll see that the mountains have a distinctive blue color. The forests that cover these rocky protrusions are predominately made up of spruce and fir trees and they emit isoprene into the atmosphere creating the blue hue!

The Blue Ridge Mountains can span across 60 miles in some locations. While the tallest mountain in this system is Mount Mitchell in North Carolina rising at 6,684 feet high, just 30 minutes from downtown Blue Ridge is the tallest peak in Georgia, Brasstown Bald rising at 4,784 feet above sea level! Here you can see 4 states!

Photo Courtesy of Brasstown Bald

Early Inhabitants

The Native Americans, and specifically the Cherokee, lived in the Blue Ridge area more than 12,000 years ago! The moderate climate and the character of the mountains themselves, made a perfect region for inhabitants to settle. They farmed and hunted in the valleys and mountains that they called “the Enchanted Land” until they were forced to leave on the Trail of Tears.

Two Features

Photo Courtesy of @ancole78

One popular trail system that follow the Blue Ridge mountains all the way through Virginia is the Appalachian Trail. Hikers along the trail get the advantage of seeing the stunning untouched beauty of the mountains.

At the extreme Southern tip of the Appalachian Trail and the entire Blue Ridge mountain system is the spectacular Amicalola Falls, the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi!

Ready…Set…Float!



It’s time to kick back and relax river-style! Tubing and kayaking are two activities that need to be at the top of your “Mountain Fun Bucket List”. While on the water, you can enjoy the stunning scenery and let the flowing waterways of North Georgia work their magic! Kayaking requires some arm strength and a bit of determination, but there are definite moments of downtime. Tubing on the other hand involves a whole bunch of sitting and relaxing! If you’re looking for an adventure that makes you feel at ease and involves kicking your feet up, tubing is the type of trip for you.

These activities are enjoyed by all ages and allow you to see an entirely new side of the Blue Ridge nature. You may experience a rush of excitement navigating through low-class rapids, but that’s what helps you move along! Whether you’re on a kayak paddling with an oar or using your palms to guide your tube, a day on the waters is never wasted! The businesses listed below attribute to why Blue Ridge continues to have visitors explore the great outdoors year after year!

Toccoa Valley Campground

11481 Aska Rd, Blue Ridge, GA 30513 | (706) 838-4317 | Hours: Monday-Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday 10am-6pm

Photo Courtesy of Toccoa Valley Campground

Located only a few miles from downtown Blue Ridge, the Toccoa Valley Campground has everything you could need for an outing in the mountains. Tubing, kayaking, and rafting are all available. Their water route takes you on a private 6-mile stretch of the Toccoa River. It has been one of North Georgia’s most popular attractions for over 50 years!

Shallowford Bridge Tube Rental

70 Shallowford Bridge Rd. Blue Ridge, GA 30513 | (706) 632- 2462 | Hours: Monday, Thursday & Friday 11am-5pm, Saturday & Sunday 10am-6pm

Photo Courtesy of Shallowford Bridge Tube Rental

This tubing trip will take you through parts of the beautiful Toccoa River in less than an hour and a half. Shallowford Bridge Tube Rental is one of the oldest, family-owned companies for tubing in the Aska Adventure Area. Visitors are launched into the river at Sandy Bottoms and are sent off on their breezy cruise. At the end of your adventure, you’ll get an up-close view of the historic steel truss Shallowford Bridge!

Blue Ridge Mountain Kayaking

56 North River Rd. Morganton, GA 30560 | (706) 258-2411 | Hours: Monday-Sunday 9am-6pm

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountain Kayaking

You can choose your journey while at Blue Ridge Mountain Kayaking! This kayak-only business is located just 2 miles away from downtown Blue Ridge. They offer 2 thrilling expeditions on the Toccoa River including a 6-mile and 12-mile trip. The 6-mile kayak trip takes travelers an estimated 2 hours to complete and the 12-mile trip takes an estimated 4 hours to complete. While kayaking, adventurers can enjoy fishing, swimming, and breathtaking sights of mountains along the route!

Toccoa Wilderness Tubing

8436 B Aska Rd. Blue Ridge, GA 30513 | (706) 455-6496 | Hours: Monday-Sunday 10am-3pm

Photo Courtesy of Toccoa Wilderness Company

All you have to do is bring your crew and the fun will follow! The Toccoa Wilderness Company makes river tubing easy and enjoyable. With a shuttle to the Sandy Bottoms launch area, your toes will be in the water in a matter of minutes. Sit back and let the water carry you away! The 2-mile float finishes its course at the Shallowford Bridge.

Lakewood Landing Boat Launch

Boat Ramp Rd 30560, Morganton, GA 30560

Photo Courtesy of Lake Blue Ridge Civic Association

If you are already a lucky owner of a kayak or a boat, then this is the spot for you! This boat launch is located on the north side of Lake Blue Ridge. You can spend the day as you please on the 3,000+ acres of the lake. The lake offers unbeatable views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.

Jon Ron Toccoa River Outfitters

15 Black Ankle Creek Rd. Cherry Log, GA 30522 | (706) 838-0200 | Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 10am-2pm

Photo Courtesy of Jon Ron Toccoa River Outfitters

At Jon Ron Toccoa River Outfitters, there are plenty of options for you to hit the water! There are half-day and full-day solo or guided kayak trips that take you through the upper Toccoa River. They also have trips that can shuttle guests to kayak or canoe at Lake Blue Ridge. If you’re a beginner or pro, Jon Ron Toccoa River Outfitters can satisfy your need to explore the great outdoors!

Toccoa River Tubing Company

340 Toccoa Ave. McCaysville, GA 30555 | (706) 492-5280 | Call for Seasonal Hours

Photo Courtesy of Toccoa River Tubing Company

Grab your family and get ready to go! The Toccoa River Tubing Company, located on the border of Georgia and Tennessee, offers a variety of canoeing, kayaking, and tubing trips. Tubing at this spot of the Toccoa River involves a 1.5-mile and 3-mile float. If you are looking to kayak, there are 1.5-mile and 6-mile trips available. With small rapids, clean water, and picturesque scenery, this is an activity that you’ll have to experience for yourself!

The Trout Capital of Georgia is ‘Wading’



Grab your fishing gear, license, and get ready to go! Fishing in North Georgia is one of the most peaceful, but also exhilarating past-times! Some of the state’s best freshwater spots are conveniently located in and around Blue Ridge. Whether you’re searching for trout, bass, walleye, or all the above, you can find it all by boat or wading in the beautiful chilly waters.

For beginner and advanced anglers, the fishing spots found in North Georgia rank in with top sights and top catches. With waterfront property rentals, Escape to Blue Ridge will ensure that your lodging experience is first-class after a long day of fishing. The summer season in North Georgia brings an assortment of adventure and a wonderful chance to test your fish-catching skills!

There’s a reason why Blue Ridge is named the Trout Capital of Georgia, and you’ll have to come fish around to agree. We picked a few of the best fish-biting spots in North Georgia, and with peak season upon us, you won’t leave empty-handed!

The Toccoa River

Photo Courtesy of KC Outfitters

The trout found in the Toccoa River include rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout. The variety of the species found in these waters weigh in heavier than average and seem to continue growing with each passing year. The consistent cold rushing water in this river makes it a prime spot for year-round fishing. The two main sections of the Toccoa River, the Upper and Lower areas, offer almost 20 excellent miles of available fishing spots. Access points for entry include the Blue Ridge Dam, Horseshoe Bend Park, and Tammen Park.

Shallowford Bridge

Photo Courtesy of Explore Georgia

This spot is located on the Toccoa River and provides fishing spots under the bridge or along the side of the river. The bridge is located on Aska Road and is a part of the Benton Mackaye Trail. This section is a Delayed Harvest Area, so you are almost guaranteed a catch if you are with fly fishermen. There are strict ‘catch and release’ policies during certain times of the year, nonetheless, this location is a great spot to strengthen your skills.

Lake Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of 365 Atlanta Traveler

The crystal-clear waters and mountain peak views make Lake Blue Ridge one of the most premier spots for a full day of fishing. The waters are packed with a variety of species, with the bluegill being the most plentiful in this area. This lake is known for its walleye, catfish, white bass, smallmouth bass, and bluegill. There are several points to enter these waters, and a boat is necessary if you’re wanting to explore all that Lake Blue Ridge has to offer. Lake Blue Ridge Marina, Morganton Point Recreation Area, Lake Blue Ridge Day Use Area, and Lakewood Landing are top access sites. Lake Blue Ridge’s consistency and abundance of fish make this spot a must-visit!

Ellijay River

Photo Courtesy of Reel Em In Guide Service

This stream in the heart of Ellijay stretches for over 15 miles. Its ample width and length are full of brook trout, rainbow trout, and largemouth bass. These waters are private and some of the most pristine in North Georgia. All you need is your tackle and a little bit of patience and you are good to go!

Cartecay River

Photo Courtesy of Sweet Tea South

One of the best-kept secrets in North Georgia for bream and bass fishing is the Cartecay River. This waterway only 0.2 miles away from Ellijay is stocked with trout once a month. Popular species caught at this stream also include rainbow trout and flathead catfish. The sounds of the flowing waters and rolling hills in view make up a picture-perfect scenery for a fishing adventure. Enter the 34.691475 latitude, and -84.483536 longitude coordinates into your GPS or smartphone to find the Cartecay River.

Rock Creek

Photo Courtesy of Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery

This fish hatchery spot found in the Chattahoochee National Forest reels in a large population of wild trout. This creek has nearby streams that flow into these waters, providing several spots to cast a line. Rock Creek is nestled in between Dahlonega and Morganton, only 45 minutes from Blue Ridge. It’s found off Forest Service Rd. 69 on State Rte. 60, making it an easy entry for fishermen. This is a prime spot for rainbow trout, and if you’re lucky you’ll catch native brookies in the higher elevations!

Jacks and Conasauga Rivers

Photo Courtesy of Coastal Angler Magazine

These two rivers run parallel to each other, providing about 45 miles of ample fishing opportunities. The Conasauga River is open year-round and Jacks River is open from March to October. The overhanging branches keep these waters cool and have a population of Appalachian brook trout. The rugged terrain and 60-foot waterfall on Jacks River are added bonuses to the fishing experience!

Extreme Outdoors for the Brave at Heart



The moments when we conquer our fears are the moments when we feel most alive! Extreme activities in the great outdoors allow you to capture the place we all call home from an entirely different perspective. You’ll be chasing the adrenaline rush for days to come! And what better place to try out a new and unusual outdoor activity than in the Blue Ridge Mountains?

These 7 extreme activities will swipe you off your feet…literally!

Zipline Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of Zipline Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge

Choose from 13 extraordinary zip line adventures ranging from 25-75 feet at this property. Ages 10 and up are welcome to experience any of the zip lines. While zipping through the treetops, you’ll catch views of mountain peaks, pastures, and Fighting Town Creek. There are one-hour and two-hour guided tours available to pick the route most suitable for you. The cable lines extend up to 1,000 feet in length so you’ll be soaring as far as the eye can see!

Zipline Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge
891 Old Cashes Valley Rd. Blue Ridge, GA 30513 | (800) 251-4800 | Hours: 7 days a week, 7am-11pm

Blue Ridge Adventure Park

Photo Courtesy of Zipline Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge

After you’ve completed your zip line tour, head over to the Blue Ridge Adventure Park, located only 15 minutes away from the Zipline Canopy Tours site. This park features climbing walls, zip lines, suspension bridges, and other exciting obstacles. There are three courses with varying levels of difficulty offered for ages seven and up. The paths are designed to stretch your physical and mental ability!

Blue Ridge Adventure Park
2087 E 1st St, Blue Ridge, GA 30513 | (800)-251-4800 | Hours: Vary. Call for reservations

Rolling Thunder River Company

Photo Courtesy of Rolling Thunder River Company

If you’re looking for an action-packed day of fun, you can find it at Rolling Thunder River Company. This thrilling experience can be shared with friends or family and can be enjoyed for a half-day or a full-day long. The two scenic options for whitewater rafting include the Ocoee River in Southern TN or the Nantahala River in Western NC. The Ocoee River rafting center is located only 15 minutes from downtown Blue Ridge, and holds the most continuous class III and IV rapids in the country! These river waters were chosen as the whitewater events venue for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, making them a popular destination since then. A whitewater rafting trip will leave you with a new-found passion, a greater appreciation for wilderness, and probably soaked clothes!

Rolling Thunder River Company
20 Hughes St. McCaysville, GA 30555 | (800) 404-7238 | Hours: Reservations can be made 7 days a week, 10am-5p
m

Tank Town USA

Photo Courtesy of Tank Town USA

This activity is truly next level! This place is an amusement park for ages 15+ and where every artillery enthusiasts’ dreams come true. At Tank Town USA, visitors can drive real tanks, crush cars with tanks, operate construction excavators, and shoot M-1919 machine guns. These activities are once in a lifetime opportunities or you can become a regular visitor! Group rates are available. Tank Town USA is designed for anyone willing to put the daredevil within them to the test!

Tank Town USA
10408 Appalachian Hwy, Morganton, GA 30560 | (706) 633-6072 | Hours: Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday by reservation only

Lookout Mountain Flight Park

Photo Courtesy of Lookout Mountain Flight Park

It’s time to let the wind take you away! At Lookout Mountain Flight Park you can learn to hang glide or paraglide through the sky. With stunning views of the Georgia and Tennessee mountains and valleys, this is an activity that will allow you to gain some wings! There are solo and tandem flights available. After lessons and practice with instructors, you will be soaring high with the clouds!

Lookout Mountain Flight Park
7201 Scenic Highway, Rising Farm 30738 | (706) 383-1292 | Summer Hours: Thursday-Tuesday 9am-6pm

Chattanooga Skydiving Company

Photo Courtesy of Chattanooga Skydiving Company

Freefall like never before! Take a chance and fall from an aircraft 14,000 or 18,000 feet in the air. The Chattanooga Skydiving company offers various levels of packages, and their team has been providing skydiving instruction for over 50 years. The skydiving experience is done with a highly experienced skydiving instructor strapped on your back. The instructor will film your jump from their perspective for free!

Chattanooga Skydiving Company
300 Airport Rd. Jasper, TN 37347 | (855) 776-5867 | Hours: 7 Days a Week 8am-6pm

Wing-N-It Seaplane Adventures

Photo Courtesy of Wing-N-It Seaplane Adventures

You can capture the beautiful North Georgia mountains and lakes all in one trip. Their flight packages are available with tours in Gainesville, Blairsville, Blue Ridge, and Hiawassee. The Blue Ridge aerial flight takes passengers around the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lake Blue Ridge, and Lake Nottely. The flight tours range from 15 to 60 minutes. Reach new heights with Wing-N-It seaplane adventures!

Wing-N-It Seaplane Adventures
1660 Palmour Dr. Gainesville, GA 30501| (678) 971-9922 | Hours:
Vary. Call for reservations

August Events & Happenings in Blue Ridge



Ahhhhhh, August! Hot summer days perfect for splashing in creeks and jumping into the lake! While there aren’t as many events as usual going on this summer, the ones we have are worth checking out and each event is taking extra precautions to keep you safe.

UPCOMING EVENTS & ACTIVITIES

Georgia Wine Highway
The Month of August
Location: Multiple Wineries

Photo Courtesy of Georgia Wine Producers

2020 Wine Highway Week is now a MONTH long! Enjoy touring 24 participating vineyards in the beautiful mountains while you discover Georgia wines! There will be a $50.00 fee for each participant which will be collected at the first winery visited. Travelers will receive a “Wine Highway Week” collectors’ glass and Passport which will give them admission to ALL participating wineries at no additional charge. Be sure to keep you Passport and Collectors glass with you at all wineries visited! You can purchase your Passport on line at: www.georgiawineproducers.org/shop

North Georgia Farmers Market
Saturdays at 9am
Location: Dunbarton Farm Rd, Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of North Georgia Farmers Market

Top notch local farmers & artisans offering farm fresh produce, fruits, food and handmade arts & crafts. Parking lot at Cohutta Country Store. Presented by the Appalachian Mountains Farmers Cooperative.

Organic Farm to Table Dinner at Inola
Saturday, August 1st at 5:30pm
Location: Inola Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of Inola

An Organic Farm to Table Dinner and Wine Pairing with Private Chef John Bertrand. Beginning at cocktail hour, appetizers, salad, main course, and ending with a fabulous dessert!

A Walk in the Clouds / Wine Themed Movie Night
Wednesday, August 5th at 6:00pm
Location: bin322 Wine & Tapas Bar

Photo Courtesy of Bin 322

Enjoy an American romantic drama with wine tastings related to the movie. $10 per person.

Kiwanis Rodeo
August 20th – 22nd
Location: Kiwanis Fairgrounds

Photo Courtesy of the Kiwanis Rodeo

Professional rodeo cowboys and cowgirls will be competing in a variety of events at the fairgrounds arena including bareback riding, barrell racing, bull riding, calf scrambles, team roping, and bronc riding!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

CRUISING ON LAKE BLUE RIDGE

Photo Courtesy of Steve Procko

Captain Katz wants to tell you all about his home – Lake Blue Ridge! 🐟

Boating – Jet Skis – Paddleboarding
Swimming – Sunning – Relaxing
Fishing – Eating – Sleeping
Sunrises – Incredible Views – Sunsets

So much to do in, around, and on this lake! Click here to learn about all the fun you can have this summer! 🛥

Wherever the Water Flows is Where We Will Go!



It’s time to cool off and soak in the views from North Georgia’s creeks, rivers, and streams. These small, but mighty, bodies of water offer an extensive variety of activities and adventure. The canopy trees, wildlife, and stunning boulders all around the waters provide plenty of sights for the whole group.

The spectacular waters found in the North Georgia Mountains are truly hidden gems. With hot temperatures rising, jumping into these cool waters is a must. These parks and recreation areas will allow you to experience the beauty of nature in a family-friendly environment. The best part is you can stay as long as you’d like! The sun is shining, the water is flowing and the mountains are calling! So what are you waiting for?! Grab your water shoes and let’s go!

Cooper Creek Recreation Area

Photo Courtesy of USDA Forest Service

Nestled in the North Georgia Mountains, Cooper Creek Recreation Area is a prime location for an afternoon or a weekend of adventure! Activities at this recreation area include hunting, hiking, and trout fishing. Cooper Creek is stocked with rainbow trout so all fishermen will not leave disappointed! After you’ve explored the shady banks of Cooper Creek, grill some burgers and hot dogs for a creek-side cookout!

Mulky Recreation Area

Photo Courtesy of USDA Forest Service

Another spot located along Cooper Creek is the Mulky Recreation Area. This is a simple, yet serene environment to spend some time. Activities involving hiking, fishing, and creek splashing are all offered at the Mulky Recreation Area. Test out your hiking boots on the Yellow Mountain Trail, which follows an old logging road for 3.6 miles through forests of hemlock, pine and hardwood.

Deep Hole Recreation Area

Photo Courtesy of USDA Forest Service

The Deep Hole Recreation Area is just north of Suches, GA, and sits alongside the banks of the Toccoa River. This campground has picnic tables, benches, and trails through the lush forest. There is also a canoe launch available if you’re looking to experience the river in a new way. Bring your portable hammock to swing within the trees and take a nap with the soothing sound of the Toccoa’s waters!

Sandy Bottoms Recreation Area

Photo Courtesy of Lilly Pad Village

The Sandy Bottoms Recreation Area is filled with towering hardwoods and views of the Toccoa River. It is in Morganton, GA, making it not too far from the town of Blue Ridge. There are places to camp, fish, swim, or sit and enjoy the outdoor scenery. This is a site that is pleasant all year long, but there is no better time than now to check it out for yourself!

Tammen Park

Photo Courtesy of Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Tammen Park is only a few miles north of the town of Blue Ridge and is a great place for the entire family. The park amenities here include a softball field, sheltered pavilions with picnic tables, river access, and a playground. The Toccoa River access at the park is the perfect spot to cast a line or load in your kayak or canoe. With Lake Blue Ridge sitting right around the corner, you’ll find yourself wandering around the area all day!

Amicalola River

Photo Courtesy of 365 Atlanta Traveler

The Amicalola River is a stream part of the Etowah River and lends its name from the popular Amicalola Falls. This site offers walking trails, stunning sights of the water rapids, and a swimming hole. With its sandy beaches, there are multiple places alongside this stream to enjoy an outdoor picnic! After your adventure, head over to Amicalola Falls State Park to catch the 729-foot cascading falls. You can then watch the sunset fall behind the mountains at the Amicalola Falls Lodge and grab a bite to eat or a refreshing drink!

Horseshoe Bend Park

Photo Courtesy of Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

This park offers a full day of fun! Located in McCaysville, it is a wonderful place to bring the entire family. The Toccoa River flows alongside the Horseshoe Bend Park offering non-stop views. Picnic tables, volleyball nets, and playgrounds are all available for use at this park. Horseshoe Bend Park is also the location of ‘Pickin’ In the Park’. ‘Pickin’ In the Park’ is an event with live music from local artists. It occurs every Thursday, May- September, from 6pm to dusk and is a relaxing place to enjoy a summer’s evening!

The Hiwassee River

Photo Courtesy of Simply Awesome Trips

The Hiwassee River begins in Towns County and flows through the
spectacular North Georgia Mountains, into North Carolina, and eventually merging into the Tennessee River. Activities at the Hiwassee River include walking, fly-fishing, kayaking, or tubing. There are plenty of sights and plenty of opportunities for adventure!

5 Must-See Waterfalls in North Georgia



Waterfalls are one of nature’s most beautiful sights and the surrounding areas around Blue Ridge have plenty to explore. These waterfalls offer views that appeal to all ages and the anticipation leading up to the waterfall can be an enjoyable experience of its own. Nature is calling and it’s waiting for you to explore these falls on your next Escape to Blue Ridge!

Amicalola Falls

Photo Courtesy of @northgeorgiasoftball

Located right on the edge of the North Georgia Mountains, Amicalola Falls State Park is one of the most visited parks in Georgia. The 729-foot falls, south of Ellijay, make it the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi River. The forest and mossy terrain surrounding the waterfall truly complete the picturesque scene.

The ease of access to Amicalola Falls is another factor that contributes to the visit. The top part of the falls can be viewed by a drive through the State Park and looking down. Another popular option is to park your car at the State Park parking lot and access the falls by climbing the lengthy staircase with viewing platforms leading up to the cascading water. The 600 stairs are well worth the effort and offer views of Amicalola Falls throughout its mildly steep course. The waterfall can also be viewed by a 7.5-mile hike starting at Springer Mountain, the southern end of the Appalachian Trail. All three options offer breathtaking scenery along the way and the Amicalola Falls Lodge is an ideal spot for a refreshing drink or meal to complete your day!

Fall Branch Falls

Photo Courtesy of @k4fish

Only 20 minutes from Blue Ridge, Fall Branch Falls is a location where you can spend a half-hour or a half-day! The adventure begins with only a 0.5-mile shaded path that leads visitors to a series of cascading waterfalls reaching 30 feet. The area below the falls is great for a picnic or water break. The mist from the side of the cliff and the water at the base of the falls make for a perfect place to cool down from a hot summer’s day. But watch your step because the rocks can sure be slippery! The observation deck at the falls can be used to snap a picture or to admire nature’s beauty.

Helton Creek Falls

This pair of waterfalls can be found near Blairsville and by following a brief 0.3-mile trail. The trail consisting of wildlife and greenery brings visitors to the smaller Lower Helton Creek Falls first. The trail continues ahead to the Upper Helton Creek Falls, where the 50-foot rush of water can be seen. If you make the short journey up to Helton Creek Falls on a sunny afternoon, we promise you won’t regret it!

Long Creek Falls

Video Courtesy of @mariajill

With towering trees and a 50-foot double-tiered waterfall, Long Creek Falls is easily one of Fannin County’s most treasured sights. The falls are only a short drive from downtown Blue Ridge and can be found at the intersection of the Appalachian and the Benton MacKaye trails. This makes Long Creek Falls a beautiful stop for a variety of travelers and explorers.  The hike to admire the waterfall is under a mile and the boulders along the edge of the falls offer visitors a peaceful spot for a water break or a nature-filled conversation!

Sea Creek Falls

Photo Courtesy of All Trails

Most breathtaking after a summer rain, Sea Creek Falls can be accessed after only a 0.1-mile walk. A trip to see the double cascading falls at Sea Creek Falls, located outside of Blairsville, can be appreciated by skill levels of all ages. The falls displaying 30 feet of mountain water offer sounds, views, and relaxation for any visitor.  The water flowing at the base of Sea Creek Falls is available for feet or paws to splash around in while enjoying a break from the Southern heat.

Photo Courtesy of @ancole78

Remarkable in any season, North Georgia is lucky to claim these waterfalls. A breath of fresh air, a cooling mist from the cliffs, and a leisurely mountain walk are all waiting for you at these five waterfalls just a short drive away from Blue Ridge.

When you embark on your next waterfall adventure, be sure to share your trip with us on our Facebook page or tag us on Instagram @escapetobr. We can’t wait for you to experience these stunning falls for yourself!

In the Lap of Luxury



The sun is just starting to drop, and the skies above the surrounding mountains are showing off their blushing color palette. The pink hues deepen and then you see the first blaze of fire orange streak across your sky high view. Your helicopter lands on the private helipad at Spyglass, the 5 million dollar private lodge you’ve rented for the week. Welcome to this luxurious escape from your crazy everyday urban existence!

Our Escape to Blue Ridge concierge service has seen to the details as you’ve requested. You and your guests are greeted at the entrance by Chef Trey Griffith. So many of the finest award-winning international chefs have found their way to these mountains, tired of the hassle of metropolitan restaurant life. They choose to come here to share their talents. Chef Griffith came back “home” to Blue Ridge and now serves as a personal chef to guests just like you. Passionate about sharing the experience of fine dining with his clients, his services include initial client consultation, a customized menu plan, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and kitchen clean up. He takes into consideration all dietary and discretionary food choices. He will cook you one special meal, help you host a party or he’ll manage your nourishment during your entire stay. 

Photo Courtesy of Trey Griffith, cheftreygourmet

Tonight Chef Griffith serves cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in front of the massive fireplace, giving you plenty of time to shake off the day and begin to relax in the lap of luxury. The evening ends with a brandy and plate of hand dipped chocolate truffles procured from The Sweet Shoppe in downtown Blue Ridge, one of many premier food provision establishments to choose from in town and the surrounding area. 

Photo Courtesy of The Sweet Shoppe of the South

The next morning, as the mist subsides and the full view of the mountains emerges, you sip your joe on the veranda, contemplating only your breathing. As you requested, you’ll be moving into this respite slowly, so today we begin with a visit from your yoga guru. Yoga Over Blue Ridge brings their instructor right to your lodge door.

Photo Courtesy of Yoga Over Blue Ridge

After a private poolside lunch, watching the eagles soar above you, it’s time to take a stroll downtown to see what this little “berg” has to offer. Your first stop on historic East Main St. is Out of the Blue, North Georgia’s opulent gourmet shop offering fine wines, international and local gourmet foods; beautiful linens, ceramics and unique glassware. 

Photo Courtesy of Out of the Blue

A few doors down, you peek into a store window. No, this isn’t Worth Ave in the Palm Beaches, but it sure feels like that when you enter this upscale chic establishment. Welcome to Crawford Collections, where they cater to the “A” list clientele that visit and reside in these hillside enclaves. Shop their impressive collection of luxury handbags and custom jewelry. Experience exceptional personal service and their uncompromising commitment to quality.

Photo Courtesy of Crawford Collections

Along this Main street thoroughfare you’ll continue to find treasures behind so many doors. New Blue Home and Gift features accessories and furnishings that are rich and distinctive. High Country Art and Antiques offers an outstanding selection of traditional and impressionist fine art, folk art, photography, ceramics, pottery, jewelry, sculptures, antiques and collectibles.

Photo Courtesy of High Country Art

When looking for unique provisions, Blue Ridge Olive Oil Co. and Tupelo Tea are must visits. Blue Ridge Olive Oil Company’s inviting cucina-style store offers you 65 varieties of olive oil and balsamic vinegars and the opportunity to taste these remarkable innovations from around the world. There are so many pairing suggestions you find time has slipped by. Their “sibling” store is just next door. Tupelo Tea was formed with a mission to bring premium tea blends from around the world and quality honey to tea lovers who are always exploring new flavors.  They offer an impressive honey and tea tasting bar for those looking to explore new tea blends and local & artesian honeys. You make a note to stop to check them out before the week ends.

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Olive Oil Company

Before you head back to your private vacation estate, you stop at Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar and Grill, for dinner and signature drinks. Chester’s Provisions is located next door and has unique and hard to find food, beverage, gifts, and entertaining items.

Photo Courtesy of Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar and Grill

The next few days are a mix of adventure, rest and rejuvenation, with the entire itinerary raising the bar on distinction and premier services. With VIP Southern Tours, you’ll visit the regions foremost wineries in your private touring car. When we mentioned that one of the best ways to see the amazing topography of this region was from the sky, upon your request we scheduled you for a seaplane ride with Wingin’ It Adventures. You’ll embark on a private chartered fishing adventure with Sea Captian Joe. We’ve even booked you for the premier class car on Blue Ridge’s famous train ride through the mountains. When you asked us to make this a storybook fantasy vacation, we took you seriously, and scheduled Rhiannon of Zolu Photography to capture this week on film and create a memory book just for you.

Photo Courtesy of Wing N It Seaplane Adventures

We hope that you’ll look to us to assist you in bringing the lap of luxury to all of your holiday festivities you choose to celebrate in the mountains. As Valentine’s Day, your anniversary or the night you propose marriage approaches we can arrange for your rental to be ready with fresh flowers, candy and wine or champagne. The scattering of rose petals from the door to the bedroom or on the bed (Only silk ones) is a service we offer.

If you would just love to arrive and settle into your cabin without having to make a trip to the grocery store we can do your grocery shopping for you, delivering it to you and stocking the fridge and pantry just in time for your arrival!

Photo Courtesy of Cabin Concierge

Winter holidays celebrations in the mountains are exceptional when the family gathers and meets to celebrate. We will deliver you a Christmas tree, trim it and even come back after the holiday to remove the tree. Whether it’s a birthday festivity or a retirement party, we are available to bring in what you need to enhance the celebration. Call us anytime to discuss our services fee schedule: 1-866-618-2521.

Ready to Escape to Blue Ridge and enjoy the lap of luxury? We offer a variety of premier properties available for your vacation needs:

Not every Georgia mountain cabin rental looks like the elegant homes in “Southern Living” magazine, but Ambleside is that kind of place, exquisitely appointed yet roomy enough to accommodate 14 guests in comfort and style. Add magnificent mountain and river views from every window and fun things to do right on the property and nearby, and you have the makings of a magical vacation.

Take in the breathtaking beauty of natural surroundings and the serenity of a lodge situated against the National Forrest. This custom home captures your attention and your heart before you even step through the front door. Eagles Landing promises a unique and memorable vacation experience. Discover why so many visitors have commented that this vacation spot has been their favorite, for relaxing and enjoying lake living.

From here, everything good cascades, where new dreams are inspired and your arrival says “I’ve arrived.” Falling Waters sits at the pinnacle of luxury in every way. The home’s location is at one of the highest points in the Aska Adventure Area. The expansive decking provides the best seat in the house as you become the ultimate spectator at nature’s most majestic scenic views

Staying at Legend is like having an entire five-star resort all to yourself. This luxury log cabin is truly in a class of its own. It’s built from handcrafted Douglas-fir logs and each spacious room presents incredible attention to detail with cathedral ceilings, arched doorways, sumptuous furnishings, stylish fixtures, and every amenity you desire to relax in complete luxury. 

SpyGlass is the name, the view will explain.  The largest of our Blue Ridge GA cabin rentals, seize the opportunity to stay in this $5 million custom resort lodge with its own private pool and spa, where you can come and go by helicopter, and treat the entire family to 8,000 sq. ft. of pure luxury and decadence.

High atop Crockett Mountain on five pristine acres in a gated community in the Blue Ridge/Cherry Log area, a one-of-a-kind property with stunning long-range, year-round mountain views provides the backdrop for a magical vacation. It’s called Unforgettable for a reason, and you’ll know why from the moment you arrive, take in that view, and step inside.

Rise above the noise of everyday life and rest in the majesty and luxury of Waterfall Lodge. Here, there are more than 50 miles of unobstructed short and long-range Blue Ridge Mountain vistas that surround the home 180 degrees. There is no shortage of views as the day’s shifting light presents show-stopping displays against the mountain range that change hourly. Enjoy a spot at the outdoor gazebo or by the fire pit to take in this spectacle, the symphony of nature’s soothing sounds and the calm rush of water from the home’s beautiful waterfall feature.