Seven Places in Metro Atlanta Perfect for Enjoying the Fall Leaves
Don’t miss out on Georgia’s beautiful fall display! Here are some of our favorite leaf-viewing spots for a day trip or family weekend. The best colors usually appear between late October and early November; use Georgia’s State Parks Leaf Watch planner for updates on peak color.
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Less than 30 minutes from downtown Atlanta, Panola Mountain offers picturesque scenes of foliage throughout the park as well as a playground. Bonus: it is one of only three “natural heritage areas” in the state, meaning it is recognized as a place where history, cultural and natural wonders combine with places where people work and live.
On the Eastside of Atlanta, enjoy the mature trees lining the streets of Grant Park, a historic Atlanta neighborhood. The park itself, Atlanta’s oldest, is 131 acres of green space with mature trees with fall color throughout. Grant Park is also home to Zoo Atlanta, Grant Park Farmers Market, and a great playground and walking trail.
In Roswell, combine history with fall foliage by checking out the leaves at The Roswell Mill and the nearby historic town square. At the Mill, visitors hike across the bridge and up to a waterfall while enjoying the scenery—the bridge is a popular spot for photographers. Then, take the less-than-half-a-mile walk to Roswell’s historic town square. There, gaze at the beautiful trees around the square and tour the nearly 200-year-old mansion, Barrington Hall.
Just a few miles west of the city and packed with trees, tell the kids you’re in north Georgia at this beautiful park. For a family-friendly hike, the one-mile Red/History Trail follows Sweetwater creek and ends at the ruins of an old textile mill. This park is a great overnight option as well. Wake up to the sight of fall foliage with playgrounds, campsites and even a yurt village.
In Midtown, visit Piedmont Park for family fun under a canopy of fall leaves. From playgrounds to dog parks to just walking around and enjoying the views, the park has everything your family needs for a fun fall day. Don’t miss the Piedmont Park Green Market, with dozens of vendors and live music on Saturday mornings.
Atlanta is home to some of the finest universities, many of which have gorgeous campuses lined with trees. Emory University in Decatur has Lullwater Preserve, a large, peaceful park with a waterfall, wildlife and a 210-foot suspension bridge. Agnes Scott College, also in Decatur, offers a tree walk through their arboretum to see the beautiful fall colors of their oaks and maples. Download the app to guide you through the walk. Another school worthy of tree gawking is Oglethorpe University in Brookhaven, which has a 100-acre wooded campus and benches throughout.
What’s better than gorgeous fall leaves on the water? How about that Lake Allatoona is only 45 minutes northwest of downtown Atlanta? Drive up to the visitor’s center or use this handy hiking guide to hit one or two of their many trails. Bring your camera—there will be lots of frame-worthy photo ops with your kids and those colorful leaves.
Easy-to-reach overlooks make Cloudland Canyon a popular destination for leaf-peepers. The park also has 64 miles of trails; choose from easy to challenging routes and enjoy the colorful fall show. Camp overnight or pack a picnic for a day trip. 122 Cloudland Canyon Park Rd., Rising Fawn.
Take a shuttle from the parking lot or walk the half-mile trail to the visitor’s center at the top of Georgia’s highest mountain. The circular observation deck offers amazing 360-degree views of the Appalachians; on a clear day, visitors can see four states. 2941 Hwy. 180 Spur, Hiawassee.
This hidden gem is set in the wooded hills of north Georgia and boasts plenty of fall color. Picnic, hike or fish in one of the park’s ponds. Overnight campers can pitch their tents on wooden platforms surrounded by hardwood forests. 1105 Bryant Park Rd., Royston.
Pine Mountain, just 80 miles southwest of Atlanta, is home to one of the state’s most popular spots for fall color. The park has thousands of acres of hardwood forests, unique rock formations and streams. Picnic at Dowdell’s Knob, overlooking the Pine Mountain Trail, and enjoy sweeping views of the valley below. 2970 Georgia Hwy. 190, Pine Mountain.
– Elsa Simcik