The rock face of Mount Yonah in background with fall colors against evergreen trees in foreground.

Fall colors around Mount Yonah.

Old man winter’s cold breath has descended on the North Georgia Mountains and is opening the door to the annual beauty in the hills that changes everything. This natural conversion brings with it a kaleidoscope of gorgeous colors that is a special gift for those who love nature, the mountains, wildlife, fishing and spectacular scenery.

Georgia’s northeastern mountains are part of the Blue Ridge range, an extension of the Appalachians, which runs from Virginia through North Carolina and continues for almost a hundred miles into Georgia. In the fall, thousands of people visit this elevated region for breathtaking vistas, traditional crafts and outdoor adventures.

When most of the boating activity and mass humanity of summer have gone, and the cooler weather brings a quietness to the mountains, it becomes an entirely different environment. The sounds of loons, geese, ducks and other waterfowl fill the fall air with a symphony of song and natural beauty that again brings sanity to the beautiful outdoors. Most kids are back in school, hunters have taken to the woods, football is again a part of the weekly routine, and the cooler, receding waters have many people putting their boats in storage until next spring. For folks who love the peace and quiet, are interested in the diverse flora and fauna, or simply enjoy fishing, the fall season is the best time of year!

Fishermen in a boat near the shoreline with Fall folliage on shore.

Fishing along a colorful shoreline.

Because of the lack of rain lately, this year’s receding waters will expose many excellent targets of opportunity for anglers and trigger a faster fall transition … this cornucopia of colored leaves, hungry bass and wildlife make it a wonderful time for a day trip into the higher levels of Georgia. The unique colors that are seen in these mountains are partly due to the altitude, but mostly because of the variety of plants and trees in this part of the Appalachian chain of mountains. In fact, more different species of trees and other flora exist here than in all of Europe … from the fjords of Norway to the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea.

Two Canada Geese swimming in the lake with orange Fall colors reflecting in the water.

Geese swimming

A Heron stands in the water with Fall colored trees in the background.

Waiting for fish.

A female Mallard stands on a log in the middle of the lake, sporting a blue stripe on its wing and orange feet.

Female Mallard






Many great picnic areas, campsites, waterfalls, rivers and trails allow visitors to enjoy the palette of fall colors inside North Georgia State Parks! Here are a few:

  • Amicalola Falls State Park – the Southeast’s tallest cascading waterfall
  • Fort Mountain State Park – stone fire tower
  • Tallulah Gorge State Park – rim overlooks and suspension bridge
  • Unicoi State Park – Anna Ruby Falls
  • Vogel State Park – Lake Trahlyta
Silhouette of man in boat, fishing at dawn.

Fishing at dawn

As the sun slowly rises over the Georgia mountains during autumn, a misty fog eerily engulfs the blue-tinted hills bringing a slight chill to the air that causes enough of a shiver to don a jacket. The cool breeze rustles the trees evoking a slight shaking of the changing leaves that makes a distinct, melodic sound. Soon sunlight filters in through the thick canopy of branches highlighting the gorgeous colors of fall. There is suddenly a relaxing feeling that is perfect for dispersing stress and allowing peace and tranquility to enter one’s being. This is what continually brings myself and so many others back to the North Georgia Mountains every fall to experience this picturesque majesty one more time!

Photos: by Bill Vanderford