At The Dyrt, we share camping tips from our community of campers and campgrounds. With so many campers staying home, we continue to share this info so you can plan future camping trips across the U.S.

Thanks to Leaf Watch, an informative guide from Georgia State Parks, Georgians can track the moment our leafy green forests transform into the cozy colors of fall.

If you’re anywhere in the South, or on Pinterest, you can’t escape the “It’s Fall Y’all” slogan. Fall is precious to us Southerners. Mostly because the summer heat tends to swallow up and reduce the crisp, leaf-crunching weather to just a few short weeks. “It’s Fall Y’all” becomes our pleading chant, imploring the temperatures to drop, because we want to wear sweaters without sweating.

In this spirit, Georgia State Parks created Leaf Watch, which allows Georgians to track the transitioning leaves so they don’t miss the prime fall season in the state parks. State park visitors document the leaf watch on social media with #galeafwatch. This way, Georgians know when their local state park’s forests and mountains have achieved peak fall colors, steeped in deep red, gold, and orange.

Leaf Watch Is Your Guide to Peak Fall Vibrance in Georgia State Parks

Checking Leaf Watch will help shutterbugs find the perfect time to take the camera out to their local state park for perfect, golden fall photos.





Whether you’re planning a special fall family photo, or shooting for Instagram fall vibes, Leaf Watch can tell you exactly when and where the leaves are turning. Remember to use #galeafwatch on your social media to share photos with other leaf watchers.

Georgia’s Life Cycle of A Leaf

fall leaves

From green to warm hues to ground cover, Georgia’s colorful leaves decorate the landscape in the fall.

For most of Georgia, crimson fall colors inch across the leaves starting in mid-October. So get moving. By the end of November, most of those glorious leaves will have fallen and become forest floor.

But leaf watchers will notice that higher mountain elevations in state parks will experience peak fall foliage earlier, around mid- to late-October. While the lower elevations have the best fall conditions around early November.

It appears that longer summer seasons are pushing the start of fall weather to later dates. The first trees that’ll give a glimpse of fall’s burnt orange are sourwoods, dogwoods, and poplars.

Best Autumn Camping in Georgia

two bikers on a path through autumn leaves

Leaf Tracker helps you know when fall abounds in Georgia State Parks. Image from The Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Leaf Watch can also help plan your next camping trip for ultimate autumnal ambiance. The Dyrt found these parks, both popular and lesser known, that have stunning waterfalls, overlooks, and trails amidst fall foliage.

1. Cloudland Canyon State Park

cloudland canyon waterfall with fall leaves

A fall season waterfall at Cloudland Canyon. Image from The Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Cloudland Canyon is inspiring any time of year, but it’s special to experience the thousand-foot-deep canyons decorated in warm colors just before the leaves drop.

The park is massive at 3,538 acres, so there’s plenty of overlooks, forestry, waterfalls, and sandstone cliffs to ogle at. Available accommodations include 16 cottages, 10 yurts, 13 backcountry sites, and 72 tent, trailer, and RV sites. When making your reservation, you can select a campsite equipped with electricity.

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2. F. D. Roosevelt State Park

FDR state park waterfall with fall leaves

A trailside waterfall at FDR State Park. Image from The Dyrt campers George & Patty C.

Find fall heaven in F. D. Roosevelt State Park when the transformed deciduous forests gently release gold and maroon leaves. F.D. Roosevelt is Georgia’s biggest park at 9,049 acres, so there are plenty of trails, creeks, and waterfalls to explore.

This state park is perfect for family lakeside camping, with options that range from comfortable cottages to backcountry sites. History also underlies these campgrounds. FDR once came to this area to swim in Georgia’s warm springs to find relief from polio. His house and a museum are on display. Campers can visit his home, the springs, and a museum.

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3. Vogel State Park

panoramic autumn view of vogel state park

Lake Trahlyta reflects the vibrant Fall colors in Vogel State Park. Image from The Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

At Vogel State Park, you can watch the world change seasons by the base of Blood Mountain and at the banks of the Chattahoochee River. Vogel is already known for its mountain ridgeline fall beauty, it’s a peak time for visitors.

“Vogel is particularly popular during the fall when the Blue Ridge Mountains transform into a rolling blanket of red, yellow and gold leaves,” according to the Vogel State Park official website.

Campers can choose from 35 cottages, 85 tent, trailer, and RV campsites, or 18 walk-in campsites.

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4. Fort Yargo State Park

 

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Atlanta may be the city of trees, but if you want to see them in all their fall glory you’ll have to travel outside the metro area. Fort Yargo is that perfect nearby campground to surround yourself in nature’s autumn palette.

Located in Winder, Fort Yargo is home to a centuries-old log cabin built by settlers. The park has also embraced the “glamping” experience, and invites visitors to reserve one of their fully-furnished cabins, adventure cabins, or homey, lakeside yurts.

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5. Tallulah Gorge State Park 

Tallulah Gorge fall foliage

Tallulah Gorge cascades bookended by fall foliage. Image from The Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Tallulah Gorge is a thousand-feet deep and two-miles long carving in the earth, and it looks stunning when it’s decked in fall. With a gorge floor permit, you can witness the colorful transition from the depths. Or, for a more aerial view, take a walk across the suspension bridge.

The park offers 50 tent, RV, and trailer campsites, as well as 3 backcountry Adirondack shelters. No matter where you stay, make sure to take a hike to the five waterfalls that cascade around Tallulah Gorge.

“If you have little ones, they have an education center that gives information about the park and wildlife. We went camping here in the fall and it was absolutely magical.”  –  The Dyrt camper Alyssa M.

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6. Smithgall Woods State Park

fall foliage in smithgall state park

Rolling golden and amber hills in Smithgall State Park. Image from The Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Smithgall Woods is a favored fly fishing spot, but it also undergoes spectacular seasonal changes in the fall. Dukes Creek, known for its trout, winds through a mosaic of amber colored leaves fallen from the surrounding hardwoods.

Compared to most other Georgia State Parks, the camping options are limited at Smithgall Woods. The only campground is reserved for youth and conservation groups. But anyone can rent the six cottages on site.

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7. Stone Mountain Park

 

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Stone Mountain is a hybrid destination of natural state park and cultural theme park. At the center of the attraction is the natural igneous intrusion, an anomalous dome granite and quartz natural structure that has become known as Stone Mountain.

In the fall, the side of this smooth, round, bald-faced mountain becomes adorned with vibrant plant coloring. Families can also enjoy seasonal celebrations in the park like the pumpkin festival.

The camping options vary here. There are lakeside yurts with built-in decks, safari tents, standing RV rentals, and the standard pop-up tent and RV sites.

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  • Madelyn Ottem

    Madelyn Ottem

    Madelyn spent seven years as a photojournalist in the Air Force. She has lived all over the world as a military kid and enlisted Airman, but no destination settles her soul more than the steely-blue Smokies.