Georgia is fortunate to have rather mild winter weather even in the northern areas. While we have occasional snow, more often there are several warm days when we can get out and take a hike (or a walk) on well-managed paths. One day this past week we had a high of 68 degrees!
I like to encourage people to get out because I feel that time spent in nature brings us a little closer to appreciating nature (and native plants) each time that we do. I heard recently that some flowers are already blooming at The Pocket’s Shirley Miller Wildflower Trail in Walker County (you can’t get more northern than that). I’ve written several times about the flowers there; here’s a link to my blog about a February visit in 2017. I did a follow up post in March 2017.
I’m going to list some other ideas, most of which I’ve covered before. Another good North Georgia hike is Amicalola Falls State Park (this post is from a workday there). It has good trails and its steps make for good exercise; less energetic folks might opt for the West Falls Trail which is perfect for older folks and families with strollers. It can get crowded on weekends, so go early.
|Sharp-lobed hepatica is always one of the first to bloom at the Pocket|
In metro Atlanta, try Big Trees Forest Preserve in Sandy Springs, Chattahoochee NRA in Cobb County, or Cascade Springs Nature Preserve in Atlanta. A little south of Atlanta, I recommend Chattahoochee Bend State Park in Coweta County and Newman Wetlands Center in Clayton County.
Further south is a park that I hear wonderful things about: George L. Smith State Park in Emanuel County. It’s on my list of places to go. I have visited High Falls State Park in Monroe County and enjoyed it very much. The falls are really beautiful. FDR State Park is another excellent one in middle Georgia (here is another blog about the Pine Mountain Trail in FDR State Park from a June visit).
|Providence Canyon State Park offers incredible views|
South and on the west side of the state is a great winter destination: Providence Canyon State Park in Stewart County. Adults and kids alike will enjoy learning about the little grand canyon of Georgia as well as hiking the good trails and discovering native plants. In Grady County in February, Wolf Creek Trout Lily Preserve is a breathtaking sight. Visit them on Facebook for weekly updates on the bloom cycle.
|Look for tiny carnivorous sundews plant in wet edges at Okefenokee|
In the southeastern part of the state, visit Stephen C. Foster State Park in Charlton County. It is the primary entrance to the Okefenokee Swamp. The kids will love learning about the many types of carnivorous plants found there. Winter can also be a fun time to visit Georgia’s Golden Isles without so many other tourists; I have enjoyed several trips to Jekyll Island.
With Georgia’s plentiful winter rains, waterfalls make for good trips as well. Here is a blog post I did that listed several places in North Georgia.
All state parks require a daily fee ($5) or use of the annual pass ($50). Your fee helps pay for good parking, bathrooms, and maintained trails (you can download maps from their website). They also often have nice visitor centers during certain hours.
And don't forget your local parks. Here is my grandson on the kid-friendly trails at Autrey Mill Nature Preserve.