Blairsville sits in the North Georgia Mountains. Some of the best tours in the state—for that matter, in the Southeast U.S.—are minutes from the resort. Others are little more than an hour away.
You may know other sites or can read about some of the best-known locations in an earlier post on this site. But if you’re really into colorful fall leaves, you can package a number of scenic tours from your Crossing Creeks base. Why not? There’s nothing better than touring, windows down, in crisp, dry autumn air—unless you’re towing a convertible or take your bicycles along. In that case, bundle up against the October air and break them out for an open-air foliage tour.
The colder it gets, farther north and at higher elevations, the earlier leaves turn. As you travel south in the state, peak fall foliage extends into the first week of November. It ends in Crossing Creeks a couple of weeks earlier than in the southern part of the state.
To get a good idea of when leaves will turn, consult the fall foliage prediction map.
Wherever you go, keep in mind that the pandemic may cause managers to limit visitors. Arrive early and give yourself plenty of time to see what you came for.
Here are some good places to go, within two hours of Crossing Creeks, arranged by approximate peak dates. No matter which of these destinations you choose, you’ll see plenty of color along the way.
Gibbs Gardens, Ball Ground, GA
You’re thinking this privately owned residential garden should be a spring destination, and no wonder. Spring colors at Gibbs Gardens leave a lasting impression, but so does the autumn palette. This site has the broadest fall visit window on our list.
You’ll see water lily blooms from mid-September through mid-October, and wildflowers and Japanese maples—there are hundreds of them—into November.
TICKETS: Visitors must buy tickets online in advance. No tickets are sold onsite. Adults, $20; age 65 and older, $18; children ages 3-17, $10.
Vogel State Park, GA
Vogel State Park, like Crossing Creeks, has a Blairsville address. It’s not even 20 minutes from our campsites. One of Georgia’s two original state parks, Vogel is surrounded by the Chattahoochee National Forest. If you love fall foliage, Vogel will double your fun, with stunning reflections off the calm waters of the 20-acre manmade Lake Trahlyta. Just point and shoot—you’ll capture great color.
If you’re a novice hiker, adhere to the Lake Loop and enjoy a small waterfall below the dam on Wolf Creek. If you hike often, follow the 4-mile Bear Hair Gap Trail, which gives you an elevated view of the lake and the surrounding foliage, and a look at a bigger waterfall.
Fort Mountain State Park, GA
An ideal place to see foliage from your mountain bike, Fort Mountain State Park has 27 miles of biking trails. The park is just over an hour west of Crossing Creeks, so it’s an easy day trip. If you do want to stay, there are rental cottages and tent, trailer and RV sites you can reserve.
There’s also a 17-acre lake, so photo ops abound, along with rowing activities.
Amicalola Falls State Park, GA
Want to see the one of the tallest cascading waterfalls in the eastern U.S.? Amicalola Falls State Park has the third-highest, and you’ll see it framed by autumnal splendor. The park’s 8-mile Approach Trail leads to Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. There are shorter, less challenging trails for foliage followers.
Amicalola Falls is near Dawsonville, just over an hour south of Crossing Creeks. It has pull-though and back-in RV sites, and tent camping sites and cabins for rent. There’s also a lodge, with hotel accommodations. Truth be told, being an hour away, the park is a great day trip if you return to your space or cabin at Crossing Creeks for the night or until the next leg of your foliage tour. Be warned: The access road to the Amicalola RV sites has a 24 percent grade. Bigger and underpowered RVs may have trouble making the grade—literally.
State Botanical Gardens, Athens, GA
Good news: The football scheduling gods are on your side this year. The Bulldogs do not host a football game during the peak foliage dates above, making it easy to visit the State Botanical Gardens on the University of Georgia campus. Head there during that window and avoid traffic and crowded restaurants. The gardens are about a two-hour drive from Crossing Creeks.
Foliage in the garden is likely to peak before Nov. 2. Touring the garden is a relaxed walk on paved walkways. It’s a more intimate way to view fall colors.
Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Would you go to a city to view foliage? You bet, if it’s Atlanta. Make this your swan song for the season, since Atlanta, nearly two hours’ drive from Crossing Creeks, is as far south as we’re going. If you’re visiting Athens, too, the trip from the botanical gardens is about an hour and 20 minutes.
Your Atlanta destination is Piedmont Park. Trees dressed in red, orange and yellow, backed by the midtown Atlanta skyline, is as spectacular a view as any on our list. If you get there by the first weekend in November, you should see it all reflected on the water of Lake Clara Meer in the park.
Plenty of easily walked paved paths meander through the park. It’s a leisurely way to view foliage, belying its urban location. And when you’re done, there are plenty of things to do in the city. Choose a hotel to stay for a night or two or find an RV park outside the city.