Who doesn't enjoy a good Georgia sunset? The sight is even more rewarding when you hike to a destination with a spectacular view. Some of these six Georgia hikes are relatively easy, which make them great for a family outings or romantic walks. Others require a bit more effort to reach the peak. But in every case, you'll be rewarded with a great view to end the day.
1. Arabia Mountain
Distance: 0.05 miles
Arabia Mountain is a granite monadnock, the same rock as both Stone Mountain and Panola Mountain, and sits on the Davidson Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve. While there are more than 2,500 acres to explore, the climb to the summit of Arabia Mountain is moderate and only 400 feet in elevation, making it approachable and easily doable for families with children. You can spread out blankets and watch the sun fall below the treeline. The park closes at dusk, so be sure to leave after watching the sunset.
2. Black Rock Mountain
Black Rock Mountain State Park is Georgia’s highest state park, encompassing some of the most outstanding scenery in Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Roadside overlooks provide spectacular 80-mile vistas. The summit visitor center showcases panoramic view of the mountains, and with Black Rock Mountain’s elevation coupled with its eastern position in the United States, the sunset is truly spectacular. Note that there is a $5 parking fee at Georgia State Parks.
3. Fort Mountain State Park
Distance: 4 miles
Many pass by Fort Mountain unnoticed, because it is located before Georgia’s large mountain chain. But the sunsets at Fort Mountain State Park reveal a beautiful view of the Cohutta Mountains and western valley. You’ll hike a total of four miles on the 301 Mountain Biking trail, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for mountain bikers. The overlook is a natural beauty, formed by high winds from a storm system.
4. Yonah Mountain
Distance: 4.5 miles round-trip
Yonah Mountain’s peak looks like the top of a wave, making it recognizable amongst the mountainscape. When standing atop the 3,166-foot peak, the view captures the sunset over the Chattahoochee National Forest. On clear evenings, you can look south and see the Atlanta skyline and Stone Mountain. The hike to the top involves some rock scrambling up “the boulder,” a Class 2 rock face about 50 feet tall, and a gain of 1,500 feet in elevation. But cables are available to use for support near the top.
5. Sawnee Mountain
Distance: 2 miles round-trip
Sawnee Mountain’s prime sunset spot is called Indian Seats, named for the rocky outcroppings that provide a “seat” to view one of mother nature’s most beautiful shows. From the summit, you’ll see an expansive view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The mountain’s history is rooted in Creek and Cherokee Indian tradition, and along the hike you can see a forgotten gold mine shaft. The quickest way to reach the summit is to park at Spot Road and hike counterclockwise on the Indian Seats trail to the summit. The hike includes some rolling elevation, but it's approachable for all skill levels of hikers.
6. Stone Mountain
Distance: 2 miles round-trip
Atlanta’s favorite man-made mountain is also one of the best places to see the sunset over the Atlanta skyline. Time your hike accordingly so that you arrive at the summit of the Stone Mountain with enough time to grab a west-facing slab of rock face. Stone Mountain’s one-mile summit trail is easy for all skill levels, but the last quarter-mile does get steep, so much that they’ve installed a railing for those who need an extra pull. The park closes at dusk, so be sure to leave after watching the sunset.
7. Bonus: North Carolina's Brunswick Islands
OK, this one is for a road trip: At the tail end of the Brunswick Island chain, Sunset Beach has the distinction of being the Southernmost surf in North Carolina. But while it may be last in geography, many find it at the top-of-the-list for a quiet, old-fashioned, retro, beach vacation. During the winter months at North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, there may be no greater phenomenon than the appearance of a sunrise and sunset over the same horizon, a rare distinction of running east-west as they parallel the shore. You can sit on Oak Island, Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle, or Holden Beach and watch both the sunrise and sunset without having to move your beach chair.