From idyllic mountain views to cascading waterfalls, Blue Ridge, Georgia, has no shortage of natural beauty. With an ever-growing list of things to do, this town has quickly become a hot spot for tourists seeking a getaway less than two hours away from Atlanta.
While the town is nestled in a traditionally conservative area of the state, Blue Ridge has a high concentration of same-sex couples and has been ranked by Thrillist as the state’s most gay-friendly city, with Atlanta, Columbus, and Savannah receiving honorable mentions.
The Blue Ridge area is known for its hiking; several notable trails are near the town. The Appalachian Trail’s southernmost terminus is on Springer Mountain. One well-loved portion of the Appalachian Trail is easily accessible from Blue Ridge. The Three Forks to Springer Mountain hike is an 8.6-mile round-trip stretch. Atlanta Trails describes it as “a moderately strenuous … out-and-back [that] travels a widely diverse landscape, climbing from a richly vegetated, mossy creek valley to stunning mountaintop views at Springer. It’s one of [Atlanta Trails’s] favorite AT hikes in Georgia for its varied terrain, gorgeous summit views, and, of course, the epic feeling that comes with standing at the southernmost white blaze of the Appalachian Trail.”
For those seeking a less strenuous day hike nearby, the Mineral Springs Walking Trail that sits near downtown Blue Ridge offers a lovely 0.58-mile opportunity to stretch your legs and absorb some of the town’s natural beauty as it takes you through lush woods and over a babbling creek. There are also picnic tables on site for you and your loved ones to connect over an outdoor meal. Just remember to leave nothing but footprints behind.
For those who want something a little less strenuous than hiking, Blue Ridge also has several scenic drives winding through the Appalachian Mountains. Blue Ridge’s official website lists Aska Road as “one of Blue Ridge’s most scenic drives, following the Toccoa River past the Stanley Rapids and historic Shallowford Bridge.” They also recommend a drive through Suches, the highest community in the state, nicknamed “the Valley Above the Clouds.” The website suggests “driving on Hwy 60 south from Morganton to Suches [to] combine some of the prettiest views of the countryside with curvy mountain roads and lots of roadside attractions, including the historic Skeenah Mill, Swinging Bridge on the Toccoa River, Chattahoochee National Fish Hatchery, Deep Hole Recreation Area and Coopers Creek Recreation Area.”
Even though there’s a plethora of places to soak in the scenery, don’t be fooled. Blue Ridge isn’t just a pretty place to unplug. The town has multiple breweries and wineries to tour. One town favorite is Mercier Orchards. Mercier Orchards stands out as the only apple orchard in the state that takes apples from farm to bottle. North Georgia has the perfect climate to grow the crispiest, most delectable apples, and it comes through in Mercier Orchards’ hard ciders. They also offer a selection of farm wines made from peaches, apples, and blackberries. Their tasting room is open Monday through Saturday from 11am–6pm and Sunday from 12:30–6pm.
If beer is your preferred poison, head over to Grumpy Old Men Brewing. After experimenting with brewing beer in an outdoor shower, two retired grumpy old men founded the craft brewery together. Their corporate mission describes their dedication to creating a high-quality product: “If we don’t like it, we don’t drink it. If we don’t drink it, we don’t sell it.” The bar at the brewery offers a wide variety of brews, from a blonde ale to a porter to their world-famous Moon Over Blue Ridge wheat beer.
Blue Ridge is dotted with beautiful log cabins and cozy places to rest between hikes and happy hours. The surprisingly affordable Endless Echo cabin located in the Aska Adventure Area is one such place. Sleeping eight, the cabin boasts breathtaking mountain views, a Sonos sound system, a six-person hot tub, fire pit, bench swings, and a stocked game room. Owned by an architect and a designer, the cabin is filled with a rotating cast of original artwork and classic modern furniture, making each room its own experience and each stay unique.
If a weekend getaway or a weeklong vacation filled with delicious drinks, scenic drives, and legendary hikes is in your sights, keep Blue Ridge, Georgia in mind. You won’t be disappointed.
For more information on trails, breweries, scenic drives, and more, visit BlueRidgeMountains.com.