Hiking near Hiawassee, Georgia: our favorite trails

Hiawassee is a small lake town nestled in the North Georgia Mountains near the Appalachian Trail, located a short distance from some of the best hikes in the southeast. Follow our favorite trails near Hiawassee to stunning summit views, tumbling waterfalls, leafy forests filled with ferns and wildflowers, and some absolutely amazing outdoor adventures.

Hiawassee has always been one of our favorite basecamps for our favorite trail adventures. Those moments on a hike are always some of our favorite memories of all: the early morning scramble to the trailhead after grabbing a coffee and a quick bite in town. Following the trail, feeling every footstep deepening the connection to the forest and feeling everyday life just kind of fade away. Catching a water break from a breezy, view-packed summit or just downwind from a waterfall's mist. There's just something about hiking the southern Appalachian Mountains that has always touched our souls. And this Georgia mountain town offers nearby access to some of our state's best hikes.

Hiawassee, Georgia top hiking trails near Lake Chatuge

Above: Hiawassee, Georgia, is nestled on the shore of Lake Chatuge and surrounded by Georgia's tallest mountains

We truly fell in love with this stretch of the Georgia Mountains. We moved to Hiawassee from Atlanta several years ago to open Trailful, our hiking outfitter shop located on Main Street one block from the town square. This mountain town is home to Lake Chatuge, a beautiful mountain lake nestled below Georgia's tallest mountain summit, Brasstown Bald. Thanks to the town's close distance from the Appalachian Trail at Dicks Creek Gap and Unicoi Gap, the town is an official Appalachian Trail Community. And it's a stop for many AT thru-hikers on their epic 2,000+ mile journey from Georgia to Maine. While the Appalachian Trail and Lake Chatuge are two of Hiawassee's biggest draws, the town makes an excellent destination for chasing waterfalls and scaling summits, thanks to its proximity to an abundance of North Georgia's best hiking trails. We've also found it to be a pretty amazing place to call home: there's nothing better than hitting the AT for a sunset hike after closing our shop, and there's nothing better than helping everyone from novice hikers to AT thru-hikers to outfit their next big adventure.