I've spent my fair share of time in the Georgia and North Carolina mountains. I was not a hiking person until I took a trip to Colorado and then the mountains won me over. If you are ever near a Georgia or North Carolina mountain range, here are some of my favorite hikes that are definitely worth the walk and the drive, and only one of them is illegal!
1. Lula Lake Land Trust
This is my favorite hike in the world, but it's only open the first and last weekend of the month, and less during winter because it's volunteer run. It's a great hike and beautiful waterfall at any time of year though. I would go once a week if it was open. In my day, I've seen things from rainbows to proposals to pooping dogs on the lula lake trail.
2. Rainbow Falls
So this one is only slightly illegal, given that the trail has been closed off, but it's on signal mountain and although getting down there is a bit of a struggle due to erosion, the view at the bottom is lovely. Pictured is the waterfall and the strenuous path you have to take to get down and up.
3. Craggy Gardens
Off the blue ridge parkway near Black Mountain, NC, this was a pretty short, yet rewarding hike because the views of the blue ridge mountains are stunning. You can also freak out your parents and loved ones by dangling off these rocks.
4. Glen Falls
This is a great hike if you're looking for an easy one or you have kids who need to get outside. Just off of Ochs highway, it's fast and simple, and in my experience it isn't too crowded.
5. Hooker Falls
In Brevard, NC, this was a pretty easy hike leading to a swimming hole that would be awesome for adults and kids alike on a hot day. On a cold day...not so much.
6. Craven's House to Sunset Rock
If you park at Craven's House you can hike all the way to sunset rock or Point Park, or Covenant College if you're in for a really long hike. Pictured is Sunset Rock which is a nice place for a pizza picnic with your friends (or your lover I suppose).
7. Cullowhee Falls
This is located near Western Carolina University and Cherokee, NC. The hike is not difficult unless you want to take some alternate routes and scoot closer to the waterfall (which you should always do, risk it for the biscuit). If you have the opportunity, go after the area has gotten a lot of rain and you might get a view like this.
8. Eno Rock Quarry
In Durham, NC near Eno River State Park, you can go at this hike a few different ways, but it leads to a spacious swimming area where you can hang your hammock. Floaties recommended.
9. Rough Ridge
Off of the blue ridge parkway near Blowing Rock, this hike was a little difficult at times because it's very rocky. The views and rock dangling opportunities were phenomenal though. I would rate it higher than the actual Blowing Rock.
I hope you try some of these hikes if you're in their vicinity! Outside is the best place to be.