Feb 11 • 35M

Spring Equinox Mountain Adventure

Celebrate the arrival of spring with breathtaking views and world-class wineries in Dahlonega

Open in playerListen on);

Appears in this episode

Connecting residents and visitors with Atlanta's past, present and future. Wide variety of interesting topics, ranging from the city's origins to the impact of disruptive technologies.
Episode details
Read ExploringATL in the Substack app
Available for iOS and Android

This event has been cancelled but it can be done as a private tour

Spring Equinox Mountain Adventure

Three of the best experiences to be had in North Georgia are hiking the awesome trails, exploring the historic mountain towns and visiting the beautiful wineries. This event combines all three, with some local lore sprinkled in. You can expect to have FUN, enjoy the great OUTDOORS, and make some new FRIENDS. The flexible registration options allow you to participate in some or all of the activities described below. Come for the day or spend the weekend, whatever works for you.

If you plan to stay overnight, make your lodging arrangements NOW (see suggestions below). Also, if you are interested in sharing accommodations, please post a comment below.

Weekend Plan

Saturday, March 18

  • 1000, Outdoor Adventure @ Amicalola Falls State Park

  • 1300, Winery #1 Tour & Lunch

  • 1600, Winery #2 Tour & Tasting

  • 1800, Walking tour of Historic Dahlonega*

  • 1900, Casual dinner on the Square in Dahlonega*

Sunday, March 19

  • 0900, Outdoor Adventure on the Appalachian Trail

  • 1200, Lunch @ a local roadhouse

  • 1400, Winery #3 Tour & Tasting

  • 1630, Winery #4 Tour & Tasting*

  • 1900, Casual dinner on the Square in Dahlonega*

* These activities are contingent on the number of guests staying over Saturday and Sunday nights (minimum = 6)

Mountain Town: Dahlonega

Dahlonega, the seat of Lumpkin County, lies about sixty-five miles north of Atlanta in the Blue Ridge province. The town is closely associated with Georgia’s gold history; its name derives from a Cherokee word referring to the yellow color of gold.

The historic mountain town of Dahlonega provides a scenic respite from the hustle and bustle of the big city that lies just one hour south. Photos by ATLsherpa.com

The Dahlonega area was part of the Cherokee Nation when European settlers first arrived. After the 1828-29 discovery of gold, thousands of miners—known as “Twenty-Niners” — poured into the area, and the Georgia gold rush began. Beginning in 1832, Cherokee territory in Lumpkin County, as well as in several other counties in north Georgia, was sold by the state to Georgia residents through a land lottery. A separate lottery was held in 1832 to distribute forty-acre “gold districts” for $10 each in the same Cherokee area. The discovery of gold was one of the major reasons behind Cherokee Removal, in which the state of Georgia expelled Cherokees from their ancestral lands in 1838.

Source: New Georgia Encyclopedia

This event can also be done as a private tour

Outdoor Adventures

The activities and locations will vary, but the outcome will be the same — get outside, enjoy nature, get some exercise, share a fun experience with kindred spirits.

On Saturday, we will be exploring Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge. The name was derived from a Cherokee word meaning "tumbling waters," which is fitting since the park features a breathtaking 729-foot waterfall; the highest in Georgia. The park also has miles of wonderful hiking trails, ranging from easy-peasy nature walks to some pretty serious hikes, including the Appalachian Approach Trail. The park also had a 57-room lodge at the top of the mountain (above the falls) that offers stunning views of the valley below.

View from the top of the falls at Amicalola Falls State Park. Photo by ATLsherpa

On Sunday, we will be exploring Vogel State Park. Established in 1931, VSP is the second-oldest state park in Georgia. Located at 2500 feet above sea level, Vogel sits at the base of Blood Mountain, the highest summit on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, and is surrounded by Chattahoochee National Forest. The North Georgia Mountains around Vogel were linked to Native American people for generations before European settlement.

In terms of outdoor activities, there will be something for everyone; all fitness levels.

Blood Mountain as seen from Lake Trahlyta in Vogel State Park. Source: Wikipedia
The two videos below will give you a good idea of the type of hiking we will be doing. This is the Byron Reece Memorial Trail near Neel’s Gap, one of my favorite trails. The first video shows the easy part. The second one shows the more challenging part.

Winery Visits

Affectionately called “Napa of the South,” the Dahlonega Plateau AVA offers wine lovers a dose of Southern comfort. Tucked away about an hour north of Atlanta, the Dahlonega Plateau is one of two American viticultural areas in the state of Georgia—the other being the Upper Hiwassee Highlands AVA shared with North Carolina.

Wine Enthusiast

Small sample of Dahlonega wineries. Photos by ATLsherpa

After the outdoor adventure on Saturday, we will be visiting two beautiful wineries, both of which are in the Dahlonega Plateau AVA. We will be having lunch at the first one. After our outdoor adventure on Sunday, we will be visiting two additional wineries.

The names and locations of the wineries, along with other logistical details, will be provided to guests after they register.

Flexible Registration Options

  1. During registration, you can pick and choose which activities you would like to participate in (outdoor adventures, wineries, lunches, dinners, etc.)

  2. You can come up for the day or stay for the weekend (1 — 2 nights)

    1. See lodging suggestions below

This event has been cancelled, but it can be done as a private tour

Ticket Prices*

  • One-Day Pass, $20 (Sat or Sun)

  • Weekend Pass, $30 (both days)

  • Lodging, food and beverages are separate

(*) Sherpa Club members get one free ticket. Paid annual subscribers to ExploringATL podcast get 50%. Please email steve@exploreatl.com to get your passcode

Photos from Fall Hike & Winery Brunch on October 2022

Lodging Suggestions

If you plan to stay overnight, make your lodging arrangements NOW. Pay close attention to the locations of these facilities. Those listed under the “Surrounding Area” are 15-20 minutes from Dahlonega Historic District. This is something to consider since you will be driving on pitch black and very curvy mountain roads in the evening. If you stay in the historic district, you will be able to walk home.

Dahlonega Historic District

(*) Listed by Google Reviews ratings

Surrounding Area

(*) The Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge might be a good option if you want to come up Friday afternoon. That way, you could enjoy the afternoon and evening (on your own) in this stunning state park and be right there for our outdoor adventure on Saturday morning. The downside is that the park is 25-30 minutes from the historic district. So, that evening drive would be challenging. Another option is to stay in the park on Friday night and then move to one of the facilities in the historic district for Saturday and/or Sunday night.

Your Adventure Guide

Steve is your adventure guide. This Miami native moved to Atlanta in 1985. After a 30-year career in the financial services industry, Steve launched ExploreATL Tours. Since 2014, he has designed and led hundreds of tours throughout Atlanta. He is an avid hiker and a content developer at ATLsherpa.com

Outdoor adventures for those who REALLY want to experience the fall colors...
Exploring Atlanta by ATLsherpa is a podcast & newsletter for people who are interested in Atlanta and want to experience the city more fully. My mission is to help you connect with Atlanta’s past, pr…
Read more


ExploringATL is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.