October 2012 News & Events from Georgia's State Parks

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October 2012

Cloudland Canyon State Park

Leaf Watch 2012

Every October, Georgia’s forests become a brilliant blanket of red, orange and gold, inspiring leaf peepers to pull out their cameras and lace up their hiking boots. To help track the changing leaves and plan autumn getaways, check our Leaf Watch website for regular updates from park rangers.  You’ll find last-minute accommodations, an event calendar, desktop photos and advice from the Georgia Forestry Commission as well. 

Typically, Georgia’s mountain parks peak in late October; however, color can be seen as early as September and throughout much of November. With beautiful color and pleasing temperatures, it’s the perfect time to hit the trails and explore.  Hikes range from easy paved trails suitable for families with small children, to strenuous all day hikes. Some of the most popular parks for hiking and leaf watching include Amicalola Falls, Black Rock Mountain, Cloudland Canyon, Fort Mountain, Moccasin Creek, Smithgall Woods, Tallulah Gorge, Unicoi and Vogel. Park officials advise visitors to make overnight reservations as soon as possible.  It is not uncommon for mountain cottages and yurts to be reserved nearly a year in advance, and many campgrounds fill up on pretty weekends. For less crowds and greater reservation flexibility, plan a weekday staycation. To make a reservation, call 1-800-864-7275 or log onto GeorgiaStateParks.org.

The North Face Endurance Challenge

Runners, Get Ready

The North Face® Endurance Challenge is coming to F.D. Roosevelt State Park on October 13-14.  The two-day event is loaded with races such as 50-Mile, 50K, marathon, marathon relay, half marathon, 10K and 5K.  The North Face Global Athlete Team Member Dean Karnazes will even lead races for children and sign autographs.  Spectators are welcome to cheer for runners and browse booths.  To register, visit The North Face’s website or call 214-451-1903.

Thomas the Tank Engine

Day Out With Thomas the Tank Engine™ 

October 20, 21, 27, 28, 2012

Families with kids who adore Thomas the Tank Engine™ can make reservations to spend “A Day Out with Thomas” at Georgia Veterans State Park in Cordele October 20, 21, 27 and 28.  Children of all ages will have the chance to ride a 15-ton replica of Thomas the Tank Engine, meet character Sir Topham Hatt, join in storytelling, crafts, live music, face painting and more.   The Mystery ON The Rails Tour is presented by HIT Entertainment.  For tickets call 1-866-468-7630 or visit SamShortline.com

The Creek at Hard Labor

Great Deals for Golfers

Did you know that eight of Georgia’s State Parks offer challenging golf courses with affordable fees and overnight packages?  In fact, Golf Digest ranked our courses among the “Sweetest Deals in Golf.”  A $20 Club Card will help you save even more money throughout the year.  Offers vary from course to course.  For tee times and information, visit GeorgiaGolf.com or call 1-800-434-0982.

Discover Georgia’s State Parks Golf Courses

Join our New Park-to-Park Bicycling Adventure

November 9 – 11, 2012

Bicyclists, mark your calendars for Veterans Day weekend when you can join other enthusiasts on the new “Presidents & Patriots Park-to-Park Bike Adventure.”  The two-night, three-day ride takes you 106 miles from Florence Marina State Park in Omaha to Georgia Veterans State Park in Cordele.  Stop along the way include a SAM Shortline Excursion Train ride, and tours of Jimmy Carter National Historic Site and Andersonville National Historic Site and Cemetery.  Set for November 9 – 11, the event is part of President Barack Obama’s “America’s Great Outdoors” initiative and the Georgia State Parks’ “Get Outdoors Georgia” campaign, with partnership from the National Park Service and River Valley Regional Commission.  The $55 registration fee includes camping, some meals, tours and a t-shirt.  ($35 without camping.)  To register, visit georgiastateparks.org.

October 2012 Events  - Divided By Region

Below are just some of the many programs happening in October.  Check GeorgiaStateParks.org/events for a full calendar.


Hiking in Helen
Saturday, October 6, 13, 20 and 27, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Unicoi State Park and Lodge – Helen
This event is in honor of Get Outdoors (GO) Georgia. Join this fun, guided hike that travels three miles from the park's lodge to Helen. Shuttle service is provided if hikers want to hike only one-way. Pre-registration required. $5 parking. 800-573-9659 ext. 305.

Bear Creek Guided Hike
Monday, October 8, 10 a.m.
Friday, October 19, 10 a.m.
Cloudland Canyon State Park – Rising Fawn
This is a strenuous hike, but we will go slow and enjoy the beautiful scenery on this 9-mile trail. Bring water, lunch, sunscreen, and a hiking stick if you have one. Meet at the G3 Building near the tennis courts. Reservations required. $25 plus $5 parking. (706) 913-7170.

Autumn Hayride and Fort Tour
Friday, October 12, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Fort Yargo State Park – Winder
Relax and enjoy a hayride and be amazed by the array of colors painted across our landscape, then tour our fort. $5 plus $5 parking. (770) 867-3489.

Fall Celebration
Saturday, October 13, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Smithgall Woods State Park – Helen
Enjoy the natural beauty of the season with hands-on pioneer skills exhibits, hayrides, traditional craft vendors, mountain music, and apple cider from a hand-cranked press. No registration required. $6 parking. (706) 878-3087.

Taylor Ridge Jamboree
Saturday, October 13, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
James H. (Sloppy) Floyd State Park – Summerville
Nothing welcomes the fall leaf watching season more than Bluegrass and Barbeque in the north Georgia mountains. Enjoy live bands Grass Backards, Delta Soul & The Mars Hill Porch Pickers along with good food at the foot of Taylor Ridge. $5 parking. (706) 857-0826.

Haunted Hills Hayride
Friday, October 19 through Saturday, October 20, 8 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday, October 26 through Saturday, October 27, 8 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Victoria Bryant State Park – Royston
It's time for our annual Haunted Hayride! We will be starting at 8 PM, so be here early. The last ticket will be sold at 10 PM. We will be showing a movie and have refreshments for sale between rides. $5 plus $5 parking. (706) 245-6270.

Dahlonega Gold Rush Days
Saturday, October 20 through Sunday, October 21, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site – Dahlonega
Thousands come to see fall colors peaking and celebrate Dahlonega's 1828 discovery of gold. Included in the weekend event are 300 arts and craft exhibitors, a parade, children's activities, gold panning, and delicious food. Come tour the Gold Museum as part of your visit. $3.50 - $6 (706) 864-7247.

Fall Hoedown
Saturday, October 20, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Vogel State Park – Blairsville
Celebrate autumn’s arrival with noon chili, hotdogs and drinks for sale, followed by a 3 p.m. cakewalk, 4 p.m. hayrides, 5 p.m. bonfire and square/line dancing, 6 p.m. trunk or treats, and 7 p.m. professional storytelling. $5 parking. (706) 745-2628.

Harvest Happenings
Saturday, October 27, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Tugaloo State Park – Lavonia
Come to this lakeside park for a hayride, campfire and storytelling. $5 parking. (706) 356-4362.

All Hallows Eve Event/Autumn Hayride
Wednesday, October 31, 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Fort Yargo State Park – Winder
Learn about All Hallows Eve from the 18th century as well as taking a good ol' fashion hayride through the park. Join us at the historic fort to learn about life in the late 1700s. Tours includes interactive activities and educational opportunities. $5 plus $5 parking. (770) 867-3489.


Saturday, October 13, 7:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Stephen C. Foster State Park – Fargo
Come out to the cul-de-sac at the end of 177 where we'll have an 18" telescope set up. You'll be able to see planets, star clusters, nebulae, and other celestial bodies. Learn new constellations you may not be familiar with. $5 Refuge Parking Fee. $3. (912) 637-5274.

Candle-Lantern Tour of Fort McAllister
Saturday, October 20
Fort McAllister Historic Park – Richmond Hill
Experience the fort by candlelight. Walk through these historic grounds and watch the soldiers going through their nightly duties and chores. Be sure to stay with your guide or you may be captured as a spy. $3.75 to $6.50 (912) 727-2339.

Haunted Trail and Fall-oween
Thursday, October 25 through Friday, October 27, 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Saturday, October 27, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Skidaway Island State Park – Savannah
Thursday and Friday night come out for a frightening haunted trail. 7:30pm-9pm. Saturday the whole family can join in Falloween with an afternoon of games, crafts and hayrides. 1pm-4pm. Don’t forget trick or treating through the campground at 4pm-5pm. Haunted Trail $5 per person. Falloween $2 per child. $5 parking. (912) 598-2300.

The Fort by Moonlight and Oyster Roast Overnight
Saturday, October 27, 7 p.m.
Fort King George Historic Site – Darien
Guests on this canoe excursion will glide down the river under the moon and stars. Meet at Skipper's Seafood in Darien, and end up at the fort. Oyster roast dinner, and campout in the fort overnight. A once in a lifetime opportunity! $40. (912) 437-4770.


Book Signing by Author and Ghost Hunter Faith Serafin
Saturday, October 6, 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
F.D. Roosevelt State Park – Pine Mountain
Join author and ghost hunter Faith Serafin for a chilling look into Columbus's haunted past as you stop by and purchase her book at our park office. She will be available to sign your book. $5 parking. (706) 663-4858.

Fall Games in the Field
Saturday, October 6, 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Reed Bingham State Park – Adel
Celebrate fall with fun field-day games like face painting, beanbags, ring tosses and more. Children of all ages are welcome. $1 per round. $5 parking. (229) 896-3551.

Kolomoki Festival
Saturday, October 13, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Kolomoki Mounds Historic Park – Blakely
Enjoy a day of eats, shopping, boat tours, Native American demonstrations, singing and dancing performances, live music, antique tractor parade and more. Also available is the free children’s section with arts and crafts, moon walk, and blow up slide. $5 parking. (229) 724-2150.

The North Face Endurance Challenge
Saturday, October 13 through Sunday, October 14
F.D. Roosevelt State Park – Pine Mountain
Watch or participate in this two-day event loaded with races such as 50-Mile, 50K, marathon, marathon relay, half marathon, 10K, 5K, and runs for kids.  (214) 451-1903.

Geology Day
Saturday, October 13, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Providence Canyon State Outdoor Recreation Area – Lumpkin
Providence Canyon is one of the great geographic wonders of the eastern United States. Join Professor Rich McWilliams of Thomas University in Thomasville, Ga. for a close-up view of this most unusual state park. Pre-registration is required. $5 plus $5 parking. (229) 838-4706.

Ghost Hunt Hike
Saturday, October 13, 8:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Reed Bingham State Park – Adel
Take a walk through our woods down gopher tortoise trial to hear some spooky stories along the way. Please bring your flashlights and wear appropriate walking shoes. $1 plus $5 parking. (229) 896-3551.

Haunted House and Hayride
Friday, October 19 through Saturday, October 20, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday, October 26 through Saturday, October 27, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Reed Bingham State Park – Adel
Trick-or-treaters,beware! We will be having our haunted hayride as well as our well known haunted house Friday and Saturday night. Ghosts, goblins and monsters -- oh my! $2 for hayride $2 for haunted house. $5 parking. (229) 896-3551.

Fall Festival
Saturday, October 20 through Sunday, October 21 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Hard Labor Creek State Park – Rutledge
Welcome the cooler weather and changing leaves with our first Fall Festival. Come for nature hikes, blacksmithing demonstrations, face painting, hayrides, marshmallow roasts, lake tours by kayak, and more. Some fees. $5 parking. (706) 557-3001.

Family Fall Festival
Saturday, October 20, 4 p.m. 
Mistletoe State Park – Appling
Enjoy a snake program, pumpkin scavenger hunt, nature hike, apple bobbing, marshmallow roasting, old-fashioned games, making corn husk dolls, music, and storytelling. Friends of Mistletoe will offer $2 hayrides. $10 per vehicle includes parking. (706) 541-0321.

Thomas the Tank Engine Live!
Saturday, October 20 -  21
Saturday, October 27 - 28
SAM Shortline Excursion Train – All Aboard! – Cordele
For two weekends only, Thomas will visit the SAM Shortline Excursion Train at Georgia Veterans State Park in southwest Georgia. You can spend a whole day with the beloved storybook engine, Sir Topham Hatt and other friends. 1-877-427-2457.

Creepy Crooked River
Saturday, October 27, 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Crooked River State Park – St. Marys
From 5 - 7 PM walk through the creepy nature center and learn how animals play tricks to survive. Then make your own creepy treats and tricks in our spooky lab with a mad scientist. Then 7:30 - 10 PM go for a haunted hayride if you dare (parental discretion advised). $1 ages 3 and up $5 parking. (912) 882-5256.

Haunted Hayride
Saturday, October 27, 7 p.m.
A.H. Stephens Historic Park – Crawfordville
Join park staff and Friends of A.H. Stephens for a fun evening of ghouling events. Activities include a haunted hayride, treats, campsite decorating contest for campers. $1 -$2. $5 parking. (706) 456-2602.

Saturday, October 27, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Florence Marina State Park – Omaha
Celebrate Halloween with a haunted hayride, games for kids, and a costume contest. Food vendors will be on hand. Games 1 ticket each, hayride 3 tickets, cakewalk 1 ticket. $1 per ticket. $5 parking. (229) 838-4706.

Moonlight Madness
Saturday, October 27, 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.
General Coffee State Park – Nicholls
Great fun will be had by all at this annual fall festival. The day starts with a kids carnival in the afternoon followed by the opening of the Haunted House and hayrides after dark. $1-$5 plus $5 parking. (912) 384-7082.


Battle of Allatoona Pass
Saturday, October 6 and 7
Allatoona Pass Battlefield – Emerson
Join us at the Allatoona Pass Battlefield for tours of the site, battle re-enactments, musket and cannon firings, and signal flag demonstrations.  Call Red Top Mountain State Park for information. (770) 975-0055.

Native American Skills of the Past
Saturday, October 6, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site – Cartersville
See ancient skills of the past come alive. Mastering these skills was necessary for survival. Artisans will demonstrate weaponry, tool usage, flintknapping, pottery making and basket weaving. $3.50-$5 plus tax. (770) 387-3747.

Candlelight Hike to the Mill
Saturday, October 20, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Sweetwater Creek State Park – Lithia Springs
This mile-long guided night hike is easy to moderately difficult and goes inside the Civil War era textile mill ruins of New Manchester. Candle lanterns will be provided. No children under 6 years or dogs permitted. Space is limited and is on a first-come first-serve basis. Meet and register at the Interpretive Center. $5 plus $5 parking. (770) 732-5871.

Check GeorgiaStateParks.org/events for a full calendar.

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