14 Georgia Geological Attractions and Destinations

Georgia encompasses a great variety of geology from its Atlantic coast to the interior Appalachian Plateau. The state is also a major producer of raw and finished materials from its mines. Here are just some of the many parts of Georgia's geology worth seeing.

01
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Brasstown Bald, Blairsville

Brasstown Bald Parking as seen from Summit

hellohowareyoudoing/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0 

Georgia's highest point, Brasstown Bald, is in the Blue Ridge province of the Appalachian mountain belt. It is rich in botanical interest, too.

02
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Cloudland Canyon State Park, Rising Fawn

Cloudland waterfall

Ronmacal/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain 

Cloudland Canyon State Park is in the Appalachian Plateau province in extreme northwestern Georgia. Mountaintops here are actually remnants of a wide plateau.

03
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Fall Line Cities: Columbus, Macon, Milledgeville, Augusta

Savannah River

Debs/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

These Georgia cities took root where the hard rocks of the Piedmont meet the level ground of the Coastal Plain. (more below)

The rapids of the Savannah River, above Augusta, expose upturned metamorphic rocks at the edge of the Piedmont province. By resisting erosion, they gradually emerged above the easily eroded sediments of the Coastal Plain. The Savannah and Georgia's other major rivers tumble over rapids and falls as they cross the Piedmont. The boats and barges of colonial commerce could navigate no further upriver and had to be unloaded at the Fall Line. At the same time, the rapids were harnessed to power machinery and afford transportation using dams and canals. These steps left the rapids largely dry, but the rocks remain in place. This photo was taken just below the dam that feeds the Augusta Canal, built in 1845 and today a National Heritage Area.

Several other Georgia cities were founded on the Fall Line: Columbus on the Chattahoochee River, Macon on the Ocmulgee, and Milledgeville on the Oconee. The Fall Line extends west into Alabama and north as far as New Jersey.

04
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Gold Mines, Dahlonega

Dahlonega Consolidated Gold Mines

Jared/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Dahlonega in 1828 had a classic gold rush leading to prosperity, disruption, and a U.S. mint. The Consolidated (shown here) and Crisson mines keep history alive.

05
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Howard's Waterfall Cave, Dade County

Howard's Waterfall Cave

Howard's Waterfall Cave Facebook

This well-known wild cave near Trenton is managed by the Southeastern Cave Conservancy. Review all of the SCC's documentation before attempting a visit.

06
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Panola Mountain State Park, Stockbridge

Panola Mountain

Jflo23/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

Panola Mountain is a granite bald in the Piedmont that meets the definition of a monadnock. The mountain is also a National Natural Landmark.

07
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Pigeon Mountain, LaFayette

Pigeon Mountain

Thomson200/Wikimedia Commons/CC0 

At Pigeon Mountain sandstones of the Appalachian Plateau fracture and separate by sliding on underlying shale beds to create a rock town or rock city.

08
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Providence Canyon State Park, Lumpkin

Providence Canyon

Robbie Honnerkamp/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

Providence Canyon formed by runaway erosion from poor farming practices in the early 1800s. However, it offers a rare look at Coastal Plain rock units.

09
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Rock City, Walker County

Rock City Chattanooga

OgreBot/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 4.0

This fanciful site on Lookout Mountain also has splendid views to the east across Georgia's northern border and to the north over nearby Chattanooga.

10
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Skidaway Island State Park, Savannah

Skidaway Island State Park

Britt Reints/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Skidaway Island is one of many barrier islands that protect the Intracoastal Waterway from the Atlantic Ocean.

11
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Soapstone Ridge, Decatur

Text:

Jason Riedy/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

A soft metamorphic rock valued by the Georgia tribes, soapstone was mined at a site on River Road 8 miles south of Decatur.

12
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Stone Mountain, Atlanta

Stone Mountain the carving

Pilotguy251/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 4.0

The famous carved granite dome is also a fabulous place to study plutonism, using Pamela Gore's online guidebook to localities off the beaten track.

13
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Toccoa Falls, Toccoa

Toccoa Falls

FloNight/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 4.0

Toccoa Falls, 57 meters high, is on the campus of Toccoa Falls College. Its bluff consists of biotite gneiss of the Piedmont province.

14
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Vogel State Park, Blairsville

Lake Trahlyta, October 2016

Thomson200/Wikimedia Commons/CC0

Georgia's share of the Blue Ridge Mountains, including Blood Mountain and Lake Trahlyta, is showcased year-round at Vogel State Park.