LESS THAN TWO hours from Atlanta, this remote part of Georgia seems like a different world from the city. Steep hollows offer cover for ruffed grouse and deer. Wild trout fin in gurgling mountain streams. Vineyards, apple orchards, and quaint towns are tucked away in the valleys.
Area attractions include Amicola waterfall, at 729 feet; 1,200-foot Tallulah Gorge; and Blue Ridge Lake, with smallmouths and muskies.
TOWNS: Blairsville, Blue Ridge, Clarkesville, Clayton, Cleveland, Cornelia, Dahlonega, Danielsville, Gainesville, and Hartwell.
CLIMATE: Summer highs in the 80s, lows in the 60s; winter highs in the 50s, lows to 30.
NATIONAL FOREST: Chattahoochee.
HUNTING: Ducks abound on lakes and rivers; upland hunters find grouse above 1,500 feet, bobwhites in the valleys, migrating woodcock and doves, plus squirrels and rabbits.
Turkeys and black bears are hunted, but the whitetail is the No. 1 big-game species. Chattahoochee National Forest has room to roam. Try Dawson, Warwoman, Chestatee, Lake Russell, Cooper’s Creek, and Hart County WMAs.
Fishing: Streams with excellent trout fishing are Chattooga, Davidson, Rock, Cooper’s, Noontootla, North Fork Broad, Little Toccoa, Panther, Jacks, Soque, and Waters.
The big lakes all hold bass, crappies, bluegills, stripers, hybrids, and catfish. Lanier and Hartwell are both worth trying. Medium waters such as Chatuge, Rabun, Burton, and Nottely are also good bets. For a bass-panfish float, canoe the Oconee or Chestatee Rivers.