• "Great American Main Street Award® Winner"
    - National Main Street Center, Inc. 2016
  • "The South's Best Small Towns 2017"
    - Southern Living Magazine 2017
  • "4th Best Summer Weekend Escape"
    - USA Today Travel 2014

  • "4th Best Underground Attraction"
    - USA Today 2016 - Consolidated Gold Mine
  • "Best Wine Town Runner Up, Southern Dream Towns"
    - Garden & Gun Magazine 2012
  • "10th Best Historic Small Town"
    - USA Today 2016
  • "10th Best Course You Can Play in Georgia - Achasta"
    - Golfweek Magazine
  • "Dahlonega: Small-town Escape"
    - Southern Living Magazine 2012
  • "Wine Tasting Room Capital of Georgia"
    - Georgia's State Senate Resolution 2015

  • "National Main Street City"
    - National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • "Official Appalachian Trail Community"
    - Appalachian Trail Conservancy 2010
  • "Georgia's Premier Sports Cycling Community"
    - Georgia General Assembly Resolution 2005
  • "Site of First Major U.S. Gold Rush"
    - Thousands of Miners, 1829-1849


Wildlife Viewing is Nature at it's best in Dahlonega, and observing and Identifying local wildlife can seem a world away. Dahlonega and Northeast Georgia are a playground for both wildlife watchers and our fauna friends!   An abundance of Deer, Turkey, Bear, small furbearers can be seen as well as picnicking and watching birds. Come slow down to watch our animals cross your path in Dahlonega's great outdoors, National Forest, or visit our Wildlife Preserves and Zoos Attractions with both local and exotic experiences. 

  • Black Bears
  • Birding
  • Zoos & Wildlife Preserves

WildlifeIf you spend enough time hiking or picnicking in the North Georgia mountains, odds are it's only a matter of time before your next bear encounter. Fortunately, the black bear tends to be friendly and will not attack humans unless provoked.

Of course, the best way to avoid run-ins with Georgia's largest mammal is taking measures to prevent a bear encounter.

For starters, you need to know that bear attacks in the wild are extremely rare. But there are some bear safety tips you can take away that will make you feel more relaxed and minimize your risk when you are traveling in areas that are home to bears.

What do I do if I See a Bear?

If you see a bear remain watchful. Do not approach it. If your presence causes the bear to change its behavior (stops feeding, changes its travel direction, watches you, etc.) - you're too close. Being too close may promote aggressive behavior from the bear such as running toward you, making loud noises, or swatting the ground. The bear is demanding more space. Don't run, but slowly back away, watching the bear. Try to increase the distance between you and the bear. The bear will probably do the same.

If a bear persistently follows or approaches you, without vocalizing, or paw swatting, change your direction. If the bear continues to follow you, stand your ground. If the bear gets closer, talk loudly or shout at it. Act aggressively to intimidate the bear. Act together as a group if you have companions. Make yourselves look as large as possible (for example, move to higher ground). Throw non-food objects such as rocks at the bear. Use a deterrent such as a stout stick. Don't run and don't turn away from the bear. Don't leave food for the bear; this encourages further problems.

Most injuries from black bear attacks are minor and result from a bear attempting to get at people's food. If the bear's behavior indicates that it is after your food and you're physically attacked, separate yourself from the food and slowly back away.

If the bear shows no interest in your food and you're physically attacked, fight back aggressively with any available object - the bear may consider you as prey!

Backcountry and Trail Precautions

  • Don't surprise bears. If you're hiking, make your presence known. Make noise by talking loudly, singing, or wearing a bell.
  • If you can, travel with a group. Groups are noisier and easier for bears to detect.
  • Keep in mind that bears tend to be more active at dawn and dusk so plan your hikes accordingly.
  • Stay on marked trails and obey the regulations of the area you're hiking/camping in.
  • If you're hiking in bear country, keep an eye out for tracks, scat, digs, and trees that bears have rubbed.

Campground and Picnic Area Precautions

  • Never cook or store food in or near your tent.
  • Hang food and other items with strong odors (ie, toothpaste, bug repellent, soap, etc.) out of reach of bears. Hang items at least 10 ft above the ground and if no trees are available, store your food in airtight or bear-proof containers.
  • Change your clothing before you go to sleep; don't wear what you cooked in to go to bed and be sure to store smelly clothing along with your food/smelly items.
  • Keep the area clean. Be sure to wash dishes, dispose of garbage, and wipe down tables.
  • Burn garbage completely in a hot fire and pack trash out - don't bury it.

Help Protect Our Bears!

The black bear's keen sense of smell leads it to insects, nuts and berries, but the animal is also enticed by the tantalizing smells of human food and garbage such as hot dogs, apple cores, chips, and watermelon rinds left on the ground in picnic areas, campgrounds, and along trails. Feeding bears or allowing them access to human food and garbage causes a number of problems:

  • It changes the bear's behavior and causes them to lose their instinctive fear of humans. Over time, these bears may begin approaching people in search of food and may become more unpredictable and dangerous.
  • Bears that obtain human food and garbage damage property and injure people. These bears pose a risk to public safety. They can also teach other bears this dangerous behavior. Often, they must be euthanized.
  • Studies have shown that bears that lose their fear of people by obtaining human food and garbage never live as long as bears that feed on natural foods and are shy and afraid of people. Many are hit by cars and become easy targets for poachers.

Visitors are urged to view all wildlife at a safe distance and to never throw food or garbage on the ground or leave it unattended. Garbage Kills Bears!

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Like Watching Birds?

Then Georgia's Wildlife Resources Division Areas (WRDs) are perfect for you! There are 106 WRD areas listed for bird watching below that are located in 7 Regions. Enjoy!

Dahlonega is near two great WRDs in Region 2 with such wonderful wildlife as Deer and Bear, Turkey, Small Game, Raccoon, Opossum, Fox, Bobcat, Raccoon, Opossum, Waterfowl, Feral Hogs. Located in Lumpkin and Union counties.

Chestatee WMA - 25,000 acres
Blue Ridge WMA - 38,900 acres. Located 10 miles north of Dahlonega
Directions From Dahlonega: To the Jones Creek check station: Travel 9 miles west on Hwy. 52 to Nimblewill Rd.; turn right and go 2.4 miles; turn right on USFS Rd. #28 and go 2.4 miles to USFS Road #77; take left fork to check station. To the Rock Creek check station: Take GA 60 north for 28 miles to jct. with USFS Road #69; turn left and go 1 mile to the check station.

Contact Information
Wildlife Game Management - (770) 535-5700
Non-Game Wildlife & Natural Heritage - (770) 918-6411
Law Enforcement - (770) 535-5499

Golden-winged Warblers

BirdingThe golden-winged warbler, a diminutive bird splashed with bright-yellow highlights, had it good in the Southern Appalachians 100 years ago. The golden-winged warbler is a federal species of concern - only about 12 pairs of golden-wings still nest here.

  • Small (4.25 inches long), active bird.
  • Markings on mature males include yellow forehead, black mask (with white underneath) and yellow patches on wings.
  • Eats insects (mostly moth caterpillars) and spiders.
  • Breeds near the ground in shrub areas along forest edges. Winters in tropical forests.
  • Only 12 breeding pairs documented in Georgia, all in Chattahoochee National Forest’s Brawley Mountain area between Dahlonega and Suches.
  • Species is declining across its range due to habitat loss and expansion of blue-winged warblers. Listed as a federal species of concern and a high-priority species in Georgia’s Wildlife Action Plan. Golden-wings are expanding into the Northwest.
  • “Mated” males sing a different song, making the location of breeding pairs easier.
  • Quotable: “They’d make terrible poker players,” DNR’s Nathan Klaus, referring to how singing males often stop and look toward where their mate’s nest is.



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Animal lovers, families, and groups can tour, touch, and feed at two unique wildlife attractions in Dahlonega. From exotic and endangered species to a variety of rare and unique farm animals, visitors enjoy hundreds of animals and can experience special walks and behind the scenes tours that are always favorites with adults and the kids!

Chestatee Wildlife Preserve

Chestatee Wildlife Preserve  (678) 859-6820
   469 Old Dahlonega Highway, Dahlonega, Georgia 30533

The Chestatee Wildlife Preserve features over 100 animals, with many different species and sits on over 20 acres of gently rolling farmland. The Preserve is a magical place to walk around or feed some of the animals. The pace of the Preserve is meant to be slow as guests meander among the exhibits. They can’t help but see and hear new things. This is when the questions usually start and volunteers circulating throughout the property are quick to help with answers that hopefully lead to more questions.

Chestatee Wildlife Preserve is a non-profit corporation and fully licensed rescue, exotic animal and wildlife preserve. The Preserve is funded through guest admission fees, corporate, and personal donations.

North Georgia Zoo & Petting Farm

North Georgia-Zoo  (706) 348-7279
   2912 Paradise Valley Road, Dahlonega, Georgia 30533

North Georgia Zoo is home to over 80 different species of exotic animals. From alligators, monkeys, kangaroos, wildcats, zebras and more! Get up close and personal with some of their amazing animal ambassadors. Enjoy visiting with hundreds of animals! Visit with the new babies and meet some famous animals! Have fun feeding a variety or rare, mini, and unique farm animals. Join North Georgia Zoo for their new, improved Wildlife Walks - a hands on experience you won't forget!!

Take a ride through the zoo to view animals such as camels, zebras, water buffalo and more. Pony rides and bottle feeding are always a favorite with the kids! Visit us this year for your family adventure!

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Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber & Visitors Bureau  |  13 South Park Street  |  Dahlonega, GA 30533  |  (706) 864-3711 or (800) 231-5543.