Nearly half the territory of Gilmer County is within the Chattahoochee National Forest and is protected from development by the Federal Government.
Carters Lake provides a major recreational area in the county. Carters Lake is formed from the Coosawatee River, which is formed from the Cartecay and Ellijay Rivers. The rivers were formerly used for timber operations in the area.
Gilmer County boast to be the "Apple Capital of Georgia". Over 600,000 bushels of apples in 25 varieties are produced annually and sold at numerous roadside stands throughout the county.