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Georgia Waterfalls

The northern region of Georgia has quite a lot of waterfalls.  My wife and I spent a week in Helen hunting for waterfalls using Jim Parham's Waterfall Hikes of North Georgia.  We managed to get more than 50 in a week but still didn't come close to finding them all.  Clearly, we'll have to come back and visit again.  The waterfalls below are from that trip along with directions and other information.

Amicalola Falls:

Amicalola Falls is a 729-foot cascading waterfall on Little Amicalola Creek in Dawson County.  The waterfall is located within Amicalola Falls State Park.  Amicalola Falls is the highest waterfall in Georgia and one of the highest in the eastern United States.  Although incorrectly claimed to be the highest in the eastern United States, it is the highest cascading waterfall in the region.

To visit the falls, head west on US-53 from Dawsonville for about 2 miles and bear right on GA-183.  In about 10 miles, turn right on US-52E and the park entrance will be on the left in 1.5 miles.  From Dahlonega, go about 20 miles west on US-52 or from Ellijay, go about 22 miles east on US-52.  There is a $5 per vehicle daily fee to access the park and waterfall.  The fee is payable at the gate house at the entrance of the park or at self-serve kiosks located in parking lots throughout the park.  Once in the park, there are numerous places to park and hike to the falls.

From the Visitor Center, the hike to the falls is about one mile.  Follow the Appalachian Approach Trail from behind the visitor center that leads upstream along the creek.  Although you can see the falls for a while, the first good view of the falls is from lower observation platform at the base of the waterfall.  The trail is pretty easy up to this point.  Past here, the trail becomes more strenuous as it is almost all stairs up to the top of the falls.  There is a footbridge across the middle of the waterfall that has wonderful close-up views of the falls.  Just past the bridge, the West Ridge Staircase leads to the top of the falls via more than 400 steps.  The first picture below is from the lower observation platform and the second is from the footbridge.



Angel Falls:

Angel Falls is a nearly 100-foot cascading waterfall on Joe Creek in Rabun County.  The waterfall is located in Rabun County in the Lake Rabun Beach Recreation Area in the Chattooga River Ranger District in Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, head south for about 5.5 miles from Clayton on US-441/US23 and turn on Wiley Connector Road.  Almost immediately, turn left on GA-15/Historic 441 and go 1.5 miles.  Turn right on Lake Rabun Road and proceed about 5 miles to the Lake Rabun Beach Recreation Area.  Note that although this road is paved, it is very narrow and winding.  Enter the area 2 of the campground (first one you'll cross) and proceed to loop 2 to the back for the Angel Falls Trailhead.  There is a small day-use fee payable at self-serve kiosks.  If the recreation area is closed, there is a small pull-off on Lake Rabun Road about a half-mile before the turn for area 2.  Look for the Angel Falls Trailhead sign and you can access the trail from here.

From the trailhead, hike about a mile up Angel Falls Trail, which terminates at wooden viewing deck for the falls.  This would be a really nice waterfall if you could actually see it.  Unfortunately, dense rhododendron and a downed tree block any good views of the falls.

Anna Ruby Falls:

Anna Ruby Falls is a twin waterfall in White County.  The waterfalls are located in the Anna Ruby Falls Recreation Area in Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, head north from Helen on GA-17 and turn right on GA-356 E.  In about 1.3 miles, turn left on Anna Ruby Falls Falls Road and proceed to the end.  There is a per-person fee for visiting the recreation area, payable at the fee booth or inside the gift shop.

From the visitor center, hike up the Anna Ruby Falls Trail for about a half-mile to a viewing platform for the waterfalls.  Anna Ruby Falls is actually two waterfalls - Curtis Creek Falls is the larger at 153 feet and York Creek Falls is the smaller at 50 feet.

Bearden Falls:

Bearden Falls is a beautiful 100-foot waterfall on Bearden Creek in Dawson County.  The waterfall is located in the Blue Ridge Ranger District of Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, go west from Dahlonega on US-52 for about 11 miles and turn right on Nimblewill Church Road. Go 1.2 miles and turn left (at the church) on Nimblewill Gap Road. Stay on Nimblewill Gap Road for 4.1 miles; it will turn to gravel and become FS-28-2 in about 2 miles.  At 4.1 miles, turn right into a primitive forest campsite and park here.  The turn is right before the road begins to go up a mountain.  GPS coordinates of the trailhead are 34.58853, -84.19251.

The hike to the falls is about 1.5 miles one way.  There's no trail, but it mostly follows old roads, so it's not too bad.  Immediately, cross a creek and continue to follow the old road heading upstream along Nimblewill Creek.  In about a half-mile, you'll have to cross Nimblewill Creek.  Unless the water level is low, you'll have to get your feet wet on this crossing.  From here, continue to follow the old road as it heads up Bearden Creek (the right fork).  There are a couple of creek crossings, but you should be able to rock hop across without getting your feet wet.  The trail is pretty easy to follow until right at the end.  As it approaches the waterfall, the trail (almost non-existent at this point) becomes extremely steep and narrow.  When you get to where it becomes impossible to pass, try to climb down and cross the creek to a huge boulder at the base of the falls.  This spot has the best views.

Bearden Creek Feeder Stream Waterfall:

Bearden Creek Feeder Stream Waterfall is a 20-foot waterfall on a feeder stream flowing into Bearden Creek in Dawson County.  The waterfall is located in the Blue Ridge Ranger District of Chattahoochee National Forest.

Follow the same directions as Bearden Falls above.  The waterfall is located about 1.2 miles from the parking lot and about a quarter-mile before reaching Bearden Falls and you can hear it from the trail.  Descend from the trail down to the creek and rock hop across to see the waterfall on the other side.  There's a lot of rhododendron and other vegetation in the way so it's hard to get a good view.

Bearden Creek Waterslide:

Bearden Creek Waterslide is a small 15-foot waterslide falls on Bearden Creek in Dawson County.  The waterfall is located in the Blue Ridge Ranger District of Chattahoochee National Forest.

Follow the same directions as Bearden Falls above.  The waterfall is located about 0.8 miles from the parking lot.  Right after crossing Bearden Creek the trail follows a ridgeline above the creek, which is to the left as you're hiking upstream.  You should be able to see the waterfall from the trail and can hike down to creek level for a better view.

Black Falls:

Back Falls is a waterfall on the Upper Etowah River in Lumpkin County.  The waterfall is located on the grounds of US Army Ranger Camp Frank D. Merrill.  Although public access to the waterfall is permitted most of the time, one should check at the visitor center to ensure there is no ongoing training that would restrict public access.  There is a lot of training equipment on the grounds, including rappelling walls and rope bridges.  Do not under any circumstances attempt to use or play on any of this equipment.

To visit the falls, head north on GA-60-Bus from Dahlonega for about 2 miles and turn left on Camp Wahsega Road.  Drive about 8.5 miles to the ranger camp.  Be sure to stop at the visitor center to ensure access to the falls is permitted.  Turn right on FS-28 (Hightower Church Road) and go a half-mile and pull off near the gated road.

From the trailhead, walk down the gated road past the training equipment to the waterfall.  There is a wooden bridge across the river right in front of the falls to provide good views.

Caledonia Cascade:

Caledonia Cascade, also called Cascade Falls, is a 600-foot waterfall on a tributary to Tallulah River in Rabun County.  The waterfall is located in Tallulah Gorge State Park and can be viewed from multiple points within the park.

To visit the falls, head south for about 11 miles from Clayton on US-441/US-23 to Tallulah Falls.  Turn left on Jane Hurt Yarn Road and proceed into the park.  There is a $5 per vehicle daily fee to access the park and gorge.  The fee is payable at self-serve kiosks located in parking lots throughout the park.

Caledonia Cascade is one of the highest waterfalls in Georgia, but can be little more than a trickle in low water conditions.  The waterfall can be viewed from Overlooks 8 and 9 along the South Rim Trail.  The North Rim Trail crosses over the top of the waterfall near Overlook 1, but you can't really see anything from here.

Davis Creek - Second Waterfall:

The Second Waterfall on Davis Creek is a cascading waterfall just above Dukes Creek Falls in White County.  The waterfall is located in the Chattooga River District of Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, head north out of Helen on GA-75 and turn left onto GA-75 Alt north.  In 2.3 miles, turn right on GA-348 W (Richard B. Russel Scenic Highway).  Go about 7 miles and turn left into the Raven Cliffs Wilderness Area.  Drive about a half-mile past the main parking area and park near a primitive campsite on the side of the road.

From the road, hike past the campground down to the creek and head downstream.  The second waterfall is located just 50 yards or so above the top of Dukes Creek Falls.  Be very careful and don't get too close to the top of this waterfall as a fall would certainly be fatal.

Davis Creek - Third Waterfall:

The Third Waterfall on Davis Creek is located in White County.  It is located in the Raven Cliffs Wilderness of Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, head north out of Helen on GA-75 and turn left onto GA-75 Alt north.  In 2.3 miles, turn right on GA-348 W (Richard B. Russel Scenic Highway).  Go about 7 miles and turn left into the Raven Cliffs Wilderness Area.  Drive about a mile down the forest road and park right before the road fords Davis Creek.

From the parking area, hike upstream along Davis Creek for less than a quarter-mile to this waterfall.  There's no trail, but the path is short and easy to follow.

Davis Creek Tributary Waterfall:

Waterfall on Tributary of Davis Creek is a small waterfall in White County.  It is located in the Raven Cliffs Wilderness of Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, follow the same directions as the third waterfall above.  You will see this waterfall on the right side just before reaching the third waterfall.

DeSoto Lower Falls:

Lower DeSoto Falls is 35-foot waterfall on a tributary to Frogtown Creek in Lumpkin County.  The waterfall is located in the DeSoto Falls Recreation Area of Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, head north from Cleveland on GA-11/US-129 for about 14.5 miles and turn left into the recreation area.  Alternately, from Blairsville, head south on GA-11/US-129/US-19 for about 16.5 miles.  There is a day-use fee for parking, payable at self-serve kiosks in the parking area.

From the parking area, head across the footbridge and turn left on the DeSoto Falls Trail.  It's about a quarter-mile to the wooden viewing platform for the waterfall.

DeSoto Upper Falls:

Upper DeSoto Falls is beautiful 100-foot tiered waterfall on a tributary to Frogtown Creek in Lumpkin County.  The waterfall is located in the DeSoto Falls Recreation Area of Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, follow the same directions as Lower DeSoto Falls above.  At the footbridge, turn right on DeSoto Falls Trail and hike about 3/4 of a mile to the wooden viewing platform at the base of the falls.  The waterfalls are named for the Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto, who passed through Georgia in the 16th century searching for gold.  In the 1880s, a suit of armor believed to belong to the explorer or a member of his company was found in the area.

Dodd Creek - First Waterfall:

The First Waterfall on Dodd Creek is a small double-tier waterfall in White County.  The waterfall is located in the Raven Cliffs Wilderness in Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, head north out of Helen on GA-75 and turn left onto GA-75 Alt north.  In 2.3 miles, turn right on GA-348 W (Richard B. Russel Scenic Highway).  Go about 2.7 miles and turn left into the Raven Cliffs Wilderness area and park.

From the parking area, hike about a half-mile down the Raven Cliffs Trail and you should see the waterfall on the creek to the right.  It's difficult to get all the way down to the stream to get a good picture of the waterfall.

Dodd Creek - Second Waterfall:

The Second Waterfall on Dodd Creek is a plunge followed by a long waterslide in White County.  The waterfall is located in the Raven Cliffs Wilderness in Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, follow the same directions as the first waterfall above.  Continue along the trail about another half-mile from the first waterfall on Raven Cliffs Trail.  To view the entire waterfall, scramble down to the creek below the base of the waterfall to get the view in the first picture below.  You can also scramble down to the creek right at the plunge part of the waterfall and view it from the side as in the second picture below.



Dodd: Creek - Third Waterfall:

The Third Second Waterfall on Dodd Creek is 60-foot waterfall in White County.  The waterfall is located in the Raven Cliffs Wilderness in Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, follow the same directions as the first waterfall above.  The third waterfall is about a half-mile past the second waterfall on Raven Cliffs Trail.  This waterfall is difficult to get to a stream level, but you can get a decent view from the trail.  Do not try to go down from right above the waterfall - it's extremely steep and a fall could be fatal.  If you really want to get down to creek level, backtrack a bit, scramble down, and then hike upstream to the base of the falls.

Double Culvert Branch Lower Falls:

Double Culvert Branch Lower Falls is a waterfall in White County.  The waterfall is located in the Mark Trail Wilderness of Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, head north out of Helen on GA-75 and turn left onto GA-75 Alt north.  Almost immediately, turn right on Poplar Stump Road, which eventually becomes Chattahoochee River Road, a gravel forest road.  In about 3.7 miles, as the road is making a sharp turn to the right as it crosses over Double Culvert Branch, park on the side of the road.  Be sure to get the vehicle completely off the road.

From the pull-off, head upstream along Double Culvert Branch.  There's no real trail, but you should see something resembling a trail, starting on the left side of the creek (looking upstream) and then crossing the creek in about 0.1 miles.  The waterfall will be ahead shortly after the creek crossing.

Double Culvert Branch Upper Falls:

Double Culvert Branch Upper Falls is a nice double waterfall in White County.  The waterfall is located in the Mark Trail Wilderness of Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, follow the directions for the lower waterfall above.  The upper falls is just a short ways above the lower falls.  There's no trail and it becomes really steep at this point.  Climb up as a high as you can safely go for views of this hidden gem.

Dukes Creek Falls:

Dukes Creek Falls is a huge 200-foot cascading waterfall that is actually on Davis Creek in White County.  The waterfall is located in the Dukes Creek Falls Recreation Area in Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, head north out of Helen on GA-75 and turn left onto GA-75 Alt north.  In 2.3 miles, turn right on GA-348 W (Richard B. Russel Scenic Highway).  Go about 1.7 miles and turn left into the Dukes Creek Falls Recreation Area and park.  There is a day-use fee for parking, payable at self-serve kiosks in the parking area.

From the parking area, hike down the Dukes Creek Falls Trail about 1.1 miles.  There is a handicapped-accessible overlook in the first tenth of a mile, but the waterfall is difficult to see through the foliage from here.  The trail is somewhat steep as it descends to the base of the falls, but it is wide and well-graded.  The hike back up is obviously more challenging.  There is a big wooden observation platform at the base to view the falls.

Dukes Creek - Waterfall:

Waterfall on Dukes Creek is a waterfall in White County very near to Dukes Creek Falls.  The waterfall may actually be on Dodd Creek, I'm not sure exactly where Dukes Creek begins.  The waterfall is located in Dukes Creek Recreation Area in Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, follow the directions for Dukes Creek Falls above.  Follow the wooden observation point to the very end for a good view of this waterfall, just upstream of the confluence of Davis Creek and Dukes Creek (or Dodd Creek).

Fall Creek - Second Waterfall:

The Second Waterfall on Fall Creek is a nearly 100-foot waterfall in Dawson County.  The waterfall is located in the Wildcat Tract of Dawson Forest.

To visit the falls, head west from Dawsonville on GA-136 for about 11 miles and turn left on Steve Tate Highway.  Go 2 miles and turn right onto Wildcat Campground Road and follow this gravel road just under a mile to the campground at the end.

Hike through the campground and pick up the green-blazed Wildcat Creek Trail, which follows its namesake creek.  In about 1.5 miles the trail becomes Fall Creek Trail.  Almost immediately after the trail changes, you will have to cross Wildcat Creek.  It's a tricky creek crossing but there are ropes strung up to assist.  Follow Fall Creek Trail for another 2 miles or so and there will be a short spur trail lead to the waterfall.

Fall Creek - Third Waterfall:

The Third Waterfall on Fall Creek is a secluded 50-foot waterfall in Dawson County.  The waterfall is located in the Wildcat Tract of Dawson Forest.

To visit the falls, follow the same directions as to the second falls above.  Hike through the campground and pick up the green-blazed Wildcat Creek Trail, which follows its namesake creek.  In about 1.5 miles the trail becomes Fall Creek Trail.  Almost immediately after the trail changes, you will have to cross Wildcat Creek.  It's a tricky creek crossing but there are ropes strung up to assist.  Continue on the trail for just over a mile.  After passing the intersection with Tobacco Pouch Trail, the trail goes down into a cove and then heads up.  If you stay on the trail, you'll be able to hear the Third Waterfall just before a creek crossing on Fall Creek.  Don't stay on the trail though.  Get off the trail in the cove and bushwhack along flat ground staying close to the creek and you should reach the falls shortly.  It's a nice waterfall, but there are a lot of downed trees in the way, so you may have to wade or climb on the logs to get a good view.


Fall Creek - Fourth Waterfall:

The Fourth Waterfall on Fall Creek is the last waterfall on Fall Creek in Dawson County.  The waterfall is located in the Wildcat Tract of Dawson Forest.

To visit the falls, follow the same directions as to the second falls above.  Hike through the campground and pick up the green-blazed Wildcat Creek Trail, which follows its namesake creek.  In about 1.5 miles the trail becomes Fall Creek Trail.  Almost immediately after the trail changes, you will have to cross Wildcat Creek.  It's a tricky creek crossing but there are ropes strung up to assist.  Immediately past the creek crossing, a spur trail splits to the right.  Follow this for about a quarter-mile to the waterfall.


Helton Creek Lower Falls:

Helton Creek Lower Falls is a waterfall on its namesake creek in Union County.  The waterfall is located in the Blue Ridge District of Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, head south from Blairsville for GA-11/US-126/US-19 for about 11.5 miles.  Right after Vogel State Park, turn left on Helton Creek Road and drive 2.1 miles.  The road changes from paved to gravel about half way.  There is a small pulloff on the side of the road to park.

From the parking area, follow the easy trail for about 0.1 miles and take the steps down to the base of the lower falls.

Helton Creek Upper Falls:

Helton Creek Upper Falls is a waterfall on its namesake creek in Union County.  The waterfall is located in the Blue Ridge District of Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, follow the directions for the lower falls above.  Continue on just past the lower falls to a large wooden overlook with views of the upper falls.

Hidden Falls:

Hidden Falls is a small waterfall on a tributary to Frogtown Creek in Lumpkin County.  The waterfall is located in the DeSoto Falls Recreation Area of Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, head north from Cleveland on GA-11/US-129 for about 14.5 miles and turn left into the recreation area.  Alternately, from Blairsville, head south on GA-11/US-129/US-19 for about 16.5 miles.  There is a day-use fee for parking, payable at self-serve kiosks in the parking area.

From the parking area, head across the footbridge and turn left on the DeSoto Falls Trail.  Hidden Falls is less than a quarter-mile from the turn, just a little bit downstream of Lower DeSoto Falls.  There's no way to get down to the base of the falls, but you can get a decent view from the trail.

Horsetrough Falls:

Horsetrough Falls is a beautiful 100-foot cascading waterfall in Union County.  The waterfall is located by the Upper Chattahoochee River Campground in Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the waterfall, head north from Helen on GA-17/GA-75.  In 9 miles, turn left on Chattahoochee River Road/FS-44, just before Unicoi Gap.  Follow this gravel forest road for about 5 miles to the Upper Chattahoochee River Campground and proceed to the day-use parking area at the far end of the campground.  In the winter, if the campground is gated, park at the entrance and hike through the campground.  The short Horsetrough Falls trail leads to a viewing platform at the base of the waterfall.

Hurricane Falls:

Hurricane Falls is a nearly 100-foot waterfall on the Tallulah River in Rabun County.  The waterfall is located in Tallulah Gorge State Park and is one of five waterfalls along the river as it flows through the gorge.

To visit the falls, head south for about 11 miles from Clayton on US-441/US-23 to Tallulah Falls.  Turn left on Jane Hurt Yarn Road and proceed into the park.  There is a $5 per vehicle daily fee to access the park and gorge.  The fee is payable at self-serve kiosks located in parking lots throughout the park.

For the best views of Hurricane Falls, you will need to get a permit to hike into the gorge.  Unfortunately, when I visited, they weren't issuing permits.  If you can get a permit, hike down Hurricane Falls Trail into the gorge and get on the Gorge Floor Trail right at the base of the waterfall.  If you can't get a permit or aren't up for a gorge hike, the waterfall can be viewed from the wooden platform at the base of the Hurricane Falls stairs.  The views aren't great here, though because the waterfall is at an awkward angle.  You can also view the top of the falls from the suspension bridge, or a more distant view from Overlook 8.

Joe Creek - First Waterfall:

The First Waterfall on Joe Creek is a small 15-foot or so stairstep cascade.  The waterfall is located in Rabun County in the Lake Rabun Beach Recreation Area in the Chattooga River Ranger District in Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, head south for about 5.5 miles from Clayton on US-441/US23 and turn on Wiley Connector Road.  Almost immediately, turn left on GA-15/Historic 441 and go 1.5 miles.  Turn right on Lake Rabun Road and proceed about 5 miles to the Lake Rabun Beach Recreation Area.  Note that although this road is paved, it is very narrow and winding.  Enter the area 2 of the campground (first one you'll cross) and proceed to loop 2 to the back for the Angel Falls Trailhead.  There is a small day-use fee payable at self-serve kiosks.  If the recreation area is closed, there is a small pull-off on Lake Rabun Road about a half-mile before the turn for area 2.  Look for the Angel Falls Trailhead sign and you can access the trail from here.

The first waterfall on Joe Creek is visible from a foot bridge right at the trailhead.  If you parked on the street, you will come to the footbridge right as you enter the campground.

Joe Creek - Middle Falls

Middle Falls on Joe Creek is another cascading stairstep waterfall in Rabun County.  The waterfall is located in the Lake Rabun Beach Recreation Area in the Chattooga River Ranger District in Chattahoochee National Forest.

Follow the same directions as First Waterfall on Joe Creek above to the trailhead.  From the trailhead hike a little over a half-mile on Angel Falls Trail.  Middle Falls is right above Panther Falls in a particularly steep section of trail.  Luckily, there is some fencing to to keep you safe as you're viewing this waterfall.

L'eau d'Or Falls:

L'eau d'Or (pronounced "Ladore") is a nearly 50-foot triple waterfall on the Tallulah River in Rabun County.  The waterfall is located in Tallulah Gorge State Park and is one of five waterfalls along the river as it flows through the gorge.

To visit the falls, head south for about 11 miles from Clayton on US-441/US-23 to Tallulah Falls.  Turn left on Jane Hurt Yarn Road and proceed into the park.  There is a $5 per vehicle daily fee to access the park and gorge.  The fee is payable at self-serve kiosks located in parking lots throughout the park.

There's no way to view this waterfall up close, but you can get nice views of it from Overlook 2, right at the intersection of the North Rim and Hurricane Falls Trail, right behind the visitor center.

Lower Etowah Falls:

Lower Etowah Falls is a waterfall on the Upper Etowah River in Lumpkin County.  The waterfall is located on the grounds of US Army Ranger Camp Frank D. Merrill.  Although public access to the waterfall is permitted most of the time, one should check at the visitor center to ensure there is no ongoing training that would restrict public access.  There is a lot of training equipment on the grounds, including rappelling walls and rope bridges.  Do not under any circumstances attempt to use or play on any of this equipment.

To visit the falls, head north on GA-60Bus from Dahlonega for about 2 miles and turn left on Camp Wahsega Road.  Drive about 8.5 miles to the ranger camp.  Be sure to stop at the visitor center to ensure access to the falls is permitted.  Turn right on FS-28 (Hightower Church Road) and go a half-mile and pull off near the gated road.

From the trailhead, hike down the trail to the left of the gated road.  In about a quarter-mile, the trail approaches the river and follows it downstream.  Shortly, you should be able to hear the waterfall.  There's no trail down to the falls so you'll have to bushwhack down to the river for a good view of the falls.

Minnehaha Falls:

Minnehaha Falls is a 60-foot cascading waterfall on Falls Branch in Rabun County.  The waterfall is located in the Chattooga River Ranger District in Chattahoochee National Forest near Lake Rabun.

To visit the falls, head south for about 5.5 miles from Clayton on US-441/US23 and turn on Wiley Connector Road.  Almost immediately, turn left on GA-15/Historic 441 and go 1.5 miles.  Turn right on Lake Rabun Road and proceed about 6.3 miles to the Lake Seed Dam.  Cross the lake on a one-lane bridge below the dam and turn left on Bear Gap Road.  Go approximately 1.5 miles and pull-off on the left side of the road.  There's not much to indicate that this is the trailhead, but you should be inside a narrow bend in the road.  Across the gravel road is a forest service trail post 147 and a stair railing with "To Minnehaha" scribbled on it.

From the trailhead, head up the stairs and follow the trail for less than half a mile.  The trail is moderately steep in places, but pretty easy overall as it follows Falls Branch upstream.  There is a nice clearing at the base of the waterfall and some big rocks make a great spot to relax and enjoy the scenery.

Oceana Falls:

Oceana Falls is a waterfall on the Tallulah River in Rabun County.  The waterfall is located in Tallulah Gorge State Park and is one of five waterfalls along the river as it flows through the gorge.

To visit the falls, head south for about 11 miles from Clayton on US-441/US-23 to Tallulah Falls.  Turn left on Jane Hurt Yarn Road and proceed into the park.  There is a $5 per vehicle daily fee to access the park and gorge.  The fee is payable at self-serve kiosks located in parking lots throughout the park.

To view the falls up close, you will need to get a permit to hike into the gorge.  Unfortunately, when I visited, they weren't issuing permits.  If you can get a permit, hike downstream in the gorge from Hurricane Falls and you will pass Oceana Falls.  If you can't get a permit or aren't up for a gorge hike, the waterfall can be viewed from Overlook 1 and Inspiration Point on the North Rim Trail.

Panther Creek Falls:

Panther Creek Falls is a massive 75-foot waterfall in Habersham County.  The waterfall is located in the Panther Creek Recreation Area in the Chattooga River District of Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, head north from Clarkesville on GA-385 for about 5.5 miles.  Turn left onto US-441/US-23/GA-15 North and go 3.5 miles.  Turn left onto Travis Smith Road and then turn right onto US-441 Historical North.  In 0.8 miles, turn left into Panther Creek Recreation Area.

The Panther Creek trail starts off across the street and heads under the highway.  Follow the trail for around 3.3 miles to the waterfall.  Although most of the trail is pretty easy, the last mile is challenging.  The trail becomes extremely narrow and steep, running along a rocky bluff over the creek.  The Forest Service has put up some fencing in some places to assist, but it's still pretty treacherous in places.  At the end, there is a very difficult climb down over steep rocks to a clearing at the base of the falls with great views of this spectacular waterfall.

Panther Creek - First Waterfall:

The First Waterfall on Panther Creek is a cascade followed by a water-slide in Habersham County.  The waterfall is located in the Panther Creek Recreation Area in the Chattooga River District of Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, follow the directions for Panther Creek Falls above.  From the recreation area parking lot, hike less than a mile on Panther Creek Trail and there will be a split.  Go left following the blue blazes and you will see the waterfall down along the creek to the right.  You will have to bushwhack down a bit to the creek for a good view.  The blue-blazed spur trail leads back to Panther Creek Trail shortly after the waterfall.

Panther Creek - Second Waterfall:

The Second Waterfall on Panther Creek is a set of high shoals in Habersham County.  The waterfall is located in the Panther Creek Recreation Area in the Chattooga River District of Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, follow the directions to Panther Creek Falls above.  From the recreation parking lot, hike just over 2 miles along Panther Creek Trail to the waterfall.  It's right along the trail and impossible to miss.  The Forest Service warns not to mistake these shoals for the real Panther Creek Falls.

Panther Creek - Third Waterfall:

The Third Waterfall on Panther Creek is a short free-fall right above Panther Creek Falls in Habersham County.  The waterfall is located in the Panther Creek Recreation Area in the Chattooga River District of Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, follow the directions to Panther Creek Falls above.  From the recreation parking lot, hike about 3.3 miles on the Panther Creek Trail.  There are a bunch of boulders to climb out at the top of Panther Creek Falls, before climbing down to the base.  The Third Waterfall is visible from here.

Panther Falls:

Panther Falls is a 50-foot cascading waterfall on Joe Creek in Rabun County.  The waterfall is located in the Lake Rabun Beach Recreation Area in the Chattooga River District in Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, head south for about 5.5 miles from Clayton on US-441/US23 and turn on Wiley Connector Road.  Almost immediately, turn left on GA-15/Historic 441 and go 1.5 miles.  Turn right on Lake Rabun Road and proceed about 5 miles to the Lake Rabun Beach Recreation Area.  Note that although this road is paved, it is very narrow and winding.  Enter the area 2 of the campground (first one you'll cross) and proceed to loop 2 to the back for the Angel Falls Trailhead.  There is a small day-use fee payable at self-serve kiosks.  If the recreation area is closed, there is a small pull-off on Lake Rabun Road about a half-mile before the turn for area 2.  Look for the Angel Falls Trailhead sign and you can access the trail from here.

Panther Falls is about a half-mile up the Angel Falls Trail from the trailhead in the campground.  You'll pass several other cascades along Joe Creek hiking up the trail.

Raven Cliff Falls

Raven Cliff Falls is a beautiful 100-foot drop located in a narrow chasm in a cliff in White County.  This is one of the most unique waterfalls that I've ever visited.  The waterfall is located in the Raven Cliff Wilderness in Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, head north out of Helen on GA-75 and turn left onto GA-75 Alt north.  In 2.3 miles, turn right on GA-348 W (Richard B. Russel Scenic Highway).  Go about 2.7 miles and turn left into the Raven Cliffs Wilderness area and park.

From the parking area, follow the Raven Cliffs Trail for about 2.5 miles to the end at Raven Cliffs.  The trail is mostly easy, following Dodd Creek, up to the waterfall and only gets steep towards the end as you approach the cliffs.

Rocky Ford Creek - First Waterfall

The First Waterfall on Rocky Ford Creek is a small waterslide in Dawson County.  The waterfall is located in the Wildcat Tract of Dawson Forest.

To visit the falls, head west from Dawsonville on GA-136 for about 11 miles and turn left on Steve Tate Highway.  Go 2 miles and turn right onto Wildcat Campground Road and follow this gravel road just under a mile to the campground at the end.

Hike through the campground and pick up the green-blazed Wildcat Creek Trail, which follows its namesake creek.  In a little bit over a mile, there is a footbridge across Wildcat Creek to pick up the Turner Trail.  Follow Turner Trail for about a quarter-mile and turn left on Rocky Ford Trail.  Hike up about a half-mile to the intersection with Windy Ridge Trail.  At this point, you should be able to hear the waterfall.  There's no real trail, but you can bushwhack down to the creek from this point to see the waterfall.

Rocky Ford Creek - Second Waterfall

The Second Waterfall on Rocky Ford Creek is a 70-foot sluice in Dawson County.  The waterfall is located in the Wildcat Tract of Dawson Forest.

Follow the same directions as the First Waterfall on Rocky Ford Creek.  The second waterfall is just downstream of the first and a lot bigger.

Tempesta Falls

Tempesta Falls is a 75-foot waterfall on the Tallulah River in Rabun County.  The waterfall is located in Tallulah Gorge State Park and is one of five waterfalls along the river as it flows through the gorge.

To visit the falls, head south for about 11 miles from Clayton on US-441/US-23 to Tallulah Falls.  Turn left on Jane Hurt Yarn Road and proceed into the park.  There is a $5 per vehicle daily fee to access the park and gorge.  The fee is payable at self-serve kiosks located in parking lots throughout the park.

There's no way to view the falls up close, but you can see the falls from two overlooks along the South Rim Trail.  From Overlook 6 you can see the top of the falls or for a better view, hike to Overlook 7.  The picture below is a shot from this overlook.

Toccoa Falls

Toccoa Falls is a 186-foot freefall waterfall on Toccoa Creek in Stephens County.  The waterfall is located on the campus of Toccoa Falls College.

To visit the falls, head north out of Toccoa on GA-75 Alt for about a mile.  Turn left onto Kincaid Drive to enter the Toccoa Falls campus and continue for a little less than a mile to the parking lot for the gift store.  Signs along the campus roads direct visitors to the waterfall.

Access to the falls is through the gift shop and a nominal $2 fee is charged.  Follow the paved walkway behind the gift shop to the spectacular waterfall.  Toccoa is the Cherokee word for "beautiful", an appropriate description.  Despite the beauty, however, this waterfall was the scene of a horrific disaster.  In 1977, the dam on Kelly Barnes Lake burst and a flood of water surged over the waterfall and through the campus, killing 39 people.  A sign at the falls commemorates those lost lives.  On a brighter note, when we visited the falls, the lighting was just perfect to create a beautiful rainbow at the base of the waterfall.



Upper Chattahoochee Falls:

Upper Chattahoochee Falls is a narrow sluice waterfall on the headwaters of Chattahoochee River.  The waterfall is located near the Upper Chattahoochee River Campground in Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the waterfall, head north from Helen on GA-17/GA-75.  In 9 miles, turn left on Chattahoochee River Road/FS-44, just before Unicoi Gap.  Follow this gravel forest road for about 5 miles to the Upper Chattahoochee River Campground and proceed to the day-use parking area at the far end of the campground.  In the winter, if the campground is gated, park at the entrance and hike through the campground. 

From the parking area, hike past Horsetrough Falls upstream along Chattahoochee River.  There's no official trail, but the path is easy to follow.  In a quarter-mile or so, you will see the narrow waterfall along the river.  It's hard to believe that the mighty Chattahoochee River starts out so narrow.  The paths to get down to river level are quite steep and we couldn't make it down when we visited as the rain had made the path treacherous, but you can get a decent view from the trail.

Upper East Fork of Jones Creek - First Waterfall

The First Waterfall on Upper East Fork of Jones Creek is a small waterslide located in Lumpkin County.  The waterfall is located in the Blue Ridge Ranger District of Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, go west from Dahlonega on US-52 for about 11 miles and turn right on Nimblewill Church Road. Go 1.3 and turn left on FS-28-1 right after the church.  Go about 2 miles and bear left to get on FS-77 (Winding Stair Gap Road.  In 1.2 miles, turn left on FS-77A (Jones Creek Road) and go 0.4 miles and pull off on the side of the road.  GPS coordinates of the pulloff are 34.60301, -84.13498.

There's no trail to the waterfall, but its only about 0.1 miles from the road.  Follow the creek downstream from the road along the east side (closest to Winding Stair Gap Road) and the waterfall will be visible shortly.

Upper East Fork of Jones Creek - Second Waterfall

The Second Waterfall on Upper East Fork of Jones Creek is a tiered waterfall in Lumpkin County.  The waterfall is located in the Blue Ridge Ranger District of Chattahoochee National Forest.

Follow the same directions as the First Waterfall on Upper East Fork of Jones Creek.  The second waterfall is just downstream of the first.

Upper East Fork of Jones Creek - Third Waterfall

The Third Waterfall on Upper East Fork of Jones Creek is a double cascade waterfall in Lumpkin County.  The waterfall is located in the Blue Ridge Ranger District of Chattahoochee National Forest.

Follow the same directions as the First Waterfall on Upper East Fork of Jones Creek.  The third waterfall is just downstream of the second.  The total distance from the road to the third waterfall is less than a quarter-mile, so hitting all three is a short hike, although it requires a bit of bushwhacking.

Upper Spoilcane Creek Falls:

Upper Spoilcane Creek Falls is roadside waterfall in White County.  The waterfall is located in the Chattoga River District of Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the waterfall, head north from Helen on GA-17/GA-75.  In 9 miles, turn left on Chattahoochee River Road/FS-44, just before Unicoi Gap.  The waterfall is right along the side of the road a quarter-mile from the turn.

Wilks Creek Lower Falls:

Wilks Creek Lower Falls is a waterfall on Wilks Creek in White County. The waterfall is located in the Chattooga River District of Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the waterfall, head north from Helen on GA-17/GA-75.  In about 9 miles, turn left on Chattahoochee River Road/FS-44, just before Unicoi Gap.  Go about 2.5 miles on the forest road and pull off on the side of the road.  You should be able to hear the waterfalls from here.  There's no trail so you'll have to bushwhack a bit down to the creek to see this waterfall.

Wilks Creek Upper Falls:

Wilks Creek Upper Falls is another waterfall on Wilks Creek in White County.  The waterfall is located in the Chattooga River District of Chattahoochee National Forest.

To visit the falls, follow the directions for the lower falls above.  Head upstream along the creek to find the upper waterfall.

Blog Entries:

22-29Mar2014: North Georgia Waterfall Week

External Links:

GA State Parks website for Amicalola Falls State Park: http://gastateparks.org/AmicalolaFalls

GA State Parks website for Tallulah Gorge State Park: http://gastateparks.org/info/tallulah/

Mountain Stewards website for Dawson Forest: http://www.mountainstewards.org/

Toccoa Falls College website: http://www.tfc.edu/about-tfc/toccoa-falls

US Forest Service website for Angel Falls Trail: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/conf/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=10507&actid=50

US Forest Service website for Anna Ruby Falls Recreation Area: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/conf/recarea/?recid=10517

US Forest Service website for DeSoto Falls Recreation Area: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/conf/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=10524&actid=50

US Forest Service website for Dukes Creek Falls Recreation Area: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/conf/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=10509&actid=50

US Forest Service website for Helton Creek Falls: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/conf/recarea/?recid=10546

US Forest Service website for Panther Creek Recreation Area: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/conf/recarea/?recid=10514

US Forest Service website for Raven Cliffs Trailhead: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/conf/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=10515&actid=50

US Forest Service website for Upper Chattahoochee River Campground: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/conf/recarea/?recid=10501

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