Lake Hartwell...


Great Lake of the South 

Waterfalls of Northeast Georgia
Information provided complements of Cheryl Smith negarep@mindspring.com

 Waterfalls are the "Gemstones of the East."  Each one is faceted differently.  Some have beauty that is big and bold, while others have delicate and subtle characteristics.  Common natural occurrences, such as rock, wood and water attain their highest form when they come together as a waterfall.  People who can't agree on anything else seem to always agree on the beauty of a waterfall.  Only a few waterfalls are visible from the road or parking lots.  But most waterfalls can be easily reached, requiring varying lengths of walks or hikes.  No matter how little or how much you do, hiking is good therapy for the pressures of modern life.  So, get out there, stretch those legs, breath some fresh air, and enjoy these natural wonders that lighten the heart and stir the soul!

BLAIRSVILLE-CLEVELAND AREA
CLARKESVILLE-CORNELIA AREA
CLAYTON AREA
DAWSONVILLE-DAHLONEGA AREA
HELEN-HIAWASSEE AREA
TOCCOA AREA

 

BLAIRSVILLE-CLEVELAND AREA

 DeSoto Falls  (Chestatee Ranger District)

     There are five beautiful waterfalls along the three- mile section of the DeSoto Falls Trail located in the 650-acre recreation area.  Three of these falls are maintained for the hiker's viewing convenience and are designated as the lower, middle, and upper DeSoto Falls.  The lower falls cascade 20 feet.  The middle, and most scenic falls, drop 80 feet. Water at the upper falls surges down a granite rock incline for almost 200 feet and may be viewed from the flat, granite formation which overlooks the falls.
     Those who cannot hike the trail because of time or physical limitations can enjoy a beautiful view from U.S. 129, which borders this scenic area for a considerable distance.  At one point along the highway, the main waterfalls (upper & lower) can be seen.
     DeSoto Falls got their name from a legend that tells of a piece of armor found near the falls.  It was decided that the armor belonged to Hernando DeSoto or one of his fellow explorers. 
Directions: From Cleveland, take U.S. 129 north 15 miles to DeSoto Falls Recreation Area.

 

Falls on Waters Creek & Blood Mountain Falls

     This beautiful waterfall is located on Blood Mountain Stream.  The stream flows almost 20 feet through a rock cut, creating a churning sluice of water. 
Directions
:  From U.S. 19/129 (Turner's Corner) go west on U.S. 19 for approximately .5 mile to Water's Creek Recreation Area.  Turn right and in 1.2 miles pass a roadside waterfall on the right.  Drive another 1.6 miles to the second and more scenic waterfall.  Park in the lot provided on the right.  Across the road is a clearly defined path to the viewing area.  From the second waterfall, continue up F.S. Road 34 for another .7 of a mile to an old logging road on the right before F.S. Road fords Crow Mountain Creek.  Park here.  The route to the falls (approximately .8 mile in length) treads the logging road. 

 

Helton Creek Falls (Brasstown Ranger District)

     Helton Creek Falls Trail (.3 mile in length) follows Helton Creek to two waterfalls.  The trail accesses the lower falls at both the bottom and top of the falls and ends at the bottom of the upper falls. The total vertical drop is more than 100 feet.  The rocks are deceptively slippery around these falls.  Exercise caution. 
Directions
: From Blairsville, take US 129 south for 11 miles.  Turn left on the first gravel road past the entrance to Vogel State Park. Go 2.2 miles to a small pullout parking area.  Trailhead will be on the right.

 

CLARKESVILLE-CORNELIA AREA

 Panther Creek Falls  (Chattooga Ranger District)

     Panther Creek Falls Trail (5.5 miles in length) follows Panther Creek through stands of hemlock and white pine along steep, rocky bluffs of the creek.  The trail passes a series of cascades, as well as, Panther Creek Falls.  It terminates where Davidson Creek joins Panther Creek.  The trail is noted for its beautiful variety of wildflowers and ferns.  The stream offers excellent opportunities for trout fishermen. Hikers with heavy packs should be cautious of rocky overhangs.  Directions: From Clarkesville, take U.S. 23/441 north for 10 miles to the Panther Creek Recreation Area. The western end of the trail begins across the highway from the recreation area.  The eastern end of the trail can be reached by driving west on Yonah Dam Road.

 

CLAYTON AREA

 Angel-Panther Falls

     The trail parallels the west side of Joe Branch.  You will come to Panther Falls after hiking .6 of a mile.  To reach Angel Falls, hike another .3 mile.
Directions
: From Clayton, take U.S. 441/23 south for 7 miles.  Turn right on unnumbered county road for .1 mile, then turn left on GA Hwy 15 for two miles.  Turn right on County Road 10 for five miles. Enter Rabun Beach Campground #2 entrance, go .2 mile to parking area on right.  Trailhead is 80 feet to the north.

 

Becky Branch Falls (Tallulah Ranger District)

     This 20-foot cascade is located just five minutes from downtown Clayton and is easily accessible.
Directions
:  From Clayton, drive east on Warwoman Road for 2.8 miles and park on left side of road by branch.  Walk up the right side of branch on the trail for about 200 yards to a bridge at base of falls.

 

Dick's Creek Falls (Tallulah Ranger District)

     This waterfall is approximately 60 feet high and makes a sheer drop over a granite mound into the Chattooga River.
Directions:  From Clayton, drive six miles east on Warwoman Road.  Turn right onto Dick's Creek Road or Sand Ford Road.  Go .5 mile and take left across the creek.  Go 3.5 miles.  Cross second ford and park at Bartram Trail sign.  Follow trail north to Dick's Creek.  Follow creek to viewing area at top of falls. 

 

Holcomb Creek Falls (Tallulah Ranger District)

     The Holcomb Creek Trail (1.3 miles in length) begins at the intersection of Hale Ridge Road (F.S. Road 7) and Overflow Road (F.S. Road 86) and follows a short loop to its end on Hale Ridge Road.  The trail passes Holcomb Creek Falls (which drops and flows overs shoals for approximately 150 feet) & Ammons Creek Falls where there is an observation deck.  Directions:  Take Warwoman Road east from Clayton for 10 miles.  Turn left on F.S. Road 7 (Hale Ridge Road) and drive 9 miles.  Park to the east side of intersection with Overflow Creek Road (F.S. 86).

 

Martin Creek Falls

     This two-tier waterfall is 35 feet high with aquatic plants covering the weeping rock wall on the left.  This 20-minute walk (.5 mile in length) follows the Bartram Trail along the west side of the creek. 
Directions
: From Clayton, go east on Warwoman Road for three miles.  Turn left onto F.S. Road 152 and drive pass the Game Checking Station.  Park Drive .5 of a mile.  Park in small cleared camping area on the left at a sharp left bend in the road.  Walk west from the camping area.  Cross Martin Creek, then travel uphill for about .4 mile to the top of the falls.

 

Minnehaha Falls (Tallulah Ranger District)

     The Minnehaha Trail (.4 mile in length) follows Fall Branch until it dead ends at Minnehaha Falls.  This waterfall is approximately 100 feet high (falling and shoaling). 
Directions
: Take U.S. 23/441 north from Tallulah Falls for three miles to the Rabun Beach Recreation Area sign.  Turn left onto Old 441.  Go 2.5 miles and take left on Lake Rabun Road.  Go one mile past Recreation Area.  Take left on Low Gap Road (@ Flat Creek Community sign).  Follow Bear Gap road, which forks to the left.  go 1.5 miles to sign marking the trail on the right side of the road.

 

Mud Creek Falls

     Also known as "Little Estatoah", the falls have a vertical drop of 100 feet and flow into Estatoah Falls in Dillard.
Directions:  Take US Highway 441 north to Dillard.  Turn right on GA Highway 246 and follow signs to Sky Valley.  At Sky Valley's entrance gate, turn left.  Turn right on Tahoe Road and follow to the falls.

 

DAWSONVILLE-DAHLONEGA AREA 

Amicalola Falls

     Amicalola is a Cherokee word meaning "tumbling waters."  Located within Amicalola Falls State Park, these beautiful falls slide and plunge 729 feet in seven cascades, making it the highest waterfall in Georgia.  A parking area leads to an observation deck, which actually crosses the top of the falls.  At the base of the falls where there is a parking-area, a reflection pool and a .3-mile paved trail leading to the top of the falls. 
Directions
: The parks entrance is on GA 52, west of Dahlonega and east of Ellijay.

 

HELEN-HIAWASSEE AREA

Anna Ruby Falls (Chattooga Ranger District)

     Two creeks, Curtis and York, climax their run down the steep slopes of Tray Mountain in twin waterfalls.  Curtis Creek falls 153 feet and York Creek drops 50 feet.  The two waterfalls jointly are called Anna Ruby Falls., named after the only daughter of James H. "Captain" Nichols, retired Colonel of the Civil War who settled in the Nacoochee Valley in 1870.
     The Anna Ruby Falls Trail (.4 mile in length) is paved, but relatively steep.  Benches are located along the trail for those who want to sit and rest or just enjoy the scenic beauty of the area.  At the base of the falls, an observation deck offers a beautiful view of the twin falls. 
Directions
: Take GA 75 north from Helen for one mile.  Turn right on GA 356 for 1.5 miles; then go left on the entrance road to the falls. (This is a fee area, but there are bathrooms, a visitor center, a nature trail for the blind, and gift shop.)

 

Dukes Creek Falls (Chattooga Ranger District)

     The Dukes Creek Trail (.8 mile in length) winds its way into Dukes Creek Gorge where it deadends across from the 300-foot Dukes Creek Falls.  The area offers scenic beauty and excellent gold panning opportunities.      
Directions
: Take GA 75 north from Helen for 1.5 miles.  Turn left on GA 356 (75 Alternate) and go 2.3 miles to the Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway.  Turn right and go two miles to the Dukes Creek Falls Recreation Area.

 

High Shoals Falls (Brasstown Ranger District)

     A succession of five waterfalls grace this 170- acre scenic area.  These falls have an estimated total vertical drop of 300 feet.  The High Shoals Trail (1.2 miles in length) follows along High Shoals Creek to observation decks beside two of the five streams cascading in the High Shoals Scenic Area.  Please stay on the trails and observation decks. 
Directions
: Take GA 75 north from Helen for 11.4 miles.  Turn right on F.S. Road 283 at the High Shoals sign.  Go 1.5 miles on this road to the High Shoals Scenic Area.

 

Horse Trough Falls (Chattooga Ranger District)

     The Horse Trough Falls Trail (.4 mile in length), which leads to the beautiful Horse Trough Falls, is an excellent trail for novice hikers. 
Directions
: Take GA 75 north from Helen for eight miles to Unicoi Gap.  Turn left onto F.S. Road 44 (Wilkes Creek Road).  Go 5.4 miles to a sharp curve and take the right fork.  Go 0.2 mile, ford the stream and follow colored blazes on trees.

 

Mill Creek Falls

     The waterfall on Ground Hog Branch drops about 150 feet where it combines with the main Mill Creek.  The combined streams plunge another estimated 150 feet, ending in a series of rapids, which cascade down the Mill Creek Gorge.
Directions: From Hiawassee, take U.S. 76 east.  Turn right on GA Hwy. 75 then travel 3.5 miles.  Turn left on Mill Creek Road (F.S. Road 26) for 2.5 miles.  The road crosses Mill Creek 1.5 miles from the pavement.  Park at the camping area on the right and the pullouts on the left and right sides of the road. Hike through the primitive camping area and follow the west side of Mill Creek downstream. 

 

Raven Cliff Falls (Chattooga Ranger District)

     This waterfall is perhaps one of the most unusual in the North Georgia area because the water flows through a split in the face of a solid rock outcropping to the ground 100 feet below.  Behind the split, the water drops approximately 60 feet and then rushes through the rock face and drops 20 feet into a deep pool.  The water then cascades 20 more feet to Dodd Creek.  Three other waterfalls may be found on Dodd Creek.  The largest is located downstream from Raven Cliff Falls and measures 70 feet.
     The area offers excellent opportunities for day hiking.  However, there are no facilities of any type provided, and visitors are encouraged to exercise extreme caution in this undeveloped area. 
Directions
: Take GA 75 N from Helen for 1.5 miles.  Turn left on GA 356 (75 Alternate) and travel 2.3 miles to the Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway.  Turn right and travel 2.8 miles to the trailhead and parking area.

 

TOCCOA AREA

 Toccoa Falls

     On the campus of Toccoa Falls College sits 186- foot high Toccoa Falls, 26 feet higher than Niagara Falls.  From the gift shop and parking area, it is just a short walk along the stream to the base of the falls. A monument reminds visitors of the tragic loss of lives when the earthen dam broke back in the 1970s.  The Gate Cottage Restaurant, above the gift shop, has a wonderful buffet on Sundays. 
Directions
: From Toccoa, take GA Alternate 17 for about one mile.  It will be on the left.

 

WARNING: The North Georgia Mountains and Chattahoochee National Forest abound with beautiful waterfalls, but the enticing beauty of these falls has killed or seriously injured many people.  DO NOT try to climb the rocks around waterfalls.  They are covered with lichens and mosses that are slippery and can make you lose your grip.  Observation decks have been built at many of the most popular waterfalls - use them.  They offer the best vantage point for viewing or picture taking.  Many waterfalls are posted with warning signs.  Please heed them for your safety.

 

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