Southern Hiker.com

Tag: Georgia Waterfall

Waterfalls Trails

by JP on Apr.23, 2009, under Georgia Hiking Trails

Cloudland Canyon State Park, Rising Fawn, Georgia

Cloudland Canyon 153

Difficulty: Strenuous

Length: 0.4 miles one way

One of the most popular hikes in Cloudland Canyon State Park is likely also the most strenuous. The waterfalls trail travels deep into the bottom of Cloudland Canyon and gives hikers the option to travel to two tall waterfalls dropping 60 and 90 feet.

Hikers get to these falls via a series of staircases straight down into the canyon. Be aware that hiking down to these falls is very easy, it’s the coming back out that gets difficult, regardless of the short distance. If not in at least moderate shape, I suggest avoiding these falls (especially the second falls). If you decide to try the climbs, please do your self a favor and give plenty of time to rest along the walking platforms stationed between the staircases.


Cloudland Canyon 129

Now that you’ve been warned, and decided to continue anyway, you may as well know where to start.

The entrance to these trails begins next to the parking areas by the canyon overlooks. Travel along the rim of the canyon back towards the park entrance. You will quickly pass by a series of cabins that can be rented in the park. Past these cabins, the trail will begin to descend down several series of metal stairs.

Cloudland Canyon 229

In case you are counting, there are 179 stairs before you reach the intersection of the waterfalls. This is where you must decide which falls to see first. I suggest going with the upper falls first, it is ultimately the shorter trail, and if you find you are too tired after coming up from it, then you have saved yourself a much more painful trip up the longer, lower second water fall.

Just before you reach the waterfalls intersection you will see this nice little resting spot under a huge rock. You may be thinking, who needs to rest this is easy, but you’ll love this bench on the return trip.

Cloudland Canyon 137 Cloudland Canyon 138

Cloudland Canyon 143

Upper Waterfall

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The First Waterfall is a short 0.1 miles from the falls intersection. The stair case down provides several views of Daniels Creek, and the boulders that sit along its banks. From the bottom of the staircase, visitors can cross the rocks and walk right up to the edge of the pool at the base of the falls. Several signs indicate that wading and swimming in the pool is illegal, and never try to get close to a falls of this size as unseen undertows can cause drownings.

Cloudland Canyon 150 Stitch

Cloudland Canyon 155

Once enjoying the view, get ready for the first hike up the stairs. Once at the top, turn left if you want to see the taller of the two falls.

Lower Falls

The lower water fall is located 0.3 miles from the intersection. That’s 379 stairs, but whose counting? This trail hugs the canyon wall for some time before beginning to quickly descend to the falls. Watch out for the mud along the trail, the moisture on this part of the trail rarely dries out.

Cloudland Canyon 172

Cloudland Canyon 173

The stair cases on this trail provide several great views of the canyon from as close to the bottom as a view can be gotten.

Cloudland Canyon 180

Cloudland Canyon 184

Cloudland Canyon 186

Take advantage of the platforms going down and take in the canyon in its entirety. As you continue down the long trail, the base of the canyon appears in sight. Additionally, there is a new walkway that crosses Daniels Creek, latter becoming Sitton Gulch Creek and intersects with Sitton Gulch Trail, a newer trail in Cloudland Canyon  that is a 6.5 mile loop.

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Once you reach the bottom, the trail requires just a little bit farther walk along the ridge of Cloudland Canyon.

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Hikers will finally reach the platform for viewing the falls. The Lower falls differs from the upper falls in that hikers cannot approach the pool below the falls.

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After viewing the falls, be sure to stop and take a look at canyon from its base one last time. If not, you may not remember its beauty after the long hike.

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Look up from the stairs, take a deep breath, and take your time climbing back up. After the first 400, take a long break under that big rock I mentioned earlier, and take solace in knowing that there are less than 200 steps back to your vehicle.

Cloudland Canyon 227

When you get to the top, enjoy the view of all that you have hiked from the overlooks again.

Cloudland Canyon 230

Fees

$3.00 Per Vehicle

Nearby Trails

Sitton Gulch Trail -6.5 mile loop

West Rim Loop Trail – 4.8 miles

Backcountry Loop Trail – 2.0 mile

Nearby Disc Golf

Cloudland Canyon Disc Golf Course

Directions:

From Trenton, GA:

1. Take GA -136 east for 8 miles. Entrance will be on the left.

2. From LaFayette, GA take GA-136 18 miles. Entrance on the right.

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Amicalola Falls – Base of Falls Trail

by JP on Dec.29, 2008, under Georgia Hiking Trails

Amicalola Falls

Distance: 1.0 Miles (one way)

Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous

The Visitor’s Center to Amicalola Falls State Park is a great place to begin the approach to Georgia’s highest waterfall. While it is possible to drive very close to the falls and hike to the falls along the very short West Ridge Falls Access, hiking from the Visitor’s Center provides a more challenging hike, wonderful views of the entire state park and Little Amicalola Creek, and is the true beginning to the Appalachian Approach Trail to Springer Mountain.

To begin the trail, enter the Visitor’s Center (be sure to check out the live Georgia snake exhibit) and exit through the rear door of the center. Grab a map of the park on the way out too. After exiting, the hiker will immediately notice a large stone archway, and signs indicating the direction of Springer Mountain, Mount Katahdin, Maine, and the Amicalola Lodge.

Amicalola Falls - Appalachian Approach Amicalola Falls Appalachian Trail

The signs indicating the direction of the Base of Falls Trail is somewhat confusing. To begin the trail, do not go up the wooden steps, take an immediate left before the sign and the steps. Follow the blue blazes up the trail.

Amicalola Falls Amicalola Falls

Amicalola Falls

The Base of Falls Trail leads parallel to the Park Entrance road, beside several picnic shelters, and an amphitheater. The trail then crosses over a wooden walkway before crossing the road.

Amicalola Falls Amicalola Falls Amicalola Falls

After crossing the road, the trail then runs alongside Little Amicalola Creek.

Amicalola Falls Amicalola Falls Amicalola Falls

Amicalola Creek

Amicalola Creek

Continue along the trail to the left of the picnic shelter, over the creek, and around the ridge of the parking lot.

Amicalola Creek Amicalola Creek Amicalola Creek

Amicalola Falls IMG_1603 IMG_1607

You will arrive at the base of the Waterfall Trail which contains a beautiful reflection pool filled by Amicalola Creek, and surrounded by several informative signs about the wildlife in the area.

Amicalola

After enjoying the reflection pond, cross over the bridge and Amicalola Creek. From here, the real climb to the falls starts, and so do the best views. From here, the pathway is made up of a rough mixture of concrete, which provides great traction along a path that can be very slick with moisture.

Amicalola Falls Amicalola Amicalola Falls

Amicalola Amicalola Amicalola

Amicalola

IMG_1653

Amicalola Falls

Be aware, prior to reaching the falls there are two somewhat steep switchbacks. At the top of the first, a potentially wonderful view of the valley opens up. Unfortunately, on my last hike, there was a heavy fog, and the view is less than outstanding (although still enjoyable).

Amicalola Falls Amicalola Amicalola

Finally,  you reach the first observation deck, the Lower Observation Platform. From here, there is a beautiful first view of the falls.

Amicalola Falls

Amicalola Falls

Amicalola Falls

Amicalola Falls

Amicalola Falls

The views of the tallest drop of Amicalola falls, however, only gets better after you accept the “challenge” of the “175 Steps.”

Amicalola Falls Amicalola Falls

Up, up, and Up the stairs, and then finally, the Falls Overlook.

IMG_1719 Amicalola Falls Amicalola Falls

Amicalola Falls

Amicalola Falls

Don’t forget to turnaround and see the view of your hike.

Amicalola Falls

This marks the end of the Base of Falls Trail. For a different route back, I suggest the West Ridge Trail to the parking area, then crossing over the parking area to the Spring Trail. The Spring Trail will intersect with Creek Trail and Mt. Laurel Loop. Follow these trails back to the Visitor’s Center.

Nearby Trail

East Ridge Trail – 1.0 Miles

Creek Trail – 0.6 Miles

Spring Trail – 0.4 Miles

Mt. Laurel Loop - 1.0 Miles

Appalachian Approach Trail – 8.5 Miles

Hike Inn Trail – 5 miles

West Ridge Falls Access Trail - 0.3 Miles

Directions from Ellijay:

Follow GA-52 approximately 21 miles to Amicalola Falls State Park.

Directions from Dawsonville:

Take Hwy. 53 west to Hwy. 183 north to Hwy. 52 east.

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