Ira was the one who introduced to me hiking. We met in one of my college philosophy classes, and we instantly clicked. People who saw us together must have indeed thought that we were an odd couple — he was about 60 years old with a white beard and a bald spot smack dab in the middle of his head. I, on the other hand, was about 20 years old at the time with a curly fro and a pretty bad attitude. But we had common interests: Kierkegaard, kind bud, and cold ones. Thus, we connected.
Ira always said that he “sniffed out” hiking trails, and he preferred those with “trees, rocks, and rushing water.” His preference grew to be mine as well. And although Ira and I don’t talk as often as we used to, he continues to influence and impact me. As I did with my bald-headed, bud-loving buddy, my husband and I sniff out trails with trees, rocks, and rushing water. But our thing is waterfalls. We can’t get enough of them. Trickling. Cascading. Small. Big. Whatever. If it’s a waterfall, we want to see it. So, in the spirit of rushing water, I decided to put together this list of hiking trails with waterfalls in Georgia.
Amicalola Falls Trail – 2.1 miles round trip
This trail gets a lot of visitors, but you should expect that since Amicalola Falls is the tallest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River.
You can see the top of the falls from the overlook in the parking lot, but if you want to get a better view, you’ll have to go down about 624 steps to a bridge mid-falls.
Address: 418 Amicalola Falls State Park Road, Dawsonville, GA 30534
Directions: Follow I-75 N to US-19 N to Martin Road. Take GA-9 N and GA-52 W to Amicalola Falls State Park Road
Cloudland Canyon Waterfall Trails – 2 miles round trip
Hike to two gorgeous waterfalls in Rising Fawn, Georgia — Cherokee Falls and Hemlock Falls. You’ll have to descend some 600 stairs to access the falls, but it’s well worth it.
The trail forks off in two directions, and the falls are on either side — Cherokee to the left and Hemlock to the right.
Address: 122 Cloudland Canyon Park Road, Rising Fawn, GA 30738
Directions: Follow I-75 N until exit 306. Follow GA-140 W, US-27 N, and GA-136 W to Cloudland Canyon Park Road.
Tallulah Gorge Hurricane Falls Trail – 2.25 miles round trip
In my opinion, Tallulah Gorge is one of the most spectacular hiking destinations in Georgia. The scenic Hurricane Falls trail skirts the gorge rim, crosses a suspension bridge, and descends to the gorge floor.
Address: 338 Jane Hurt Yarn Road, Tallulah Falls, GA 30573
Directions: Follow I-85 N and I-985 N to US-23 N. Follow US-23 N to Jane Hurt Yarn Road
Raven Cliff Falls – 4.9 miles round trip
Meander through a waterfall-filled valley to one of North Georgia’s most popular and stunning waterfalls.
Raven Cliff Falls cascades through a 40-foot tall, towering cliff, slicing the rock outcrop in half. The trail leading to the falls winds through fields of wildflowers and majestic hardwoods.
Address: 3000 Richard B Russell Scenic Highway, Helen, GA 30545
Directions: Take I-85 N and US-19 N to GA-115. Continue on GA-115 to GA-75 Alt S to GA-348 W.
Anna Ruby Falls – 0.9 miles round trip
Anna Ruby Falls is a pair of waterfalls, cascading through dense North Georgia forests. Their proximity to Alpine Helen and Unicoi State Park make Anna Ruby Falls a somewhat touristy site yet stunning nonetheless. The 0.45-mile trail to the falls is paved, making it perfect for families, strollers, and wheelchairs.
Address: 3455 Anna Ruby Falls Road, Helen, GA 30545
Directions: Take I-285 N toward Atlanta Bypass / International. Merge onto US-19 N / GA-400 N. Continue on GA-115. In 4.7 miles, turn right onto Dahlonega Highway. Take a left onto Wilford Ash, Sr. Parkway in 12.4 miles. In 10 miles, turn right onto Highway 356. Continue straight onto Anna Ruby Falls Road, and then turn left to remain on Anna Ruby Falls Road.
Horse Trough Falls – 0.5 miles round trip
This gem is kind of slept on because its a little tricky to find. The falls are toward the back of the campground deep inside the Chattahoochee Wilderness Area. To access the campground, you’ll have to drive five miles down a one-way, bumpy, and curvacious unpaved mountain road (what fun!). That is an adventure in itself.
At the end of the gravel road, veer right to enter the campground. Once in the campground, follow the signs to the dead end. After crossing the wooden footbridge, turn left to hop onto the trail which leads to falls. It’s about a five-minute walk.
Directions: Take SR-75 N from Helen for eight miles. Turn left onto Forest Service Road 44 (Wilkes Creek Road) after mile marker 15. Follow the gravel road for about five miles. Turn into the campground on the right and make your way to the back of the camping area. A brown sign marks the start of the trail.
Helton Creek Falls – 0.6 miles round trip
Helton Creek Falls cascades in a pair of waterfalls, gliding down in tendrils through a gorgeous hemlock-filled creek valley. The short distance from the parking area to the falls qualifies it as more of a short walk in the woods versus an actual hike.
Address: Longitude -83.8941, Latitude 34.7532
Directions: Take I-75 N to GA-115. Continue on GA-115. Take Long Branch Road and Town Creek Church Road to US-19 N. Follow US-19 N to Helton Creek Road.