The beauty of Georgia’s waterfalls can lure even the not-so-outdoorsy types off the beaten path and into picture-perfect wilds.
Waterfalls dot the landscape throughout North Georgia from Cloudland Canyon in the northwest to Tallulah Gorge in the northeast. Some are easily accessible by following paved paths, and others require more advanced navigation skills. Follow this guide to five spectacular waterfalls in Georgia.
Amicalola, which is Cherokee for “tumbling waters,” boasts seven cascades at Amicalola Falls State Park. At 729 feet, it is the tallest waterfall in the state.
Located in the Northeast Georgia Mountains north of Dawsonville, the park and falls are a perfect family destination for the adventure set. Plan to spend the day hiking the trails near the waterfalls, ranging from short journeys to an eight-mile approach trail that will lead you to Springer Mountain, the southern end of the Appalachian Trail.
When you’re ready to rest, options range from camping, to a more hotel-style mountain-top lodge, to the Hike Inn, Georgia’s only backcountry lodge, reachable by a 5-mile hike.
Anna Ruby Falls
Anna Ruby Falls – formed by Curtis and York creeks – are local favorites in Helen, and one of the most visited waterfalls in North Georgia. Hike the easy-to-moderate half-mile trail from the parking lot to the foot of the falls, and you just might agree. The 0.15-mile Lion’s Eye interpretive trail near the visitor center and craft shop is available for persons with visual and physical disabilities.
The stair-stepping falls of Minnehaha Falls inspire many a photo op, particularly in spring when the surrounding forest puts on a display of blooms. The Minnehaha Trail (0.4 mile) follows Fall Branch until it dead ends at Minnehaha Falls, which is approximately 100 feet high. It’s about a five-minute walk from the parking area on Bear Gap Road.
Tallulah Falls in Tallulah Gorge State Park is a series of six falls cascading through the 1,000-foot-deep Tallulah Gorge. Snap a photo of your view from the suspension bridge swaying 80 feet above the gorge floor.
On most days, water flow over Tallulah Lake’s dam is 35 to 40 cubic feet per second (CFS). During “aesthetic releases,” the flow increases to 200 CFS. On select whitewater weekends in April and November, the flow swells to 500 to 700 CFS, causing waterfalls to thunder through the gorge. Hiking to the gorge bottom is not allowed on those dates, but visitors can enjoy the view from the rim.
An easily accessible 100-yard pathway leads to Toccoa Falls, a 186-foot, free-falling waterfall on the campus of Toccoa Falls College in Toccoa. It’s one of the tallest free-falling waterfalls east of the Mississippi River—taller than Niagara Falls. Toccoa Falls is accessed through the gift shop, which is open daily. A nominal admission fee is collected in the gift shop.