Amicalola Falls State Park Trails

Amicalola Falls State ParkTrail: Amicalola Falls has a total of 3.5 miles of easy to moderate trails

Directions: About fourteen miles West of Dahlonega and twenty miles East of Ellijay on Georgia State Highway 52.

General Information:

Terrain: Most of the trails are what I would call easy to moderate. They have switchbacks and some steep areas.

Distance: Amicalola Falls Trail: 0.4 miles; East Ridge Trail 1.3 miles; West Ridge Trail 1.7 miles. You can take the West Ridge Trail up and come back by the East Ridge Trail (or reverse this).

Family Oriented: Yes, Nice trails for kids.

Dogs Allowed: Yes, must be on a leash.

Hiking Fees: $5.00 daily parking or you can get an annual state park pass for $50.00. Wednesdays are free. There are discounts for Senior Citizens and Military Personnel.

Amicalola Falls State Park - Burts Farm - Indian CornAbout: This park’s name is a Cherokee Indian word meaning “Tumbling Waters”. When you see the 729 foot falls for the first time, you understand the expressive name. They are the tallest East of the Mississippi. Amicalola falls are created by Little Amicalola Creek and are made up of many cascades.

The park itself has many different lodging options. There are rustic cabins, campsites, a very nice lodge (for those who don’t like to rough it) and what I consider the best, the Len Foote Hike Inn. The Hike Inn is a nice hotel in the woods. It is a five mile hike to it (and that is the only way for a guest to get there). Truly a unique experience.

The park boasts many different flowers and blooming trees in the Spring, like Mountain Laurel, Rhododendron and Pink Lady Slipper.  In the Fall the trees put on a brilliant foliage display.

Amicalola Falls State Park - Burts Farm - PumpkinThere is one additional 8.5 mile long trail “The Approach Trial”, which is the connection to the 2,135 mile Appalachian Trail at the southern terminus on Springer Mountain.

The area has been “beaten up” over the years with snowstorms, rain storms and the remains of hurricane Opal. The observation decks on the trails have been replaced and the only visible remnants of these storms are some fallen trees.

Our Hike: We decided to see the fall foliage in the mountains in early October. We figured that we could pick up a pumpkin at Burt’s Farm, which is across the street from the park. Then we could do some hiking. We did get to the “pumpkin patch” early and were amazed at the selection of pumpkins, gourds, Indian Corn and other Autumn Harvest goodies. Speaking of goodies, they also have homemade pies, breads and candies.

After selecting the right pumpkin to take home, we were off to Amicalola Falls State Park. It is almost literally across the highway from Burt’s. Because of the time of year, it was already crowded and it was still early morning. The mountains of Georgia are a favorite for the people from Atlanta during the fall. The leaves put on quite a show of Amicalola State Park - Cascadebrilliant reds, oranges and yellows. We found a parking space on the upper parking lot. This is a smaller parking lot, but near the trail head of the Base of Falls Trail.

The trail starts out at a reflecting pond. This pool is full of trout, as is the creek. Fishing is allowed part of the year. After passing by the pond, we started up the trail. It is paved and, at least the beginning, easily traversed. The trail does have a steep incline and after about half way, turns into a large staircase. Going up the staircase, there are two decks where a person can stop, catch his breath, enjoy the beauty and the view and then continue on. The top of the trail is a bridge that crosses the falls. The trail then meets up with the West Ridge Falls Access Trail.

All of the trails are well maintained and as mentioned earlier the Base of Falls Trail is partially paved and has a large number of steps.

Tips:

Amicalola Falls is one of the most popular parks in the North Georgia Mountains. It also has a lot of different types of accommodations. This can lead to a lot of people on weekends and holidays, especially during the Spring and Fall. If you plan to visit during one of these times, get there early in the morning and think about carpooling rather than taking multiple cars. Otherwise, plan your trip during the week to avoid the crowds.

The Under the Falls Trail may be paved, but if it is wet or covered with leaves, be extremely careful.  The trail can become very slippery and this is compounded with the steep slope.

It is suggested to make reservations for any of the accommodations well in advance.  This is highly recommended for the Fall season.

Hoping your next hike is Relaxing, Safe and Inspiring,

Russell

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2 Responses to “Amicalola Falls State Park Trails”

  1. Russell says:

    Thanks! What a great idea!

  2. Parks Pilot says:

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