The Northern side of Georgia is home to Chattahoochee National Forest and marks the beginning of the Blue Ridge mountains. In this area, you’ll find yourself close to many hiking trails, waterfalls, and beautiful sights. A special place, in particular, is Amicalola Falls, the highest waterfall in the state at 729 feet high. From here there are trails for all levels, even wheelchair accessible points. For those who are more adventurous, there is a 10-mile hike to the Southernmost point of the Appalachian Trail and Springer Mountain.
When I visited during the first weekend of November, I was with my family, so long strenuous hikes were out of the question. We still had an amazing time seeing the falls, driving through the mountains, and exploring other towns and parks in Georgia.
What you need to know:
Hours: 7:00 a.m.-Sunset
Entrance Fee: $5 per vehicle.
Upon entering the park, there is a parking lot and welcome center straight ahead, but we followed the road on the left which took us all the way to the top of the falls. The parking lot halfway up the mountain is next to the west ridge falls access trail, which leads to the lower observation deck.
The second parking lot at the top of the falls is located right next to the upper observation deck, as well as bathrooms, picnic tables, and a refreshment stand. There is a stairway that connects the upper and lower levels, which is less than a quarter-mile, but of course one can drive between the two if preferred.
With this being one of the most popular parks in Georgia, it gets very crowded on the weekend and it can be tough to find parking, so I recommend going when it opens or during a weekday.
Where to stay:
Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge– Campsites, lodge rooms, and private cabins are the accommodations that can be booked within the park. There are also adventure packages available to all guests.
There are several lodges and campgrounds nearby, and hotels can be found in the towns of Dahlonega and Gainesville. However, we stayed at an Airbnb a little further out in the town of Commerce.
The falls can be seen within 1-2 hours, which gave us plenty of time to explore other parts of Georgia. Nearby there are vineyards, a gold mine, and more waterfalls and hiking trails. We decided to take a drive through Helen, the alpine village, and then visit Unicoi State Park.
Helen is a charming Bavarian village filled with excitement and things to do. Festivals are held throughout the year, including Oktoberfest. There are also plenty of outdoor activities, like tubing, fishing, and hiking. On the northern edge of the city is Unicoi State Park and Anna Ruby Falls, one of the more popular trails. Unicoi is nested on a beautiful lake with campgrounds and an adventure park, we decided to park and walk down the lake’s trail and take some photos.
We enjoyed the weekend exploring all of the beauty and nature that Georgia has to offer. It gave us the chance to get away from Florida’s continuous summer and experience fall. We were able the colors of red and yellow throughout the mountains while breathing in the fresh air and taking the scenery in. Leaving, I knew we were only seeing a small sliver of what Georgia has to offer, and that filled me with an eagerness to come back.