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The idyllic ending to a summer hike.
The idyllic ending to a summer hike.
Georgia Department of Economic Development

8 great hikes in North Georgia ending in waterfalls

From a simple jaunt to an all-day outing, these walks through the woods are perfect for an outdoor adventure

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The idyllic ending to a summer hike.
| Georgia Department of Economic Development

The North Georgia Mountains offer a bounty of options for getting outside and exploring. Camping, kayaking, horseback riding, zip lining, and rock climbing are just the beginning of recreational opportunities. Of course, hiking also reigns as a popular pastime, thanks to a multitude of trails found throughout the mountain region.

For a special outing, though, wise hikers might hit the trails to these notable waterfalls, which are not only a scenic reward at the end of journeys, but the perfect pictorial memento of hikes. Best of all, most are within a two-hour drive of Atlanta.

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1. Toccoa Falls

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Located on the campus of Toccoa Falls College in northeast Georgia, close to the Georgia-South Carolina state line, Toccoa Falls is a breathtaking, 186-foot-high waterfall. It’s easily accessible by way of a 100-yard path from the school’s gift shop.

The school charges a nominal admission fee of $2 for adults and children age 7 and older and $1 for seniors. Families of four or more are $6. 

2. Cherokee and Hemlock Falls 

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122 Cloudland Canyon Park Rd
Rising Fawn, GA 30738
(706) 657-4050
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Approximately two hours northwest of Atlanta at Cloudland Canyon State Park, Cherokee and Hemlock Falls can be seen at the end of the park’s Waterfalls Trail. For more experienced hikers, this two-mile-roundtrip trail starts at the park’s main trailhead, before dropping in elevation to reach the falls.

Hikers will reach Cherokee Falls first, which is approximately one-half a mile from the trailhead. Continue for another half-mile, including 600 stairs, to reach Hemlock Falls. Visitors are charged a $5 parking fee to enter the park. 

3. Amicalola Falls

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418 Amicalola Falls State Park Rd
Dawsonville, GA 30534
(706) 265-8888
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Located between Ellijay and Dahlonega, Amicalola Falls State Park showcases the highest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River. Amicalola Falls plunges 729 feet down, and hikers can gaze on its full glory as they confront the trail, which includes several staircases and ends in a viewing platform.

For quick and easy access, a paved path leads directly to the viewing platform. There is a $5 parking fee to enter the park. 

4. Raven Cliffs Falls

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Near Helen, Raven Cliffs Falls are a unique take on the waterfall, with water flowing 90 feet down from between massive rock outcroppings. To reach it, you will take the 3.3-mile (one way) trail in the Raven Cliffs Wilderness Area, which requires a $5 parking fee. Picnic tables are available at the trailhead, so bring a lunch for an extended adventure. 

5. Tallulah Falls

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In the northeast Georgia mountains, Tallulah Falls is actually a series of six waterfalls that cascade down through Tallulah Gorge in Tallulah Gorge State Park. One of the best views of the falls is from the suspension bridge hanging 80 feet above the gorge floor.

You can reach the bridge via the Hurricane Falls Trail Loop, but be warned: This trail is rated difficult thanks to the total of 1,099 stairs, including a staircase to the gorge floor. Know that if you want to hike the gorge floor, a permit is required along with proper footwear (no flip-flops or crocs). Also, the park charges a $5 parking fee. 

6. Anna Ruby Falls

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Found in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest near Helen, Anna Ruby Falls is a combination of two rivers coming together and plunging over a cliff. The larger of the two, the left fall, cascades down 150 feet, while the right plunges 50 feet down. Visitors can see the falls by following a brief, half-mile paved path.

Access to Anna Ruby Falls comes via Unicoi State Park. Admission to the falls is $3 per person for ages 16 and older. 

7. Minnehaha Falls

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Also located in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, Minnehaha Falls actually isn’t far from Tallulah Falls. As if flowing down a staircase, these falls plummet 100 feet. A short, .4-mile trail takes hikers to the base of the falls. There is free parking at the trailhead and free admission. 

8. Trahlyta Falls

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405 Vogel State Park Rd
Blairsville, GA 30512
(706) 745-2628
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Found within Vogel State Park, Trahlyta Falls actually is cascading water over an earthen dam spillway along the edge of Lake Trahlyta. To reach it, simply follow the 1-mile Trahlyta Lake Trail along the lakeshore to the dam. Once at the dam, take the spur trail down to an observation deck, which provides spectacular views of not only the falls but the lake and Blood and Slaughter Mountains.

Vogel State Park charges a $5 parking fee for all visitors. 

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1. Toccoa Falls

Toccoa Falls, GA 30577

Located on the campus of Toccoa Falls College in northeast Georgia, close to the Georgia-South Carolina state line, Toccoa Falls is a breathtaking, 186-foot-high waterfall. It’s easily accessible by way of a 100-yard path from the school’s gift shop.

The school charges a nominal admission fee of $2 for adults and children age 7 and older and $1 for seniors. Families of four or more are $6. 

2. Cherokee and Hemlock Falls 

122 Cloudland Canyon Park Rd, Rising Fawn, GA 30738

Approximately two hours northwest of Atlanta at Cloudland Canyon State Park, Cherokee and Hemlock Falls can be seen at the end of the park’s Waterfalls Trail. For more experienced hikers, this two-mile-roundtrip trail starts at the park’s main trailhead, before dropping in elevation to reach the falls.

Hikers will reach Cherokee Falls first, which is approximately one-half a mile from the trailhead. Continue for another half-mile, including 600 stairs, to reach Hemlock Falls. Visitors are charged a $5 parking fee to enter the park. 

122 Cloudland Canyon Park Rd
Rising Fawn, GA 30738

3. Amicalola Falls

418 Amicalola Falls State Park Rd, Dawsonville, GA 30534

Located between Ellijay and Dahlonega, Amicalola Falls State Park showcases the highest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River. Amicalola Falls plunges 729 feet down, and hikers can gaze on its full glory as they confront the trail, which includes several staircases and ends in a viewing platform.

For quick and easy access, a paved path leads directly to the viewing platform. There is a $5 parking fee to enter the park. 

418 Amicalola Falls State Park Rd
Dawsonville, GA 30534

4. Raven Cliffs Falls

Raven Cliff Falls, Georgia 30528

Near Helen, Raven Cliffs Falls are a unique take on the waterfall, with water flowing 90 feet down from between massive rock outcroppings. To reach it, you will take the 3.3-mile (one way) trail in the Raven Cliffs Wilderness Area, which requires a $5 parking fee. Picnic tables are available at the trailhead, so bring a lunch for an extended adventure. 

5. Tallulah Falls

Tallulah Falls, GA

In the northeast Georgia mountains, Tallulah Falls is actually a series of six waterfalls that cascade down through Tallulah Gorge in Tallulah Gorge State Park. One of the best views of the falls is from the suspension bridge hanging 80 feet above the gorge floor.

You can reach the bridge via the Hurricane Falls Trail Loop, but be warned: This trail is rated difficult thanks to the total of 1,099 stairs, including a staircase to the gorge floor. Know that if you want to hike the gorge floor, a permit is required along with proper footwear (no flip-flops or crocs). Also, the park charges a $5 parking fee. 

6. Anna Ruby Falls

Anna Ruby Falls, Georgia 30571

Found in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest near Helen, Anna Ruby Falls is a combination of two rivers coming together and plunging over a cliff. The larger of the two, the left fall, cascades down 150 feet, while the right plunges 50 feet down. Visitors can see the falls by following a brief, half-mile paved path.

Access to Anna Ruby Falls comes via Unicoi State Park. Admission to the falls is $3 per person for ages 16 and older. 

7. Minnehaha Falls

Lakemont, GA 30552

Also located in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, Minnehaha Falls actually isn’t far from Tallulah Falls. As if flowing down a staircase, these falls plummet 100 feet. A short, .4-mile trail takes hikers to the base of the falls. There is free parking at the trailhead and free admission. 

8. Trahlyta Falls

405 Vogel State Park Rd, Blairsville, GA 30512

Found within Vogel State Park, Trahlyta Falls actually is cascading water over an earthen dam spillway along the edge of Lake Trahlyta. To reach it, simply follow the 1-mile Trahlyta Lake Trail along the lakeshore to the dam. Once at the dam, take the spur trail down to an observation deck, which provides spectacular views of not only the falls but the lake and Blood and Slaughter Mountains.

Vogel State Park charges a $5 parking fee for all visitors. 

405 Vogel State Park Rd
Blairsville, GA 30512