Cloudland Canyon State Park in Rising Fawn, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones
Explore 11 Great Waterfalls (with Hikes) in Georgia
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 11 spectacular waterfalls in Georgia.
Jacks River Falls
Jacks River Falls is one of the most-visited sites in the Cohutta Wilderness, among the largest in the Eastern U.S. with more than 35,000 acres. Advanced hikers, campers, and backpackers seek out its isolated beauty. Hikers who take on the nine-mile Beech Bottom Trail in spring are rewarded with multiple waterfalls and towering hemlocks.
Video by Ilyas Kure, @ilyasskure
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.
DeSoto Falls Recreation Area, near Cleveland, is named after the Spanish explorer Hernando Desoto, who traveled through the region in the 16th century. It's a scenic spot in the Chattahoochee National Forest with easy access for either a weekend of camping or a hike to the falls along the easy to moderate two-mile trail. Hikers can see two waterfalls from the trail: the Lower Falls are 0.25 mile downstream, and the Upper Falls are 0.75 mile upstream from the bridge in the lower loop of the DeSoto Falls Recreation Area campground.
Helton Creek Falls
If you're visiting Vogel State Park, stop at Helton Creek Falls in Blairsville to see these family-friendly falls. The Helton Creek Falls Trail is an easy 0.2-mile hike. As you begin down the Helton Creek Trail and make your way into the forest, the sound of the lower falls filters through the trees. As you continue along the trail, you'll soon arrive at the observation deck and the main attraction, the upper falls, which cascade about 50 feet into the pool below. In the summer, wear your swimsuits and splash around in the pool at the bottom of the falls.
Raven Cliff Falls
To see Raven Cliff Falls near Helen is about a five-mile round-trip hike. Savor the beautiful views of Dodd Creek as you make your way to the 90-foot drop of the main attraction. Raven Cliff Falls is one of the most unusual in North Georgia because the water flows through a split in the face of a solid rock outcropping to the ground 100 feet below. Behind the split, the water drops approximately 60 feet and then rushes through the rock face and drops 20 feet into a deep pool. The water then cascades 20 more feet to Dodd Creek. Three other waterfalls may be found on Dodd Creek.
Anna Ruby Falls
Anna Ruby Falls, formed by Curtis and York creeks, are local favorites in Helen. It is 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 in Tallulah 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 these dates, but visitors can enjoy the view from the rim.
Panther Falls and Angel Falls
Angel Falls Trail in Rabun County offers two waterfall gems. Hike about a half-mile to view Panther Falls and then continue on, passing by rhododendron, mountain laurel and American holly, to Angel Falls.
Nearby, you'll also find Minnehaha Falls. Plan a complete trip by camping at Lake Rabun Beach Recreation Area or staying at Lake Rabun Hotel & Restaurant.
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.
Cloudland Canyon State Park waterfalls
Nestled in Georgia's northwest corner, Cloudland Canyon State Park offers up paradise on the western edge of Lookout Mountain. Hiking trails lead visitors along enchanting passages surrounded by intriguing rock formations, mammoth hardwoods, and phenomenal overlooks. Descend the staircases deep into the heart of the canyon for a look at Cherokee and Hemlock Falls. Visitors who take the Waterfalls Trail are rewarded with the site of Cherokee Falls after a half-mile and then Hemlock Falls about a half-mile farther down the canyon. The quantity of water over the falls varies greatly from month to month, but in general, winter and early spring offer the greatest flow. Be warned, it is a steep hike down to Hemlock Falls; 600 stairsteps one way.