Georgia waterfall road trip: hike to four falls at Lake Burton & Lake Rabun on a one-day hiking adventure
Road trip to some of our favorite waterfalls in Rabun County, hiking four miles to four stunning falls! At around four hours drive time from Atlanta and several hours on the trail, it’s a perfect single-day adventure filled with falling water and beautiful forest.
TOTAL DRIVING TIME: about 4.5 hours roundtrip from Atlanta (219 miles)
TOTAL HIKING DISTANCE: 4.15 miles
TOTAL TRIP TIME: around 8.5 hours, round trip from Atlanta and back
There’s no shortage of gorgeous waterfalls worthy of a visit in north Georgia. From the graceful, spilling cascades of Georgia’s tallest waterfall, Amicalola Falls, to the roaring torrents of Jacks River Falls deep in the remote Cohutta Wilderness, the mountains of North Georgia are teeming with waterfalls waiting to be explored.
Knock several off your bucket list chasing four of our favorite, lesser-known falls in North Georgia. We’ve put together this one-day road trip adventure to the banks of Rabun County’s Lake Burton and Lake Rabun, where you’ll explore four waterfalls on three trails, hiking to Hemlock Falls, Angel Falls, Panther Falls and Minnehaha Falls. The trails are relatively short, the falls are gorgeous, and the drive between them is scenic and winding – making for a great, all-day, family-friendly adventure (and some incredible photos, too).
Georgia waterfall roadtrip: four waterfalls, one amazing day of adventure
Hemlock FallsGrab coffee and a bagel before you leave the city, and hit the road for an early start to make the most of the day on the trail. Leave Atlanta early to miss the weekend traffic and enjoy a scenic sunrise drive to the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Arrive at the trailhead by 10 am, allowing plenty of time to enjoy the first hike on this adventure, the hike to Hemlock Falls.
From Atlanta: 1 hour 55 minutes (106 miles)
The Hemlock Falls Trail follows the boulder-filled Moccasin Creek, climbing into a shady forest filled with moss and rhododendron. The hike crosses the creek over a wooden bridge, spotting smaller waterfalls along the way. The sandy banks of Hemlock Falls make a great place to take a break and enjoy some morning serenity before retracing the trail to the trailhead and continuing the journey.
HIKE HEMLOCK FALLS
Angel Falls & Panther FallsThe short 30 minute drive between the Hemlock Falls trailhead and the Angel Falls trailhead meanders along the beautiful shores of Lake Burton and Lake Seed. Enjoy the glassy waters of the lake and the views of the stunning vacation homes and boat houses built on the lake shore.
From the Hemlock Falls trailhead: 30 minutes (14 miles)
The Angel Falls Trail departs from the Rabun Beach Campground on the shores of Lake Rabun, a great place to enjoy a picnic lunch before hitting the trail. This double-waterfall hike spans 1.75 miles, round trip, trekking a moderate climb up to the the duo of falls.
From the trailhead, the Angel Falls Trail follows Joe Creek, gaining elevating through shady forest filled with fern, moss and rhododendron. The trail passes a historic stone spring before stopping at the first waterfall, Panther Falls. After enjoying the cascading water, the trail continues to climb through the steepest stretch of trail before reaching Angel Falls. Take in the views of Angel Falls from the wooden viewing platform before following the trail back to the trailhead.
HIKE ANGEL FALLS & PANTHER FALLS
From Angel Falls / Panther Falls trailhead: 10 minutes (3.4 miles)The 10 minute drive to the Minnehaha Falls trailhead travels around the western end of Lake Rabun, offering more gorgeous lake views.
The Minnehaha Falls Trail is short and sweet, and the payoff is spectacular! Minnehaha Falls is arguably one of the most beautiful in Georgia, and at just .4 miles, it’s a great way to end the day. The trail rolls gentle elevation through gnarly rhododendron filled forest before entering a clearing just below the falls. The trail is short and moderate and easily completed in an hour or less, even after a generous stay at the falls.
Travel time back to Atlanta from the Minnehaha trailhead is around an hour and 45 minutes.
HIKE MINNEHAHA FALLS
More north Georgia waterfall adventures
Finished early and looking for more hiking and waterfalls nearby? Check out some of our other favorite trails in Rabun County.
Georgia Waterfall Road Trip Trail Map, Directions & Details
Free parking is available at Hemlock Falls and Minnehaha Falls. Parking at the Angel Falls and Panther Falls trailhead is $4.
Note: the GPS coordinates and directions below are to Hemlock Falls. From Hemlock Falls, drive to Angel Falls. After hiking Angel Falls, drive from Angel Falls to Minnehaha Falls.
34.847733, -83.596700 // N34 50.864 W83 35.802