Hike to Long Creek Falls on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia: top GA waterfall hikes

Long Creek Falls: Hiking the Appalachian Trail

Hike the Appalachian Trail to the beautiful Long Creek Falls waterfall through the hemlock and rhododendron-filled Three Forks valley.

 


The Appalachian Trail travels through the Three Forks creek valley in the Chattahoochee National Forest, four miles from its Georgia beginning on Springer Mountain. At Three Forks, this two-mile out-and-back hike explores one of the most beautiful stretches of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, exploring a lush valley on the way to Long Creek Falls. The waterfall, one of the few on the southern stretch of the AT, is a beautiful, rushing cascade that flows under a forest canopy of hemlock, tulip poplar, and rhododendron.

Hike the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, trekking from the beautiful Three Forks valley to Long Creek Falls, a gorgeous, multi-tiered waterfall

Three boulder and waterfall-filled trout streams converge to form Noontootla Creek at Three Forks, lending to the valley’s name. The valley is beautiful, filled with steep cliffs, wildlife, wildflowers and blankets of vibrant green moss – and is one of the most popular North Georgia areas for hiking, backpacking, fishing and camping.

Appalachian Trail – Three Forks to Long Creek Falls

The Long Creek Falls hike departs FR 58 (view maps and driving directions), following the Appalachian Trail northeast. Long Creek flows parallel to the AT on trail left, running clear and broad over a colorfully-graveled creek bed. The hike follows two iconic, long-distance hiking trails: the white rectangle-blazed Appalachian Trail has converged with the white diamond-blazed Benton MacKaye Trail – and both blazes mark the trail to the waterfall.

Hike the Appalachian Trail through the lush Three Forks creek valley, one of the most beautiful and popular hiking and camping destinations in Georgia

The hike climbs elevation, rising above the banks of Long Creek. Side trails depart on the trail’s left, leading to several smaller, rushing waterfalls on Long Creek.

Hike the Benton MacKaye Trail and Appalachian Trail through the waterfall-filled Three Forks valley, just south of the gorgeous Long Creek Falls

At .8 mile, the hike meets a signed intersection: a blue-blazed trail leads north to Long Creek Falls, the Benton Mackaye Trail departs northwest, and the Appalachian Trail continues its epic, 2200+ mile hike north to Maine.

Hike the Appalachian Trail to Three Forks, a beautiful valley filled with crystal-clear trout streams and the tumbling Long Creek Falls waterfall in North Georgia

This hike follows the blue-blazed trail to Long Creek Falls, reaching the double-tiered waterfall at just under 1 mile. Long Creek falls over 50 feet, cascading twice over the lower and upper waterfalls before tumbling into a deep, calm, blue pool below. Hemlock trees soar high into the sky above the waterfall, and dark green rhododendron frame the creek’s cascade as it drops from the sharp, sheer rock cliff. Large strewn boulders and rock outcrops provide a shaded resting spot for viewing the waterfall.

Long Creek Falls is our favorite spot in Georgia: the waterfall’s tranquility is simply beautiful.

Hike to Long Creek Falls, a tumbling waterfall just off the Appalachian Trail in North Georgia

The hike departs Long Creek Falls, retracing the blue-blazed side trail and the Appalachian Trail to the FR 58 trailhead and completing the adventure at just under 2 miles. Departing opposite the Long Creek trailhead on FR 58 is one of our favorite Georgia hikes: the 8.6-mile out-and-back hike from Three Forks to Springer Mountain on the Appalachian Trail.

Note: slippery rocks and fast moving water can be extremely dangerous! Please don’t climb, stand on, swim near, or jump from any waterfall.

Extend the hike

Up for a longer hike? Departing Long Creek Falls, the Appalachian Trail hikes eastbound, visiting a rustic, centuries-old cemetery before hiking to the Hawk Mountain Shelter. Get more info, photos, and maps in our Appalachian Trail from Three Forks to the Hawk Mountain Shelter trail review.

 

Long Creek Falls on the Appalachian Trail: Directions & Details

Parking

Free parking is available at the trailhead. Note: Trailhead access is via a gravel Forest Service Road.

Please Remember

Always leave no trace and follow these trail etiquette tips.

GPS Coordinates

34.663850, -84.183967     //     N34 39.831 W84 11.038

Driving Directions


Elevation Profile

Hike the Appalachian Trail to Long Creek Falls: Elevation Profile

Long Creek Falls on the Appalachian Trail Map

Trail data and photos © Summit19 Studio LLC. This map is not a substitute for official trail maps or topographic maps.
 
Eric Champlin is a writer and photographer who loves to hike, run, backpack, kayak and cycle the southeast. He’s the editor and founder of Atlanta Trails and Asheville Trails, online magazines that cover the South’s best outdoor adventures. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.