This popular hiking trail travels to, and then alongside, the tallest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River. The impressive waterfall at Amicalola Falls tumbles 729 feet over a sharp bluff in the Chattahoochee National Forest in North Georgia.
This hiking trail courses a short 2.1 miles and combines 2 trails to hike to the impressive waterfall and back down on several of the lesser-traveled trails at Amicalola Falls State Park. This park can be busy – especially on weekends and in the fall and spring seasons – so we suggest hiking midweek visit for the best hiking experience.
The hiking trail departs from behind the park office, passing under a stone arch marking the start of the 10 mile approach trail leading to the start of the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mountain. It’s from here that many journeys along the famed trail begin as it winds through the Appalachian Mountains over 2100 miles to Maine.
The hiking trail climbs through young forest, passing a Native American trail marker tree at .1 miles. The trail crosses a small wooden bridge at .4 miles before winding to meet a gravel road at .5 miles. Turn left here, following the gravel road as it continues to climb towards the Amicalola Falls waterfall.
The hiking trail will pass a rock outcrop on the right as the road turns left and begins to ascend steeply. To the left of the trail, trees begin to thin to reveal views of a nearby ridge. Reach a clearing at .8 miles, revealing a gorgeous view of the surrounding mountains to the left of the trail. Pause here to take in the view and hear the first sounds of falling water from Amicalola Falls.
Continue hiking the ascent on the trail to reach a parking area at 1 mile. Turn left here, following signs to the waterfall overlook. From the overlook, views of the surrounding mountainscape surround, and the hiking trail crosses a bridge under which the falls begin to tumble to the right of the hiking trail.
After crossing the bridge, turn left at 1.1 miles to begin the descent alongside Amicalola Falls along a series of stairs and landings. Reach the bottom of this first set of stairs at 1.2 miles, turning left to hike towards the base of the falls.
Cross the wooden bridge and pause to view the fantastic view of the upper portion of the Amicalola Falls waterfall.
After crossing the bridge, continue on the hiking trail, descending down a second set of stairs, pausing occasionally to look back to admire the ever-growing view of the waterfalls. Reach the last step at 1.25 miles as the paved trail begins to wind alongside the tumbling lower waterfalls.
The river continues to tumble down over large boulders to the right of the paved hiking trail. Look to the left of the trail into the steep, wooded terrain to catch a glimpse of several large rock piles thought to be Native American gravesites. Amicalola Falls was sacred ground to the Cherokee – in fact “Amicalola” translates from Cherokee as “tumbling waters”.
The hiking trail will reach a manmade retention pond at 1.5 miles. Turn right to follow the yellow-blazed Creek Trail towards the park office, around the hiking area at the retention pond.
The yellow-blazed hiking trail winds through young forest above the tumbling creek below. Reach a set of stairs at 1.88 miles and pass several cottages to the left of the hiking trail before returning to the trailhead at 2.1 miles.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 34.557773ºN, 84.249259ºW
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