Rabun County trails: Hiking near Lake Burton, Clayton and Sky Valley, Georgia

Rabun County trails: our favorite hikes near Lake Burton, Clayton and Sky Valley, Georgia

Georgia's Rabun County is rugged, wild and beautiful. Hike Rabun County's best trails to spilling waterfalls at Lake Burton and Lake Rabun, towering summits like Rabun Bald, and Bartram Trail hikes on the crystal-clear Chattooga River.

 

Rabun County, nestled in Georgia’s northeast corner, is full of outdoor adventure possibility. With a trio of gorgeous lakes, towering mountains (including Georgia’s second tallest peak), crystal-clear rivers and tumbling whitewater, there’s a whole lot of hiking, running, biking, rafting and paddling fun to be had in the county. Rabun County’s tumbling waterfalls, 360-degree panoramas from bald mountaintops and wildflower-filled valleys offer some pretty spectacular hiking – and with a high elevation, the county’s weather in summer is usually mild, making it perfect for summertime trail time. Two famous long-range trails, the Appalachian Trail and Bartram Trail, cross through Rabun County, offering fantastic overnight backpacking adventures.

Hike Georgia's Rabun County to stunning summit views, tumbling waterfalls and wildflower-filled valleysAbove: Hike the Bartram Trail to stunning views from the Rabun Bald summit in Rabun County

Lake Burton, Lake Rabun and Lake Seed, Rabun County’s trio of beautiful lakes, are a major draw for boaters and paddlers. The glassy lakes, framed by a meandering shoreline bordered in rolling mountains, are exceptionally beautiful, and several waterfalls, Angel Falls, Minnehaha Falls and Hemlock Falls, tumble down near the lakes’ shores.

Hike Rabun County to some of Georgia's best hiking destinations, including the stunning Minnehaha Falls waterfallAbove: Hike to Rabun County’s most popular waterfall, the beautiful cascades of Minnehaha Falls at Lake Rabun

To the west of the lakes, Tallulah Gorge carves deep into the county, offering hikes with stunning overlook views and adventures to the waterfalls deep within the canyon. East of Clayton, the Bartram Trail explores the banks of the nearly-crystal-clear Chattooga River upstream from its famous, tumultuous whitewater, and winds through Warwoman Dell, a beautiful valley filled with waterfalls and wildflowers. To the north, near Sky Valley, the Bartram Trail hikes to the summit of Rabun Bald, catching take-your-breath-away panoramas from Georgia’s second-tallest mountain. And speaking of mountains, Black Rock Mountain State Park is a lofty, high-elevation adventure with miles of great trails and some stunning views (Black Rock Mountain is Georgia’s highest-elevation state park).

From north to south and east to west, Rabun County’s beauty is simply stunning. It’s rugged yet serene, from deep-cut canyons with rushing waterfalls to crystalline rivers and placid lakes. It’s easily one of our favorite destinations for outdoor adventure in Georgia. This is our collection of our favorite trails in Rabun County, all worthy of a visit. Hike them all, if you can… you’ll be left in amazement, as we always are, for the immense beauty of this county.

Hike the Bartram Trail near Sky Valley, Georgia to stunning views on the Rabun Bald summit

STUNNING SKY VALLEY VIEWS

Hiking the Bartram Trail to the Rabun Bald summit

The views from Rabun Bald’s summit, the second highest in Georgia, are incredible, 360-degree panoramas that are easily some of the best in all of Georgia. Hike the Bartram Trail from Beegum Gap near Sky Valley to the summit, and soak in the see-forever views from Rabun Bald’s summit platform.

3 MILES

VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

Hike the Bartram Trail and Chattooga River Trail on the banks of the scenic, clear-flowing Chattooga River near Clayton

CHATTOOGA RIVER NEAR CLAYTON

Hiking the Bartram Trail on the Chattooga River

Upriver from its famous, wild whitewater, the Chattooga River runs mild, scenic and nearly crystal clear over a colorful, pebbled stream bed. Hike the Bartram Trail from Russell Bridge alongside the Chattooga to Adeline Ford, a sandy beach on the banks of the Chattooga River.

5.5 MILES

VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

Hike the Bartram Trail near Clayton through the wildflower and waterfall-filled Warwoman Dell

BARTRAM TRAIL NEAR CLAYTON

Hiking Warwoman Dell to Becky Branch Falls

Hike this beautiful valley just east of Clayton to waterfalls, wildflowers and through beautiful North Georgia forest. The Bartram Trail and Warwoman Dell Trail visit Becky Branch Falls and several smaller waterfalls on this relatively easy, family-friendly hike.

1.4 MILES

VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

Hike the Sliding Rock Trail at Tallulah Gorge State Park to up-close views of waterfalls deep in Tallulah Gorge

TALLULAH GORGE STATE PARK

Hiking the Sliding Rock Trail at Tallulah Gorge

The Sliding Rock Trail is one of the most difficult that top our list of Rabun County favorites – but it’s well worth the effort. Score a floor permit to hike this trail, scrambling over steep boulders to reach Bridal Veil Falls deep within Tallulah Gorge’s scenic depths.

3.4 MILES

VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

Hike the Hurricane Falls Trail at Tallulah Gorge State Park, descending stairs deep into the gorge and crossing a suspension bridge for up-close views of the Hurricane Falls waterfall

TALLULAH GORGE STATE PARK

Hiking the Hurricane Falls Trail at Tallulah Gorge

Hike the Hurricane Falls Trail, catching outstanding views from the Tallulah Gorge rim before plunging to the gorge floor by stair and a suspension bridge. The hike catches up-close views of the Hurricane Falls waterfall as it thunders through the gorge.

2.25 MILES

VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

Hike the North Rim and South Rim Trails at Tallulah Gorge State Park for stunning canyon and waterfall views

TALLULAH GORGE STATE PARK

Hiking the North Rim & South Rim Trails

Hike the North Rim Trail and South Rim Trail at Tallulah Gorge State Park for the best views from the towering canyon rim. This two-trail-duo is a fairly easy hike to unforgettable views of the steep-walled gorge and the tumbling, thundering waterfalls deep within the gorge’s depths.

2.5 MILES

VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

Hike the Hemlock Falls Trail near the shore of Rabun County's Lake Burton to a stunning waterfall

LAKE BURTON WATERFALLS

Hiking the Hemlock Falls Trail at Lake Burton

This Lake Burton hike trails through a beautiful, stream-filled valley to the tumbling cascades of the Hemlock Falls waterfall. This family-friendly hike follows Moccasin Creek upstream from Lake Burton’s shore, visiting the tumbling waterfall as it pours over a sheer cliff in a shady forest.

2 MILES

VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

Hike the easy, short and kid-friendly Minnehaha Falls Trail to a gorgeous waterfall near Lake Rabun

LAKE RABUN WATERFALLS

Hiking the Minnehaha Falls Trail

Easily the easiest and most kid-friendly trail in our list of Rabun County favorites, the Minnehaha Falls trail treks to one of Georgia’s most beautiful waterfalls. Minnehaha Falls cascades from a towering, stair-stepped bluff near the shore of Lake Rabun.

.4 MILE

VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

Hike the Angel Falls Trail at Lake Rabun Beach two waterfalls, Angel Falls and Panther Falls

LAKE RABUN WATERFALLS

Hiking the Angel Falls Trail

Hike to two beautiful Rabun County waterfalls on this sub-2-mile trail. The Angel Falls Trail departs from the campground at Lake Rabun Beach, trailing streamside through a shady forest to Angel Falls and Panther Falls.

1.75 MILES

VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

Hike the Tennessee Rock Trail at Black Rock Mountain State Park near Lake Burton

BLACK ROCK MOUNTAIN STATE PARK

Hiking the Tennessee Rock Trail

Hike the Tennessee Rock Trail at Black Rock Mountain State Park in northern Rabun County. You’ll score stunning views from the Tennessee Rock Overlook after trailing through a shady forest that’s filled with wildflowers in late spring.

2.2 MILES

VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

Hike the Edmonds Backcountry Trail at Black Rock Mountain State Park to beautiful views and a secluded waterfall

BLACK ROCK MOUNTAIN STATE PARK

Hiking the Edmonds Backcountry Trail

Hike Georgia’s highest elevation state park at Black Rock Mountain, exploring the mountain’s beauty on the difficult Edmonds Backcountry Trail. This challenging hike climbs multiple mountain summits and visits a remote waterfall near the park’s lake.

6 MILES

VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

Hike the Black Rock Mountain Edmonds Backcountry Trail to mountain summits and a secluded waterfall

APPALACHIAN TRAIL

Hiking the AT from Dicks Creek Gap to Powell Mountain

Hike the Appalachian Trail south from Dicks Creek Gap, trailing through beautiful forest to the summit of Powell Mountain. The summit views are stunning, catching sight of Lake Burton nestled between rolling mountains near the horizon.

5.2 MILES

VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

Hike the Appalachian Trail south from Dicks Creek Gap to Lake Burton views from Powell Mountain

APPALACHIAN TRAIL

Hiking the AT from Dicks Creek Gap to Bly Gap

Hike the northernmost stretch of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, rolling elevation from Bly Gap on the Rabun County border. The trail treks to a gnarled, old oak near the North Carolina state line, and makes a great overnight backpacking adventure.

17.4 MILES

VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

What to Pack Hiking? Our hiking gear lists feature our favorite, trail-tested gear.

Our fave hiking gear

What to Pack?

Ready to hit the trail, but wondering what to pack?

Our gear lists feature our favorite, trail-tested hiking gear for day hikes on local trails and in the Georgia backcountry.

hiking gear list: local hikes

hiking gear list: backcountry

 

Get outside, Georgia! #atlantatrails

Find the best outdoor adventures in the southeast! Our Georgia trail map search highlights our favorite adventures on a searchable map. Or check out our favorite Atlanta hiking trails, our favorite North Georgia hiking trails, the best hikes to Georgia waterfalls, and our favorite Atlanta running trails for more great ideas on how to get outside.

Snap a selfie on your favorite Georgia summit, a group shot from the Appalachian Trail, a morning sunrise with your favorite trail pup, or your favorite Georgia waterfall... we'd love to see your adventures! Share your photos with us! Tag them #atlantatrails on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We'll share our favorites, as well as our own favorite shots!