Hike the Bartram Trail to Dicks Creek Falls, an enormous tumbling waterfall on the ultra-scenic banks of the Chattooga River.
LOCATION:Rabun County, Georgia
OFFICIAL MAP: Nat Geo 778 Trails Illustrated Map (find it at Trailful Outdoor Co.)
Flowing broad, clear, and mighty, the Chattooga River carves through northeast Georgia, meandering and tumbling and spilling through mile after mile of scenic forest. It’s easily one of the most beautiful rivers in the south, and one of the few that flows unaltered and undammed, earning it the designation as a National Wild and Scenic River. This relatively short and easy hike makes a trek to the river’s banks through a beautiful stretch of forest. The endpoint of the hike is nothing short of spectacular, catching stunning views of the Chattooga basin from an elevated bluff, where Dicks Creek Falls tumbles into the wide-flowing river.
It’s easily one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Georgia, framed by towering hardwoods, spilling over a 60-foot bluff, and tumbling into the Chattooga far below. The views of the river are outstanding, as the river tumbles over rocky shoals and carves through a broad meander. The hike is fairly mild, until the final, short descent to the base of the waterfall. And it’s a great hike in any season, but especially so in autumn, when fall’s colorful leaves turn this already-beautiful forest flanking the falls into a colorful, vibrant display.
TRAIL UPDATE: Due to construction along Sandy Ford Road, access to this hike’s trailhead may be temporarily blocked. If so, consider another hike in the area – like Becky Branch Falls at Warwoman Dell or the outstanding hike to Pinnacle Knob from Warwoman Dell.
Dicks Creek Falls: the hike
The adventure begins at a trailhead off the gravel Sandy Ford Road (view maps and driving directions). The trailhead is located south of the wet vehicle crossing through Dicks Creek, requiring a bridge-less crossing of the creek if traveling from Warwoman Road. The hike begins following the yellow-blazed Bartram Trail to the northeast. Tall hardwoods stretch skyward, and the forest is lush and green under the tree canopy.
The Bartram Trail descends steadily. The hike reaches an intersection at four-tenths of a mile, turning right to follow the green-blazed Dicks Creek Falls Trail and crossing a small wooden bridge. The sound of falling water amplifies through the forest as the trail reaches the upper falls. A short side trail scrambles to the rocky area above the tumbling Dicks Creek Falls, catching outstanding views of the Chattooga River below.
The creek’s rocky bed and the waterfall’s sharp drop can be a deadly combination, though – so be sure to keep a safe distance from the crest of the waterfall. Backtracking to the green-blazed Dicks Creek Falls Trail, the hike descends to the banks of the scenic Chattooga. A steep side trail drops from the trail’s right side at just over a half mile, offering views from the base of the tumbling waterfall.
The hike continues its descent, reaching the river’s sandy banks at .6 mile. The views of the Chattooga are outstanding, stretching westward to a broad meander bordered by large rock outcrops on the river’s shore. Just ahead, the river spills over a series of wide rock shoals, tumbling and cascading in small waterfalls.
The river’s banks make a great spot for a mid-hike water break, and a great place to hang out and enjoy the beauty of this rare, wild, and untamed river.
Departing the Chattooga, the hike turns to follow its outbound route in reverse. The adventure ends when the hike reaches the Sandy Ford Road trailhead at just over 1.2 miles.
Note: slippery rocks and fast moving water can be extremely dangerous! Please don’t climb, stand on, swim near, or jump from any waterfall.
Nearby waterfall hikes and adventures
In the area with daylight and energy left to burn? Hike through a lush, wildflower-filled valley to Becky Branch Falls at Warwoman Dell. Follow the Bartram Trail to the view-packed summit of Rabun Bald, catching stunning 360-degree views from a historic fire tower on the mountain’s summit. Cross the Georgia border to the east to visit the nearby towering cascades of Issaqueena Falls, one of South Carolina’s most beautiful waterfalls. Or check out our favorite trails in Rabun County for more of our favorite adventures near Clayton, Lake Rabun, and Lake Burton.
Always leave no trace, pack out everything you pack in, and if you see trash, pick it up and pack it out.
Stay on the marked trail, tell someone where you're going, pack safety and wayfinding essentials, and don't rely on a mobile phone to find your way. Please always practice good trail etiquette. And before you go, always check the trailhead kiosk, official maps, and the park or ranger office for notices of changed routes, trail closures, safety information, and restrictions.
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This trail is maintained thanks to the hard work of countless volunteers and donations from supporters of the Chattahoochee National Forest. Please support them by making a donation or joining a volunteer day. Let's work together to keep these fantastic trails maintained and open for use!
Free parking is available at the trailhead. (Note: trailhead access is via a gravel road, and may require a wet creek crossing for your vehicle.)
34.866850, -83.252167 // N34 52.011 W83 15.130