Hike several scenic trails in Lula Lake Land Trust to two tumbling waterfalls, the 120-foot freefall at Lula Falls, and a spectacular 20-foot waterfall into an emerald-hued lake.
LOCATION:near Cloudland Canyon State Park in North Georgia
OFFICIAL MAP: Core Property Map
Lula Lake Land Trust is a privately owned property in Northwest Georgia dedicated to preserving the Rock Creek watershed since 1994. It is home to over eight miles of trails filled with waterfalls, overlooks, and beautiful hardwood forests. This popular hike follows the Middle Trail, Ford Trail, and North Creek Trail, crossing a tall wooden bridge, exploring scenic stretches along Rock Creek, and visiting two tumbling waterfalls at Lula Lake and Lula Falls.
Since it is a private property and is largely maintained by volunteers, the land trust is only open to the public on the first and last Saturday and Sunday of each month (May-November), and the first and last Saturday of each month (December-April). Please check their official website before you go to make sure the gates will be open. All visitors must check-in to the land trust and sign a waiver to enjoy all of the beauty that the land trust has to offer.
Lula Lake and Lula Falls: the hike
This hike leaves from the first parking area closest to the check-in area (view maps and driving directions), and follows above and along Rock Creek until it reaches Lula Falls. The hike begins southbound, crossing a stone and wooden bridge across Rock Creek and beginning the northeast-bound climb up the Middle Trail.
The hike is moderately steep for the first 0.2 mile, and then it flattens out as it explores a hardwood forest above the creek. Hemlocks, poplars, and pines line the trail. At .6 mile, the Middle Trail intersects with the Ford Trail. The Ford Trail descends towards the creek as the Middle Trail continues to rise the valley. While both routes offer roughly the same distance to the enormous waterfall, the Ford Trail connects to the North Creek Trail, which runs along some scenic sections of the river and also visits the falls at Lula Lake.
This hike veers left on the Ford Trail, following it eastbound, and then right on the North Creek Trail, hiking northbound. The trail opens up to a bridge over a turbulent section of the creek, before the rushing water drops over a 20-foot waterfall into the beautiful emerald-colored pool of Lula Lake. A unique sandstone dome rises 35 feet over the pool, which beautifully captures the reflections of the ripples of the water in the morning hours.
Above the east side of the pool, the trail widens into a dirt road and continues downstream for another 0.3 miles before reaching some viewpoints of Lula Falls.
There are several ways to access and appreciate the epic 120-foot falls. To descend to the gorge floor, follow the Old Lula Falls Trail on the left, or the Lula Falls Trail another 0.1 mile further. Both access points are quite steep with a lot of stairs. The bottom of the gorge delivers incredible views of the waterfall that really put the power of the plunging water into perspective. From the gorge floor, the trail gets very vague, but this is an opportunity to climb some boulders, explore around, or have a snack.
Because of its volume and height, the waterfall spits out a ton of mist through the valley. The closer you get to the waterfall, the wetter everything becomes and the slipperier the surfaces are. If you choose to get up close to the falls, be sure to wear a rain jacket or poncho and take extra caution with each step.
There are a number of return routes to the parking area – but retracing the outbound path will take you southbound along the creek on the North Creek Trail, up the valley on the Ford Trail, and back down to the wood and stone bridge on the Middle Trail. The hike reaches the trailhead at just over 3 miles, completing the adventure.
Note: slippery rocks and fast moving water can be extremely dangerous! Please don’t climb, stand on, swim near, or jump from any waterfall.
This map is not a substitute for official trail maps or topographic maps.
Free, but please consider making a donation to help support the land trust's work.
34.921867, -85.380600 // N34 55.312 W85 22.836