Atlanta TrailsbyTrailful Outdoor Co

Beautiful, enchanting, serene. It’s amazing that the simple fall of water from rock can stir up so much beauty and emotion. Georgia’s waterfalls are plentiful, spilling from our mountains on meandering streams, creeks, and rivers. They range in size, from the towering, thundering falls of Amicalola and Panther Creek, to the smaller cascades at Sweetwater Creek. But regardless of their size, they’re all big on beauty, and always worth the journey.

When you’re out chasing adventure in the North Georgia mountains, be sure to swing by the town of Hiawassee, located minutes from the Appalachian Trail on the shores of beautiful Lake Chatuge, and visit our new hiking shop Trailful Outdoor Co. Our Atlanta Trails crew is in the shop every day, and we’d love to say hello! We stock our crew’s favorite, trail-tested hiking gear and apparel, as well as our full line of Atlanta Trails shirts, hoodies, hats and goods. And we’ve got a wall full of info on our favorite hikes and local adventures to help you plan your next waterfall-chasing adventure. We’d love to see you!

Hike to tumbling and cascading Georgia waterfalls on our top ten favorite hikes to the Peach State's most beautiful falls. #hiking #running #camping #backpacking #atlanta #georgia #travel #outdoors #adventure

Waterfalls in Georgia: our favorite hikes

These are our favorite hikes and backpacking adventures to our favorite falls in the Peach State. Hike one, or hike a few, and plan the ultimate road trip for an epic, scenic adventure!

  • Amicalola Falls

    Amicalola Falls

    It’s one of our state’s most popular hikes – and for an excellent reason. It’s filled with scenic beauty, and a great workout, too. Follow a loop to the top of our state’s tallest cascade at Amicalola Falls State Park near Dawsonville, and catch beautiful views of the distant, rolling peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains. From the crest of the falls, the adventure descends along a series of stairs and platforms, catching an up-close view of Amicalola and the tumbling mist from the falls.

  • Raven Cliff Falls Trail

    Raven Cliff Falls

    Explore a beautiful, lush stream valley lined in mossy rocks and filled with tumbling cascades and rushing waters just north of the alpine town of Helen. This ultra-scenic hike passes a number of smaller falls on Dodd Creek along the way, tumbling under the leafy canopy of the Chattahoochee National Forest. The adventure ends at an enormous, blocky cliff, where a cascading creek tumbles deep within a crevice inside the cliff.

  • Jacks River Falls in the Cohutta Wilderness

    Jacks River Falls

    Nestled deep within the Cohutta Wilderness, the crystalline Jacks River plunges over a massive, craggy cliff, plunging into a deep pool below. The Beech Bottom Trail is one of the easiest routes to the ultra-scenic Jacks River Falls, exploring a forest filled with towering hardwoods and springtime wildflowers.

  • Long Creek Falls on the Appalachian Trail

    Long Creek Falls

    Follow a short stretch of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia from the lush creek valley at Three Forks in Fannin County, climbing to a series of tumbling cascades on Long Creek. This hike ends at the base of a fifty-foot cascade shaded by fragrant, towering hemlock trees. Scattered boulders offer the perfect spot to relax mid-hike below the falls.

  • Hike to Panther Creek Falls in North Georgia

    Panther Creek Falls

    It’s undoubtedly one of our state’s most popular cascades, so expect some company on the trail, especially on fair-weather weekends. Follow the Panther Creek Trail along the scenic banks of its namesake creek. A number of campsites along the trail offer a great backpacking adventure under the stars.

  • High Shoals Falls and Blue Hole Falls

    High Shoals Falls

    Descend into a lush creek valley filled with blooming rhododendron and a clear-flowing trout creek on this moderately challenging – but rather short – adventure near our favorite small town in the Georgia Mountains, Hiawassee. The hike explores the tumbling cascades of Blue Hole Falls and High Shoals Falls before flipping in reverse to make an unrelenting climb to the trailhead.

  • Emery Creek Falls

    Emery Creek Falls

    It’s one of our favorite warm-weather adventures. Follow the Emery Creek Trail through a beautiful creek valley, splashing through twenty wet creek crossings along the way. The hike visits two beautiful falls before turning in reverse to wander the water-filled trail back to the trailhead. It’s a summertime favorite, for sure.

  • Cloudland Canyon Waterfalls Trail

    Cherokee Falls and Hemlock Falls

    Nestled in a steep-walled canyon on Lookout Mountain, Cloudland Canyon State Park offers some of our state’s most scenic views from its lofty rims. Deep within the canyon, two exceptionally stunning cascades, Cherokee Falls and Hemlock Falls, spill into broad pools from enormous, curved cliffs of towering rock. The hike drops from the canyon rim on a series of stairs and landings, making this scenic trek a great workout.

  • Minnehaha Falls

    Minnehaha Falls

    It’s a short hike, for sure, at under a half mile, round trip. But Minnehaha Falls is well worth a stop, and one of our favorites when we’re chasing adventure in Rabun County. Set in a valley off the shore of Lake Rabun, Minnehaha spills from a tall cliff, cascading over a stair-stepped rock outcrop in beautiful white tendrils.

  • Tallulah Gorge Hurricane Falls Trail

    Hurricane Falls at Tallulah Gorge

    It’s a tough hike, but it’s sure worth the effort! Descend from the towering, 1,000-foot walls at Tallulah Gorge State Park in historic Tallulah Falls to cross a swinging bridge over the tumbling Tallulah River. The hike continues its descent to the base of Hurricane Falls, catching an up-close view of the rushing cascades and tumbling waters of this enormous waterfall near Clayton.

  • Trahlyta Lake Trail at Vogel State Park

    Trahlyta Falls

    Follow a one-mile path around a mountain lake at Vogel State Park, catching stunning views of the nearby summit of Blood Mountain, the tallest peak on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. A short side spur leads to the tumbling cascades of Trahlyta Falls, and a wooden observation deck offers an up-close view of the falls and an ample dose of cool waterfall mist.

  • Smith Creek Trail: Unicoi State Park to Anna Ruby Falls

    Anna Ruby Falls

    Hike a relatively short, paved trail to the twin cascades of Anna Ruby Falls near Helen. The outbound, half-mile trek to Anna Ruby’s tumbling waters is mostly uphill, spanning just under a half-mile. In warm-weather months, the trail is lined with blooming wildflowers and mosses, and smaller cascading falls are a highlight throughout the trip. At the trail’s end, a wooden viewing platform offers a stunning view below the twin tumbling falls of York Creek and Curtis Creek, and a chance to catch the refreshing, misty spray of the falls on a breezy day. (Looking for a longer, less busy route to the falls? Follow the Smith Creek Trail from nearby Unicoi State Park, a difficult 8.7-mile adventure.)

  • Helton Creek Falls: best kid-friendly waterfall hikes near Helen, GA

    Helton Creek Falls

    The hike to the multi-tier falls on Helton Creek near Blairsville is just over a quarter mile, each way, making this a family favorite when younger kids are along to join the adventure. Helton’s lower falls and upper falls tumble over tall rock outcroppings in a mossy valley shaded by towering hemlock trees and framed by ferns, rhododendron and mountain laurel. This hike is short, but it’s very sweet!

  • DeSoto Falls Trail near Helen, Georgia

    Desoto Falls

    Steeped in historical legend and visiting not just one but two beautiful waterfalls, this hike definitely packs in a ton of interest in a 2-mile hike. Desoto Falls near Helen is the site where, legend holds, someone found a relic thought to be from a 1500s expedition of explorer Hernando de Soto and his crew. The trail crosses a bridge over Frogtown Creek and follows a short spur to the lower falls. After doubling back to the bridge, the hike climbs to a wooden viewing platform below the upper falls, a great spot for a mid-hike picnic.

  • Angel Falls Trail at Lake Rabun

    Angel Falls and Panther Falls

    Just off the shores of Lake Burton, this hike spans just less than two miles and visits two spectacular falls. Following Joe Creek upstream from the Lake Rabun Beach Campground, the hike climbs to the multi-tier cascades of Panther Falls before reaching Angel Falls on a short loop trail. It’s a fantastic family-friendly adventure, with a gentle climb and a whole lot of scenic forest and creekside beauty along the way.

  • Martin Creek Falls on the Bartram Trail

    Becky Branch Falls and Martin Creek Falls

    Follow the scenic Bartram Trail just east of Clayton to two falls and a breathtaking summit vista on this 8-mile adventure. Departing from the wildflower-filled valley at Warwoman Dell, the hike climbs along the banks of Becky Branch to reach its namesake falls. The Bartram Trail passes beautifully carved rock on the banks of Martin Creek just before reaching the stunning cascades of Martin Creek Falls. And then the climb begins! Rising through a forest filled with moss, hardwoods and rhododendron, the hike climbs steadily, departing the Bartram Trail to follow a side trail to the Pinnacle Knob summit.

  • Dukes Creek Falls Trail in North Georgia

    Dukes Creek Falls

    This hike begins with a stunning vista, catching a beautiful view of Yonah Mountain from the parking area at the trailhead. And then the hike begins, descending steadily for one mile to reach a series of wooden viewing platforms below the multiple, enormous cascades at the convergence of Davis Creek and Dukes Creek.

  • Fall Branch Falls on the Benton MacKaye Trail

    Fall Branch Falls

    Follow the Benton Mackaye Trail, named for the visionary behind the epic Appalachian Trail, a short half-mile to the beautiful falls on Fall Branch near Blue Ridge. A side trail departs from the Benton Mackaye Trail to score up-close views of Fall Branch Falls framed by leathery-leafed rhododendron and mossy rock outcroppings.

  • Dicks Creek Falls Trail in North Georgia

    Dicks Creek Falls

    Near Georgia’s eastern state line, the Chattooga River runs nearly crystal clear over its wide, rocky riverbed. And on its banks just east of Clayton is a spectacular sight: Dicks Creek tumbles over a tall rock outcropping directly into the wide-flowing river. This hike follows the Bartram Trail from Sandy Ford Road, turning to follow the green-blazed Dicks Creek Falls Trail to the enormous waterfall and spectacular views of the Chattooga River.

  • Hiking gear list: our favorite backpacks and trail essentials

    What to pack?

    Our favorite hiking gear

    Ready to hit the trail, but wondering what to pack? Our hiking gear list features our favorite, trail-tested hiking gear for day hikes on local trails and in the backcountry. We print and stitch our Atlanta Trails shirts and hats locally in Atlanta and Asheville, and they’re our favorite for trail adventures all over the South. And no matter what you pack in, pack it all back out, and please leave no trace to help preserve our state’s beauty.

More Georgia waterfall adventures

For some great road trip inspiration, check out our waterfall road trip to explore four falls at Lake Burton and Lake Rabun on an ultra-scenic single-day adventure. Looking for a shorter, family-friendly hike? Don’t miss our favorite waterfall hikes under two miles. Plan a short road trip across the state border to explore our favorite wateralls near Asheville, North Carolina. Or find a beautiful, cascading adventure near you with our Georgia waterfalls map.

When to hike?

Autumn is our favorite hiking season, when fall leaf color frames the forest in a spectrum of vibrant red, green, yellow and orange. Spring rainfall turns mere trickles into gushing cascades framed by wildflowers and spring-green leaves. Summer mountain breezes catch a cascade’s mist, providing cool mid-hike refreshment in our state’s summer heat. And chilly winter temperatures offer the chance to catch icicles hanging from the crest of the falls – an uncommon sight in our state’s temperate climate.

Hiking safety

Please don’t hike near, or climb on, the falls. A waterfall’s slippery rock surface and sharp drop are dangerous, and a fall can be fatal. Please don’t climb, stand above, swim near, or jump from any waterfall. And check out these water safety tips for some things to keep in mind when out chasing an adventure.

And please don’t drink the water! As fresh and as refreshing as the water may look, rivers and streams may contain bacteria and parasites.

Leave No Trace: Atlanta Trails, Asheville Trails and Trailful are official Leave No Trace partners

Please Remember

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.