Just east of the incredibly stunning stretches of the Cohutta Wilderness, and nestled in the rolling foothills of the Appalachian Mountains beside its namesake lake, Blue Ridge is one of our all-time favorite destinations to seek out a North Georgia adventure. And thanks to the multitude of crystal-clear trout streams and broad-flowing, pebble-lined rivers near town, it’s also one of our favorite spots to chase a waterfall-filled hiking adventure. It’s amazing that falling water can be so scenic and enchanting. Whatever magic these waterfalls hold, there’s no doubt that some of our state’s best falls lie within a close drive of the city.

Whether you’ve scored a relaxing long weekend stay in one of the area’s many cabins, or just passing through town for the day, these waterfalls near Blue Ridge are fully worth the workout. And while they vary in difficulty, from short strolls along the Appalachian Trail to rugged and remote adventures in the Cohuttas, they’re all within forty miles of downtown and pretty perfect for a day hike.

Hike to some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the Blue Ridge area, exploring tumbling cascades tumbling from rocky cliffs. These are our favorite hikes to the area's best falls, all within 40 miles of town. #hiking #trailrunning #waterfalls #blueridge #northgeorgia #atlanta #georgia #travel #outdoors #adventure

Blue Ridge, GA waterfalls: our favorite trails

Before you head out, be sure to pack hiking essentials and plenty of water; check our hiking gear list for some packing inspiration. And since cell service isn’t perfect in the mountains, and gravel forest roads lead to some of our favorite falls in the area, we never rely on a mobile phone for navigation. Our favorite paper map for this area is the Nat Geo Trails Illustrated #777.

  • Fall Branch Falls on the Benton MacKaye Trail

    Fall Branch Falls

    .5 mile, round trip

    It’s one of the shortest – and most popular – waterfall hikes near town. But the beauty of the falls make this short trek fully hike-worthy. Follow the white diamond blazes of the Benton MacKaye Trail, named for the founder of the Appalachian Trail, as it climbs through a mossy, sun-dappled forest to the multi-tiered falls on Fall Branch.
    MILES FROM TOWN: 12
    VIEW TRAIL PHOTOS, INFO & MAPS

  • Jacks River Trail

    Jacks River Trail

    9-18 miles, round trip

    Rushing, tumbling, and spilling into crystalline, cool pools, the Jacks River is one of the two major rivers in the Cohutta Wilderness, and it’s incredibly scenic. Hike a stretch of the Jacks River Trail from Dally Gap, splashing through wet river crossings and spotting a number of tumbling waterfalls along the way. The trail leads nine miles (each way) to the enormous and incredibly beautiful Jacks River Falls downriver.
    MILES FROM TOWN: 18
    VIEW TRAIL PHOTOS, INFO & MAPS

  • Panther Creek Falls in the Cohutta Wilderness of North Georgia

    Panther Creek Falls in the Cohutta Wilderness

    8.4 miles, round trip

    Score an ultra-scenic adventure in the remote stretches of the Cohuttas on this moderately difficult, two-trail adventure. The hike rolls elevation through a towering hardwood forest blanketed in dense ferns, and drops to the top of a blocky cliff, scoring stunning views from the crest of the plummeting falls.
    Miles from town: 22
    VIEW TRAIL PHOTOS, INFO & MAPS

  • Long Creek Falls on the Appalachian Trail

    Long Creek Falls

    1.9 miles, round trip

    Nestled in the lush, creek-filled valley at Three Forks, and framed in towering hemlock and leathery-leafed rhododendron, Long Creek Falls has long been one of our favorite waterfalls in North Georgia. Hike a short stretch from Three Forks on the Appalachian Trail, following the trail’s iconic white trail blazes to a blue-blazed trail that leads to the cascades on Long Creek.
    MILES FROM TOWN: 24
    VIEW TRAIL PHOTOS, INFO & MAPS

  • Tumbling Waters Nature Trail at Carters Lake

    Tumbling Waters Nature Trail

    1 mile, round trip

    Follow a scenic path on the shores of Carters Lake to a tumbling series of small waterfalls on Tails Creek. The hike crosses a towering wooden bridge to access the falls and catches beautiful lake views along the way.
    MILES FROM TOWN: 28
    VIEW TRAIL PHOTOS, INFO & MAPS

  • Emery Creek Falls: hiking to double North Georgia waterfalls on the Emery Creek Trail

    Emery Creek Falls

    6.2 miles, round trip

    This is easily one of our favorite waterfall hikes in North Georgia. Hike through a vibrant green forest, following the clear cascades of Emery Creek upstream. The trail makes a number of wet creek crossings as it weaves and meanders through thickets of rhododendron and clusters of wildflowers. The hike scores stunning views of the upper and lower falls on Emery Creek, and then flips in reverse to hike the splashy, wet adventure all over again.
    MILES FROM TOWN: 30
    VIEW TRAIL PHOTOS, INFO & MAPS

  • Conasauga River Trail from Betty Gap

    Conasauga River Trail

    13-26 miles, round trip

    This hike lacks a singular enormous waterfall as its main attraction. But it more than makes up with the sheer number of smaller, tumbling falls on its epic length. Follow the Conasauga River Trail northbound from Betty Gap, dropping into the lush river valley that frames the crystal-clear cascades of the Conasauga River. The trail plunges through scores of wet river crossings, and explores some of the most beautiful (and most remote) stretches of the Cohutta Wilderness.
    MILES FROM TOWN: 31
    VIEW TRAIL PHOTOS, INFO & MAPS

  • Gahuti Trail at Fort Mountain State Park

    Gahuti Trail at Fort Mountain State Park

    8.1 miles, round trip

    Packed with stunning summit views and complete with a visit to a tumbling waterfall, this is one incredibly scenic hike. The Gahuti Trail follows a circular path around the summit of Fort Mountain, catching beautiful long-range views into the nearby Cohutta Wilderness from a number of vantage points. Along the way, the hike drops elevation into a rocky creek valley, visiting the cascades on Goldmine Branch Falls. At eight miles, it’s a moderate workout – but what beats multiple scenic mountain views and a waterfall on a single hike?
    MILES FROM TOWN: 33
    VIEW TRAIL PHOTOS, INFO & MAPS

  • 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 Georgia backcountry. Our Atlanta Trails shirts and longsleeves are printed our ultra-soft tri-blend shirts, and they’re our favorite for trail adventures all over the South. Our outdoor apparel reviews feature our favorite trail-worthy hiking boots, running shoes, jackets, and layering essentials for the South. And no matter what you pack in, pack it all back out. Please leave no trace and help preserve Georgia’s beauty.
    OUR HIKING GEAR LIST

More adventures in the Blue Ridge area

Crossed a few falls off your bucket list, and ready for some more adventures in these scenic mountains? The full list of our favorite hikes near Blue Ridge features more of the best trails in the area, including some stunning views from nearby mountaintops and adventures at nearby Fort Mountain State Park and on the Appalachian Trail. Or if you’re up for chasing some more cascades, our Georgia Waterfalls Map features over fifty of our favorite falls throughout our state.

After the adventure, be sure to stop in town for some post-hike merriment. This charming mountain town has some of our favorite places to eat in the North Georgia mountains; check out our favorite things to do in town for some of our favorite restaurants and places to grab a snack. And for more ways to stay, eat, and play in town, visit our friends at blueridgemountains.com.