One of Georgia’s most popular state parks and just a short drive from Atlanta, Amicalola Falls State Park was an excellent choice for our second stop in our Year of Georgia State Parks.
Wielding our annual Georgia State Park Pass, we coasted right into the 829 acre Amicalola Falls State Park for a Sunday afternoon hike. The park is named for a Cherokee word meaning “tumbling waters,” in reference to the 729 foot Amicalola Falls waterfall. The falls are the tallest cascading waterfall in Georgia and the Southeast, formed from just a small creek.
To get to the top of the falls, you can either hike or drive. A drive along Amicalola Falls Lodge Road takes you to the upper lookout over the top of the falls. The mountain-top Amicalola Lodge offers hotel comforts and views of the valley below. 7.5 miles from here is the southern start of the Appalachian Trail at the top of Springer Mountain. A 5 mile hike leads to the eco-friendly Len Foote Hike Inn, the state’s only backcountry lodge.
For hiking from the Visitor’s Center, you have the options of the East Ridge Trail and the Appalachian Approach Trail. The East Ridge Trail takes you on a moderate one mile hike to the top of the falls. The Appalachian Approach Trail takes you to the base of the falls and then up a series of 604 steps to the overlook at the top of the falls.
The park’s Visitor’s Center offers educational displays on the Appalachian Trail and live animals as well as featuring a gift shop. Nearby are the alpine village of Helen, the Dahlonega Gold Mines, and Ellijay Apple Country.
What’s your favorite Georgia State Park? Comment below!