Amicalola Falls State Park is one of Georgia’s most popular state parks and is just a short drive from Atlanta. Read about visiting this awesome state park here.
In this post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the history of Amicalola Falls State Park, what there is to do in the park, and more important tips for visiting.
Amicalola Falls State Park
At the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest, the 829-acre Amicalola Falls State Park is known for its 729-foot waterfall and its trail access to the start of the Appalachian Trail.
The state park is named for a Cherokee word meaning “tumbling waters,” in reference to the park’s famous Amicalola Falls waterfall.
The state purchased Amicalola Falls and the surrounding land in 1911 and established as a state park in 1940. But the park wasn’t really developed until 1958 when the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club decided to move the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail tot he nearby Springer Mountain. A 8.5 mile trail from the base of Amicalola Falls to the top of Springer Mountain provides hikers access to the Appalachian Trail from a major highway.
Located in Dawsonville, Amicalola Falls State Park is about 70 miles from Atlanta and only about a 1 hour and 20 minute drive. The state park is located near popular North Georgia towns like Dahlonega, Helen, and Ellijay.
Dogs and pets are allowed at all Georgia State Parks as long as they’re leashed.
Parking at the state park costs $5. The park is open daily during daylight hours. The park’s office is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Amicalola Falls are the tallest cascading waterfall in Georgia and the Southeast, formed from just a small creek. It is listed as one of Georgia’s 7 Natural Wonders.
To get to the top of the Amicalola Falls waterfall, 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.
Amicalola Falls State Park Facilities
If you’re looking to stay overnight at the park, they have a mountain resort, the Amicalola Falls Lodge, with 57 rooms; 24 wooded tent, trailer, and RV campsites; and 14 cabins with one, two, or three bedrooms. The state park is also where you check in for the Hike Inn, a lodge only accessible via hiking trails.
If you just want to picnic for the day, they offer 5 picnic shelters. You can even dine at the park’s Maple Restaurant.
There’s plenty of space for play at the park’s 2 playgrounds and basketball court.
Amicalola Falls State Park Hikes
Amicalola Falls has various hiking trails rated from easy to strenuous.
- The Appalachian Approach Trail is 1 mile to the base of the falls or 8.3 miles to Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
- The 1 mile East Ridge Trail is the old Appalachian approach trail that takes you to the top of the falls.
- The 1 mile Mountain Laurel Loop is a moderate trail that runs along the ridge above Amicalola Creek.
- The 0.6 mile Creek Trail runs along the creek from the Visitor Center to the Reflection Pool.
- The 0.4 mile Spring Trail connects the parking lot of the West Ridge Falls Access Trail to the Mountain Laurel Loop Trail.
- The 0.3 mile West Ridge Falls Access Trail provides a gently sloping, recycled-tire surface for wheelchairs and strollers and one of the best views of the falls.
- The 1 mile Lodge Fitness Trail has more than 20 exercise stations along the wooded route.
- The 5.5 mile Hike Inn Trail is a moderate trail that provides access to the Hike Inn and requires a permit to hike.
More Things To Do at Amicalola Falls State Park
There are so many more adventurous things to do around the park.
You can test your skills at archery, a tomahawk challenge, or a wilderness survival trip. You can zip over the treetops on the Zip Line Adventure. The park also offers guided hikes, a GPS scavenger hunt, and animal meet and greets.
The park’s Visitor’s Center offers educational displays on the Appalachian Trail, live animals, and a gift shop.
Amicalola Falls State Park FAQ
You can drive to the top of Amicalola Falls and take a short walk from the parking lot at the top to the bridge overlooking the waterfall.
You can see Amicalola Falls without hiking, but there is still a short walk from the parking lot at the top of the falls.
Amicalola Falls State Park is about 77 miles from Atlanta, or a 1.5 hour drive.
The best time to visit Amicalola Falls State Park is in the fall when the trees are changing color. Visit during September-November, but be ware that there may be more crowds at this time of year as well.
Parking at Amicalola Falls State Park costs $5.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Amicalola Falls State Park
Amicalola Falls State Park is an incredible natural wonder that offers an unforgettable experience for nature-lovers.
Located in Georgia’s beautiful Chattahoochee National Forest, only a short drive from Atlanta, this state park is a must-visit. Spend the day picnicking, hiking, or trying out new outdoor activities like archery or zip-lining. For those who want to stay longer, the park offers cabins, a lodge, camping, and a restaurant.
From its 729-foot Amicalola Falls waterfall, to its various trails and activities, the possibilities for adventure and exploration are expansive.
Things to Do Near Amicalola Falls State Park
During your stay at Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge, head out to explore these other great things to do near the state park.
- Visit the Alpine village of Helen — great for getting dinner and feeling like you’ve been transported to Germany.
- Explore apple country in Ellijay — discover Georgia’s Apple Capital with fresh apple picking and an apple festival.
- Visit Dahlonega — pan for gold at the Consolidated Gold Mine or get close to exotic animals at the Chestatee Wildlife Preserve.
Ready to visit Dawsonville, Georgia? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book Your Flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find Accommodation: You can find top cabin rentals in Dawsonville on VRBO.
- Start Packing: Check out my packing list resources so you’re prepared for your trip.
Have you visited Amicalola Falls State Park in Dawsonville, Georgia? Comment below!