Amicalola Falls State Park, near Dahlonega
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Amicalola Falls State Park has several trails that can be combined to make a beautiful hike. We took the East Ridge Trail, a very steep trail that leads through forest and then past sweeping views of layered mountains to the top of the waterfall. If you walk straight out the back of the visitor center you are on this trail. We then took the Appalachian Approach Trail back down, which is a staircase that hugs the falls. What a joy! This hike is one mile up and one mile down. There are plenty of benches on the way down where you can stop and catch your breath or rest your knees!
On the East Ridge Trail, keep your eyes open for rocks that look like they have gold in them! They are made of mica. You will also spot wildflowers growing alongside the path.
Partway down the Appalachian Approach Trail you come to a spot where the stairs end and there is a stream. Kids enjoy puttering on the shore here. There is a bench swing where the whole family can rest.
At the visitor center is a picnic area with a playground surrounded by lovely trees.
If you'd like, you can also drive to the top of the falls and look down, but that's cheating! It is a great option, though, if you need it. And there are less steps to climb if you'd like to just walk down to the first viewing platform beneath the falls.
Amicalola Falls are the highest falls in Georgia, at 729 feet. Amicalola means "tumbling waters" in Cherokee.
A lovely place to explore half an hour away is the college town of Dahlonega.
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Amicalola Falls State Park is located at 280 Amicalola Falls State Park Rd, half an hour drive northwest of Dahlonega.
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Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.