From roaring waterfalls to gurgling cascades, the mountains of North Georgia offer some of the best falls in the United States. Starting in the northeast corner of the state, 7 miles north of Clayton (Rabun County) are Ada-hi Falls, in rugged Black Rock Mountain State Park. Highest in elevation of all Georgia waterfalls, these high mountain falls have a relative low flow except after a rain, when they come to life. (Waterfalls map link at bottom of page)
Traveling south, Georgia's most famous waterfalls, in Tallulah Gorge State Park, have been attracting visitors for hundreds of years. With the gorge dammed by Georgia Power in the early 20th Century, the falls and tourists dried up. Now the site of our state's newest park, the string of 6 waterfalls on the Tallulah River are once again flowing. In 1998 Georgia Power agreed to two different types of releases. Whitewater releases, 500 cubic feet per second of water on Saturday and 700 cfs on Sunday and aesthetic flows, 200 cfs, have started in Tallulah Gorge. During the releases the seven waterfalls in the gorge attain their former beauty. The waterfalls in the western end of Tallulah Gorge can be visited using the Tallulah Gorge Rim Trail.
About three miles south of the gorge is the trailhead to the Panther Creek Falls. These broad, wide falls offer excellent viewing and a challenging hike as well. Further south, on November_6, 1977, beautiful Toccoa Falls turned deadly. A slow moving storm dropped nine inches of rain when Kelly Barnes Dam above the falls gave way. A huge torrent of water poured through the dam and over the falls, killing three people in the dorms of the Toccoa Falls Bible College. Thirty-six persons, many of whom attended the college, perished at a trailer park along the stream.
Throughout the Chattahoochee National Forest many smaller waterfalls make a pleasant end to a hike. Alpine Helen boasts a number of area waterfalls in the vicinity. Dukes Creek Falls Trail (actually the waterfall is on Davis Creek, a tributary) offer a long cascade down a near vertical wall. Gold has been taken from this creek for almost 500 years. Rediscovered in 1828, this led to the Georgia Gold Rush, recognized as America's first Gold Rush, in 1829. Nearby is Raven Cliff Falls Trail, arguably one of the most unusual waterfalls in the world. Water appears to come from a crack in a rock at an unbelievable volume.
Further east and south lies DeSoto Falls, named for Hernando deSoto, the Spanish Conquistador who visited the area in 1540. This hike features two separate falls, both easily accessible. The area was raked by a number of storms in the early 1990's, making the trail to a third falls impassible. When we last checked with the Forest Service, there was no intention to reopen the trail.
Our path continues west to Keown Falls Trail, another example of high-mountain falls, frequently dry, especially at the end of the summer. Rangers in the area post a courtesy sign at the beginning of the path indicating present waterflow.
No mention of waterfalls in Georgia would be complete without a mention of the most famous underground waterfalls in the world. Although not actually in the state, Ruby Falls is a scant two miles north of the border in Chattanooga, Tennessee. These full, rich falls are at the end of paved, level path through Lookout Mountain Caverns. Over the past 70 years these falls have consistently been one of the top attractions in the world.
Our journey is complete. We have traveled more than 300 miles across North Georgia to visit beautiful waterfalls, falls that are related to our history or falls at the end of a challenging hike. The great thing, though, is we haven't
told you about all of them. There are many others to explore. In fact, there's a path right up the road, just around the corner...
North Georgia Naturally North Georgia -- it's a natural! From outdoor adventure to our natural history, About North Georgia covers the area with in-depth articles, photos, and insights into those great, little-known "secrets" of the area.