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Finding beauty off the beaten path

Waterfalls are a popular destination any time of the year, but especially in the fall when the climate is pleasant and autumn leaf color paints a beautiful backdrop.

Georgia is blessed to have hundreds of waterfalls. The majority of 700 waterfalls listed on the website are in the North Georgia Mountains, and are located in the

Chattahoochee National Forest, in state parks, or on private land. Waterfalls in the

national forest or state parks are accessible by anyone, but those on private lands require

permission from the property owners to visit. Most require hiking some distance to reach. However, some can be visited by cars, with short to medium hikes.

Waterfall heights range from tens to hundreds of feet. Some are vertical falls and

others are cascades down steep rock outcrops. The eight photos shown are the types

of waterfalls found in the mountains. Giving road directions to each is complicated,

so their GPS coordinates are listed with each image. Putting these coordinates into a phone or car’s GPS system will lead you to their location.

Dicks Creek Falls

Dicks Creek Falls are on the Chattahoochee National Forest, north of

Dahlonega. Dicks Creek has an upper and a lower waterfall. The lower

Falls, pictured, is next to a forest road with a small parking area above the road. This is a popular location for wading and swimming, but not for diving into the pool. The path from the road to the falls and pool can be slippery, so walk carefully. The GPS coordinates are

34.8673N and 83.9194W.

Anna Ruby Falls

Anna Ruby Falls are accessed through the Unicoi State Park near Helen, Georgia.

Anna Ruby Falls are actually two different streams with separate waterfalls, and the streams join at the base of the falls. On the left, Curtis Creek drops 159 feet. On the right, York Creek drops 50 feet. The falls are reached by a paved one-half mile, uphill path from the parking lot. The falls are on National Forest land, which is leased to the non-profit Cradle of Forestry. A small fee is charged to enter, but the Golden Age pass is accepted. The GPS coordinates are 34.4527N and 83.4237W.

Ada-Hi Falls

Ada-Hi Falls is in Black Rock Mountain State Park in Rabun County. It represents a waterfall fed by small headwater streams, which only flow during wet weather. This small waterfall can be beautiful and is worth visiting. The name Ada-Hi is Cherokee for “forest.” Its elevation is the highest in Georgia. The fall season is a good time to visit because the vistas from Black Rock Mountain are a sea of fall color, some of the best I have seen. There is a short steep trail leading to an observation deck by the falls. During late spring, the trail is surrounded by flowering rhododendron. The GPS coordinates are 34.9046N and 83.4237W.

Helton Creek Falls

Helton Creek Falls are located near Blairsville, where one can see the

upper and lower falls along a short trail from the road. Pictured is the lower portion of the

falls. The GPS coordinates are 34.7170N and 83.9194W.

Desoto Falls

DeSoto Falls are located in the Chattahoochee National Forest in Lumpkin County, along Frogtown Creek. Actually, there are three falls: Upper Desoto Falls (200 ft.), Middle (67 ft.) and Lower (35 ft.). The overall height, including non-vertical falls, cascades, and steep stream bed is 480 feet. The Desoto Falls are named for the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto, who passed through Georgia around 1540. In 1880, a plate of armor was found at the base of the falls. The falls are reached by walking an almost level 1.9-mile trail, which ends at an observation platform. The GPS

coordinates are 34.7170N and 83.9194W.

Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls is located on Falls Creek in Rabun County, Georgia. The

height is 100 feet, where the water cascades over a series of steps in the rock

formation in the forest. Minnehaha Falls is located near Lake Rabun in the Chattahoochee National Forest. The waterfall is named after a character in the epic poem: The Song of Hiawatha. There is a small sign on the roadside to locate the short trail leading to the waterfall. The GPS coordinates are 34.7473N and 83.4803W.

Tallulah Falls

Tallulah Falls are in one of the most spectacular canyons in the Eastern United

States. In the early 1900s, Tallulah Falls was a bustling resort town reached by railroad.

The series of six falls is in Tallulah Gorge, nearly 1,000 feet deep. The Tallulah Gorge State Park has an Interpretive Center, gorge overlooks, hiking and biking trails, and a suspension bridge over the river. Two tightrope walkers have twice crossed the gorge and the towers used by Karl Wallenda are seen along the rim. A permit is required to descend the 700 steps to reach the bridge. In the resort town are art, coffee, and ice cream shops. The GPS coordinates are 34.7437N and 83.3965W.

Toccoa Falls

Toccoa Falls has a vertical drop of 186 feet. It is located on the campus

of Toccoa Falls College in Stephens County. After several days of heavy rain, on November 6, 1977, the Kelly Barnes Lake dam above the waterfall burst, sending 176 million gallons of water through the campus, killing 39 people. The dam has not been rebuilt. The entrance to the falls is through the college book and gift store. The admission fee is a few dollars. The GPS coordinates are 34.5942N and 83.3567W.

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Photos and story by George Dissmeyer, published in the September-October 2021 issue of Lakelife magazine.


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