AMICALOLA FALLS STATE PARK
It?s easy to see why this is one of Georgia?s most popular state parks. Amicalola, a Cherokee Indian word meaning ?tumbling waters,? is an appropriate name for these 729-foot falls ? the tallest east of the Mississippi River. An eight-mile approach trail leads from the park to Springer Mountain, the southern end of the 2,135-mile Appalachian Trail. However, numerous other trails are available for shorter journeys. A beautiful lodge is popular with guests who prefer hotel-type comforts over cottages and camping, while a 5-mile hike leads to more remote accommodations at the Len Foote Hike Inn. Be sure to stop by the park office to see nature displays, live exhibits and a gift shop.
Located in Dawsonville, Georgia, the park was established in 1940. It is home to Amicalola Falls, a stunning waterfall that cascades down over 729 feet. The name "Amicalola" comes from Cherokee language and means "tumbling waters". In addition to its natural beauty, it has been an important site for outdoor recreation since opening.
The Appalachian Trail Approach trail starts here; this path leads hikers towards Springer Mountain - southern terminus of the famous hiking route. Over time facilities have expanded with lodges and campsites added for visitors' convenience.
In recent years there's increased focus on environmental education programs within the park boundaries as well as maintaining biodiversity through conservation efforts.
- Amicalola Falls Lodge: Offers comfortable rooms with stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
- Campsites: 24 wooded campsites available for tents and RVs, some with electricity and water hookups.
- Hike Inn Trail Shelter: A shelter along the trail to The Len Foote Hike Inn that allows camping.
- Pioneer Camping Site: Suitable for large groups; includes picnic tables, a fire ring grill, and access to restrooms/showers.
- Squirrel's Nest Camping Platforms: Two-tiered platforms nestled among trees offering unique outdoor sleeping experience (bring your own tent).
Visitors can enjoy fishing in the park's streams, home to rainbow trout. A Georgia fishing license is required.
Amicalola Falls State Park is located near Ball Ground, Blue Ridge and Dahlonega
1. Amicalola Falls State Park offers numerous picnic spots with stunning waterfall views.
2. Picnic shelters are available for rent, ideal for large gatherings or events.
3. Many picnic areas have grills and tables provided by the park.
4. There's a designated picnicking area near the visitor center with restroom facilities nearby.
5. Visitors can enjoy their meal while watching wildlife like deer and birds in natural surroundings.
- East Ridge Trail: A moderately difficult trail, 1.3 miles long; offers views of the falls and access to other trails.
- West Ridge Falls Access Trail: An easy .5 mile hike that provides a scenic view of Amicalola Falls from an accessible boardwalk.
- Base Of The Falls TraiL: This moderate difficulty trail is about .4 miles in length and leads hikers directly to the base of Amicalola Waterfall for up-close viewing experience.
- Appalachian Approach Trail (8.5-mile): Begins at park visitor center leading through forested areas before reaching Springer Mountain, southern terminus point for famous Appalachian National Scenic Trails; considered strenuous due to its steep sections but rewards with panoramic vistas along route
-Springer Mountain Loop (12-mile loop): Combines parts of Len Foote Hike Inn, AT approach & Benton MacKaye trails providing diverse hiking experiences ranging from waterfalls sightings to mountainous terrains; rated as challenging
-Len Foote Hike Inn Trail(10-miles round trip) : Moderate-to-difficult level path starting near top waterfall's stairs taking you deep into Chattahoochee National Forest towards eco-friendly lodge known as 'Hike-Inn'; popular among overnight backpackers
-Mountain Laurel Loop (.6 Mile Round Trip) - Easy walking nature trial perfect for families or those looking quick stroll amidst beautiful surroundings featuring native plants like Rhododendron & laurel bushes blooming during spring season
-Creek Hollow Trial(.25 Miles One Way)- Short yet picturesque pathway running alongside creek offering peaceful setting ideal relaxation spot after exploring longer routes within state park
The park offers birding opportunities with over 120 species, including warblers and vireos. Birdwatchers can explore various trails or participate in annual bird counts. The on-site lodge provides binoculars for rent.
Pets are allowed in the park but must be kept on a leash not exceeding 6 feet.
Dogs should have current rabies vaccinations and tags visible at all times.
Owners need to clean up after their pets, including waste disposal.
Certain areas of the park may restrict pet access due to wildlife protection or safety concerns.
Pets are not permitted inside any state-owned buildings like visitor centers or lodges.
There might be additional fees for bringing pets into certain camping sites within Amicalola Falls State Park.
Directions from Atlanta, Georgia:
- Start by getting on I-75 N/I-85 N.
- Continue onto GA 400N/US19 North.
- Take exit 17 for Keith Bridge Rd/GA306 toward Gainesville.
- Turn left onto Keith Bridge Road (GA306).
- Follow the road until you reach Browns Bridge Road (GA369).
- Make a right turn at this junction.
- Drive straight and take a slight right to merge with US19-N / GA9-N towards Dahlonega.
- Stay in the lane till Morrison Moore Parkway E where you will make another right turn.
Final stretch of journey:
- Proceed down that route then make yet another sharp-right into South Chestatee Street(US129-South)
- Keep going until reaching Camp Wahsega Road
- Finally, follow signs leading directly to Amicalola Falls State Park