Although there are hundreds of waterfalls in the North Georgia Mountains, I have compiled this list of my top 5 easy access waterfalls that most everyone can visit. Each of these I consider a short hike being they’re 1-mile or less.
Blue Hole Falls
This waterfall is the first of two on the High Shoals falls trail just south of Hiawassee, Georgia and one of my favorites to visit. Parking for this trail is located at the trailhead alongside Indian Grave Gap Road with room for 5-6 cars here and parking allowed roadside on busier days. From the trailhead you will begin a gradual descent along a beautiful forest filled trail to the first crossing of High Shoals Creek at 0.6 miles. Continue after crossing the man-made bridge another 0.3 miles to the Blue Hole Falls spur trail on your left. Follow along the spur trail for less than a tenth of a mile to the observation deck at the base of the falls. This is a beautiful waterfall that is quite popular especially in warmer temperatures for swimming and diving in its deep blue pool. For an added bonus you can travel another 0.3 miles along the main trail to the High Shoals Falls which is impressive in itself. Retrace your trek to reach the parking area for a round trip of just under 2-miles. This Is a moderate hike and both family and pet friendly. If you’re a waterfall fan then this is a must visit location.
Being that a State Park bears its name, it gives you an idea what the magnitude of this waterfall truly is. As soon as you enter the park you will immediately be in awe of this 729-foot-tall natural wonder, the tallest cascading waterfall in the south. From the base to the top consist of a 0.5-mile trek climbing roughly 600 steps up a man-made stairway. Although the walk is not an easy one it’s well worth the effort to get a close view of the falls. Along the stairway there are several viewing platforms which are great for photos or just to take a quick break. Once at the top of the falls there are excellent mountain views along with a small pond to enjoy. You have two options for your return to the parking area, one being retracing the stairs for a 1-mile round trip or if you’re a hiker you can take the East Ridge Trail, which has excellent mountain views, and make a loop back to the visitors center and picnic area for a 2-mile loop.
Nearby attractions would include historic downtown Dahlonega, Burt’s Pumpkin Farm and the University of North Georgia.
Lake Trahlyta Falls
Being one of the easiest of the falls to access this surely doesn’t take away from the calming flow of this beautiful waterfall. Located in Vogel State Park in Blairsville, Georgia the waterfall can be accessed from the Lake Trahlyta loop trail leaving the main loop just at the end of the dam. Only a few hundred yards from the dam you will find the observation deck sitting roughly midway up the falls. No matter what the water flow this is always an enjoyable waterfall to sit back and watch or to photograph.
Nearby attractions would include Vogel State Park, Lake Winfield Scott, Mountain Crossings at Walasi-yi and the Blood Mountain section of the Appalachian Trail.
Helton Creek Falls
Located just off of Helton Creek Road in Blairsville, Georgia just south of Vogel State Park sits this dual waterfall gem. Your curiosity will quickly be sparked by a distant view of the upper falls from the parking area. This too is an easy access waterfall that’s just a short 0.3 mile walk through a laurel lined trail to the lower falls. Just up the hill from the lower falls you’ll make a slight climb to the upper falls observation deck which is a popular year round destination for many North Georgia waterfall chasers and photographers.
Nearby attractions would include many trail accesses to the Appalachian Trail, Dukes Creek Falls and the Alpine Village town of Helen, Georgia.
Long Creek Falls
A popular destination for day hikers this secluded waterfall is the smallest on my list but doesn’t lack in merit. From the trailhead, located just off of FS Road 58(Noontootla Road) in Fannin County, GA., your hike travels northeast along the Appalachian Trail and Benton MacKaye Trail which converge just south of the trailhead. The trail meanders through a scenic laurel filled forest traveling just above the tranquil sounds of Long Creek. At just under 1-mile from the trailhead you’ll find the falls spur trail to your left. Once on the spur trail in less than a tenth of a mile the waterfall will come into view. There are several large boulders surrounding the base of the falls that make a great place for a picnic or to just relax and enjoy the view. Retrace the trail to return to the trailhead for just under a 2-mile hike.
Nearby attractions would include the Three Forks section of the AT, Noontootla Creek Farms and the Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
In closing, I hope I have given you new ideas for your next North Georgia adventure. If you have the opportunity to visit any of the waterfalls on this list or one of the many in North Georgia I’m confident you won’t be disappointed. Now it’s time to get out there and explore.