Amicalola River Trail: A Dreamy Swimming Hole You Can’t Miss

Amicalola River Trail | Dawsonville, Ga

Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area
Hyw 53 West
Dawsonville, Ga

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Amicalola River Trail

I’m going to let you in on a secret; that’s how much I like you all. Amicalola River Trail/The Edge of the World/ Fern City…it goes by many names, but whatever you call it, it’s awesome.  This large outcrop of rocks makes the perfect picnic place, complete with swimming hole, rock slides, and all out fun.  We’ve been visiting here for almost eight years, and it only gets better.

Follow directions on the link above to get to the parking lot.  New since 2012, you will need to pay…this is a fee area.  Here’s the catch: there is no fee station here.  You must purchase a pass before you go. A day-pass is $3, or you can purchase an annual pass (which we have and love.)  Do this online and immediately print out your pass or if your printer is broken like mine was, write your temporary ID on a large piece of paper and place it in your window. You can purchase either a GORP or WMA pass, whichever is better for you…they both work here.

UPDATE: According to the GADNR website, GORP passes are no longer available. We haven’t been since this change (July 1, 2017) so I am unsure of the implication for this trail. As soon as I can get in touch with a GADNR official, I will update the info here.

The trail is 2.9 miles long, but I’ve never hiked the whole thing. The rocks are the draw.  From the parking lot, head down the stairs to the trailhead.  You’ll follow the new ADA-compliant boardwalk for about a half-mile (my best guess.)  When the boardwalk ends, you can catch a spectacular view of the rapids from a small observation deck.

Don’t stop here.  Follow the rough-terrain trail for a few hundred more feet. It will split, with the Amicalola River Trail following the top split to the left.  You want to take the fork to the right in order to head to the boulders.  It’s not easy…but I managed it with two small kiddos, a pack, a camera, and a lunch bag. If I can do it, you can do it!

Bring your swim suits, a camera, and lunch.  Don’t bring alcohol; don’t ask me how I know this law.


Amicalola River Trail

Amicalola River Trail

Amicalola River Trail


Amicalola River Trail

Amicalola River Trail

Amicalola River Trail

Disclosure: No one paid me to write this; I just like to hike and share. No one comped me the WMA pass, although maybe I should have asked (joking, joking.) As always, if I didn’t think it was killer, I wouldn’t write about. #keepingitreal

14 Comments on "Amicalola River Trail: A Dreamy Swimming Hole You Can’t Miss"

  1. Barb Halaburt | 05/08/2015 at 11:58 am |

    I love your article on the Amicalola River Trail. I am rather familiar with this general area, but have never heard of this trail. Thanks for sharing!

    I enjoyed your writing and was curious if you have a blog? I could not find any source for the author of the article. Would love to follow you if you have a blog.

  2. Danielle | 05/17/2017 at 6:35 pm |

    Hi, I am heading to Elijah with my family in july. I really want to rock slide safely, I called the actual park and they have no clue where this is and I can not find anything on Google about this place. Sounds awesome!! Can u give me anymore info? Please

    • Lesli Peterson | 05/17/2017 at 6:50 pm |

      Hey Danielle – It’s not part of the Amicalola State Park…just shares the same name. I think the post includes the address, and that you’ll need a GORP or WMA pass. Any other specifics you need? Happy to update the post with more info…

  3. Carolyn Litke | 05/28/2017 at 7:31 pm |

    Thank you for the great article, two questions.
    Is this dog-friendly and when I try to purchase the GORP I am not sure what I need to purchase. Is it per person or per car not sure I understand from the link what to purchase.

    • Lesli Peterson | 05/28/2017 at 7:46 pm |

      Thanks! Yes…plenty of dog-loving wonder there for them!
      You are looking for the “Access Only” GORP pass…Go here:
      then click on “Licenses and Permits”
      You’ll need to either access your account or create one…
      Then it will take you to your profile – and a place to pick a ton of different passes. You’ll pick the Recreation Pass (daily or yearly)

      I hope that helps…

  4. Sarith eang | 06/19/2017 at 6:49 pm |

    Are we allow to grill there?

  5. I’d really like to visit, but have searched for almost 2 hours online to purchase a recreation pass. The only thing that the link above offers is hunting/fishing licenses and a $30 Lands Permit. What am I missing?

  6. Licensce/pass requirements – I just spoke to an agent: You must now have a hunting or fishing license to access the site legally. The only way to do this if you aren’t actually a hunter or fisher is to get the “COMBO HUNTING & FISHING LICENSE” for an apprentice for 1 day. It’s $5 per person 16 and older.

  7. Great article. While it is a bit unfortunate we have to pay to use these outdoor treasures I think it has almost become a necessity to keep the areas pristine and from becoming trashed. We used to have a few spots we liked to hit – one near Watkinsville. It got so trashed the county had to fence it off. I’ll have to hit this place some time.

  8. , do we need a pass? If so do I go to one of those websites above to purchase one? Thank you in advance

  9. My comment above cut off we are not going fishing or hunting do we still need a license or parking pass?

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