Georgia State Parks offer many wonders like canyons, beaches and mountain views, but our hearts and souls still seek out waterfalls whenever possible. Below are 9 state parks with waterfall hikes, plus three more worth noting due to their proximity. Let us know if you run across any others.
Probably Georgia’s most popular waterfall, it is the tallest cascade this side of the Mississippi River. Park at the lot in the middle of the falls for a short kid-friendly walk to the bridge overlooking the falls. Kiddos about 5 yo and older can make the hike down from there, along the falls. We probably won’t hike the stairs up from the middle until the boys are 9 or 10.
I hiked to the floor many years ago, but my minions are not ready for that yet. No worries! The rim hikes provide excellent views of the myriad falls, and they are easy on little legs.
Travel the trail along the falls for spectacular views and peaceful rumbling sounds. This park is also a popular yurt camping option, and is only about 20 minutes from Indian Springs State Park.
You’ll discover two attractive falls along the trails here: Cherokee Falls and Hemlock Falls. The hike is only 2 miles, but it is strenuous, so be prepared.
The easiest waterfall to view at Black Rock is Ada Hi. It is a short 1/4 mile hike, though it is steep. This waterfall is best viewed after a rain. You’ll also find a waterfall along the difficult 6-mile Edmunds Backcountry Trail.
The waterfall at Vogel is manmade, but nevertheless a pretty site. Hike to the back of the lake for a short off-shoot trail to the falls. If you continue the hike along the stream for a bout 1/4 mile, there is a spot that you and the kids can enter the stream for some fun and safe water play.
Bonus: Only 2 miles north of Vogel is Helton Creek Falls, one of our favorite places to spend a summer day.
Explore the Marble Mine Trail, which ends at a water pool (you can’t swim here) with a trickling waterfall. It’s best viewed after a rain.
Watson Mill Bridge State Park
OK – Maybe I’m cheating here a bit. This is a manmade cascade coming off the dam at Watson Mill. But with the covered bridge and gorgeous lake, this is a can’t-miss stop.
The following Georgia State Parks are so close to great waterfalls that they deserve a mention, too!
Just outside the entrance of Unicoi State Park you’ll find the road to Anna Ruby Falls. A short paved trail leads to the marriage of two creeks and a spectacular waterfall.
Just around the corner from Smithgall Woods State Park you’ll find several waterfalls and hikes. We love Dukes Creek for two reasons. 1. It’s an easy 1-mile walk to the gorgeous falls and 2. You can take a different approach trail to the falls from within the park if you are staying in one of their breathtaking cabins.
Only a few hundred yards down the road from Moccasin Creek State Park you’ll find the road to Hemlock Falls Trail, with stunning cascades at the end of the 2-mile hike.
After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.
Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.