I’ve been wanting to hike Raven Cliff Falls for a while, especially when it showed as a Best North Georgia Hiking Trail on Atlanta Trails. At a moderate five miles, I didn’t want to make the Helen, Ga hike without hubby, though. Luckily he was able to go with us during Christmas vacation. I am thrilled that we visited for the first time during winter so that we could more easily see the river and the myriad waterfalls. It was breath-taking.
The day before we were to head out, I gave a shout on Facebook looking for tips. Several people commented that it was too difficult a hike for their kids…kids older than mine! I was worried. But you know me, it’s not fun unless it’s an adventure. Plus 365 Dad was there…so off we went.
For the most part, it felt like a flat walk…maybe a shallow incline. The paths were mostly clear, with a few areas of root congestion. With the river on the left as you ascend, you pass waterfall after waterfall after waterfall. I could not get over the beauty of this forest…then I remembered that this is the same forest I fell in love with last February as we hiked Dukes Creek and stayed in a cabin at Smithgall Woods.
It is only the very last part of the trail that gave us pause. About 1/4 to 1/8 a mile before the “official” end of the trail you will come to the bottom falls of Raven Cliff. With a steady foot you’ll be able to make your way over and sit atop the rock that highlights the waterfall. You’ll have a vertical climb to reach the next fall…About 1/3 of the way up this mountainside is the second fall, barely visible through a break in the rock. It is here that you see the middle falls from the vantage of it’s most popular photos. We were able to make it this far…even the 2 year old walked himself (while we held his hand.)
Only the dedicated and adventurous will make it to the third falls. If you want to continue to the top, you’ll climb a steep rock mountain side…about 100 feet in elevation over about 1/8 a mile. While I was contemplating the climb alone, we spoke with another family there. The dad told me that it was very rough (and he looked quite able.) He did not recommend it, so I took heed and stopped the adventure here.
This is a magnificent hike that you will not want to miss. Except for the last 1/8 mile of the climb, I would call it easy. It was far easier than Blood Mountain or Indian Seats. Even if you, like me, don’t make it to the highest falls, you will not be disappointed with this hike.
Lucky me (and lucky you!) Santa gifted me a GoPro for Christmas this year. This is our first GoPro film; it will give you a great idea about this hike and the terrain.
Where to Stay Near Raven Cliff Falls
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