My favorite kind of day? Jumping in the car with my boys and seeking out one of Georgia’s new (to us) waterfalls!
We love the easy ones, the hidden ones — the roadside spills, and the falls flowing deep within the forest. We love wading in them, swimming in them, and splashing in them.
“Magical” is an overused word — but it perfectly describes this list of our favorite waterfalls in GA!
North Georgia’s Most Magical Waterfall: Denton Branch Falls
I am sharing my heart with you today, folks. This is my favorite secret spot in all of Georgia (so far).
I found Denton Branch Falls by searching chat rooms, hiking forums, and patching together a few half-cocked blog posts out there. I ventured out with my kiddos — which was scary at first because there is NO cell or data service out here — and validated what I learned.
This secret treasure is close to the NC border. It isn’t in a park or on a WMA. I’m not really sure who the property belongs to. I am pretty certain the city is Clayton, although I have heard it called Tate City (not to be confused with the granite town of Tate).
The hike is only about 3/10 of a mile in. The surrounding forest is quiet and dense, filled with ferns and mushrooms and moss. It isn’t an easy hike, which made it more fun and interesting for the kids. Elliot (when he was 2 years old) was able to do it himself, so it isn’t torturous or steep — there just isn’t a well-worn path.
You can hear the falls as you approach. The falls drop about 30 feet into a boulder-filled pool. No one was there when we visited. (I imagine this is usually the case.) It’s fun to swim when the weather is warm; bring water shoes to keep your feet from slipping on rocks.
In my mind, this spot holds magical power. It is secluded, there is a hike, there is a waterfall where the kids can swim — it doesn’t get better than that in my mind.
PS. You will pass a few remote camping locations, including Sandy Bottoms Campground.
Directions to Denton Branch Falls
Head west on US76 until you get to Persimmon Road. Turn left on Persimmon and go 4 miles. Here, turn left again onto FS70 (also, Tallulah Falls Rd.). By this time, you really think you are in the wrong place.
After a few miles, the road continues but it turns into a single-lane dirt road with awesome houses/properties. You’re in the sticks, but you’re not lost.
After 6 miles, you’ll see Chapple Lane on the right. Almost immediately after that driveway named Chapple Lane, is a “road” on the right. There is no road sign. I’ve seen it called Ginando on my Waze app and Denton Branch Road on another site.
In Spring, when growth is high, it might not look like a road, but just a break in the trees. I went down this road on a wet day in my mini van. You might not think you can make it…but you can. You’ll go down about 1/10th of a mile and see a clearing on the right where you can park your car. From there you head off on foot deeper into the forest until you get to the creek.
Cross the creek (foot only) and the hike begins.
Falls on Waters Creek: A Large Hidden Waterfall You’ll Love
While the name of these falls is debatable, there is no denying their beauty! We found these tumbling waters by accident this fall. The autumn is a great time to enjoy them, but I am looking forward to revisiting this summer.
You can get to the bottom of the falls, with a wonderful swimming area, and the top of the falls, with another swimming area. There is also a secondary falls above the one pictured here. Not as large, but just as pretty.
Some people have called this Dicks Creek Falls, but I don’t think that’s correct. Dicks Creek Falls is actually about an hour away off Warwoman Rd. near the town of Clayton. This waterfall is located about 20 minutes south of Vogel State Park near Dahlonega. I think it’s often mistaken for Dicks Creek Falls because this river is at the convergence of Waters Creek and Dicks Creek.
Regardless of what it’s called, it’s amazing. So how do you get here?
Directions to Falls on Waters Creek
Take US 19/129 west. When that splits, follow US19 west for 1/2 mile. You’ll see signs for Chestatee WMA and see an older church, Mt. Pisgah Baptist. Take a hard right here, onto FS34. At about 2.6 miles you’ll see a view of the falls. Keep going a little further and you’ll see a parking area on the right. There is a path on the left side of the road to get to the falls.
I only learned after returning home to research this, that there are more falls here, too. I haven’t been, but here is what I read: Hike or drive about 7/10 of a mile more up the road to an old logging road on the right before FS34 fords Crow Mountain Creek. Park here and follow the logging road 8/10 of a mile.
Parking here is $2 last I looked. We have a WMA/GORP annual pass so I haven’t checked to see if the daily rate has changed. Dogs are welcome here.
So whatever you call it, just be sure to visit. And I would be remiss if I didn’t heed warning from my friend at Happy Trails Wild Tales. This is a magical place. Be sure to take care of it when you visit. Pack out what you bring in, and respect the area.
Minnehaha Falls: Perfect for Family Fun
Minnehaha Falls is one of the best kiddo falls in North Georgia! (Side note before we get started: Helton Creek Falls is the other kid-tastic waterfall in the mountains!)
You’ll take a gravel road around the backside of Lake Rabun. Don’t miss the knock-out lake homes along the way. The trailhead will sneak up on you — the clue is a stairway up the side of the mountain on the left. The banister is made of wood, and someone has carved the waterfall name in the side, spelled incorrectly. By the way, I think the correct pronunciation is Minnie-ha-ha!
The walk to the falls is very short — less than a quarter mile — but you will have to traverse a steep stairway (only a handful of steps) and some rooted pathways. At only a half mile round trip, my 2-year-old handled it with ease.
I was pushed to visit when Atlanta Trails posted about it recently. His photos are grand, but nothing compares to seeing it in person. It is much larger than I imagined. There is plenty of space for kids to splash, and a few sections of rock-made fun slides. It’s seriously one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Georgia.
You’ll find a concrete area and bench in front of the falls, so bring a picnic and spread out for the day enjoying the water.
I think my favorite part of our visit, aside from seeing my boys have so much fun, was seeing the diverse groups of people enjoying the water. We saw a group of college guys climb to the top. We saw a couple climb to the mid-point and do yoga and meditation. We met another family. (I’m an introvert but my oldest never meets a stranger. Anyone on the trail with kids is a target!)
Directions to Minnehaha Falls
Don’t let summer slip by without visiting this gem. My GPS of choice is Waze, and it took me right to the trail head by typing in Minnehaha Falls. The gravel road is named Bear Gap Road, or the link above takes you to Atlanta Trails with GPS coordinates.
Toccoa Falls: A Great Roadside Attraction Waterfall
Toccoa Falls drops 186 feet in a free fall to the earth — that’s taller than Niagra Falls!
This beautiful waterfall is tucked away on the property of Toccoa Falls College. I’d call it more of a “roadside attraction” than a hike. You’ll drive to the back of the college, to the Visitor Center. Pay a small fee — kids 6 and under are free, my entry was $2. The Visitor Center is also a store with everything from Bibles to Eno hammocks. You’ll find a few snacks here, but a restaurant is in the same building for weekend visitors.
After you pay, head through the back door. The walk to the falls is about a quarter mile. It is a wide, flat, gravel path following the creek. I saw a few strollers on the path that seemed to be handling the terrain with ease.
As you approach the falls, you will see a special memorial dedicated to lives that were lost when dam at the lake above the falls faltered in 1977. It’s a sober reminder of the powerful forces of nature.
The falls are beautiful, and you can get pretty close to them. Boulders in front of the creek are fun for climbing and taking photos. There appeared to be plenty of water falling from above, but research has suggested it runs thin this time of year and that it is much wider in Spring.
One thing to note is that you’re not allowed to play or get in the water below the falls. This is merely for enjoying the scenery — so coming in the fall or winter may make staying out of it easier for kids to handle!
Amicalola Falls: Georgia’s Tallest Waterfall
You can’t think about visiting an amazing Georgia waterfall without immediately thinking about Amicalola Falls at Amicalola Falls State Park.
Amicalola Falls is a 729-foot waterfall located in the Chattahoochee National Forest near Dahlonega. These falls are magnificent and beautiful anytime of the year, but especially in the fall with the changing leaves all around.
The approach trail to the southernmost point of the Appalachian Trail starts at the crest of this waterfall — giving hikers either a magnificent beginning or ending to their epic hike.
There are a couple ways to see these falls. You can park at the bottom, and take a short hike up a paved trail to see it from below. You can park at the top, and take a look out over the falls from the bridge. But to really see all the beauty these falls have to offer, you need to get your stair stepping shoes on!
From either the top or the bottom, you can choose to hike the 604 steps — and see the falls up close in a whole new way. (There’s a landing at 175 steps from the bottom, so you can take a breather and pics!) It’s beautiful, tiring, and gives you immediate bragging rights.
Our Other Favorite Waterfalls In Ga
This is only a sample of our favorite waterfalls. Here are a few others we encourage you to visit:
- Helton Creek Falls
- Raven Cliff Falls
- Anna Ruby Falls
- High Falls
- High Shoals Falls
- 5 Kid-Friendly Falls
- Georgia State Parks with Waterfalls
- Other Waterfalls and Vista Views
Discover Georgia’s Waterfalls Apps
Do you love heading into the North Georgia Mountains looking for beautiful waterfalls? Now there’s help at your fingertips!
The Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber & Visitors Bureau in collaboration with 365 Total Marketing introduced a FREE Georgia Waterfalls iPhone app this month. The app is called Discover Georgia’s Waterfalls and is available through the Apple Store and will soon be available through Google Play.
You’ll find a photo and description, a live map and directions via integration with Google Maps.
The following waterfalls are included in the first version of the new Georgia Waterfalls app:
Fannin County – Long Creek Falls, Fall Branch Falls, Sea Creek Falls and Jacks River Falls
Habersham County – Panther Creek Falls, Raper Creek Falls
Lumpkin County – Clay Creek Falls, Cane Creek Falls, Black Falls, High Shoals on Walden Creek, Dicks Creek, Falls on Blood Mountain Creek, and Desoto Falls
Rabun County – Ada-Hi Falls, Ammon Reek Falls, Angel Falls and Panther Falls, Bad Branch Falls, Becky Branch Falls, Bull Sluice, Darnell Falls, Dicks Creek, Hemlock Falls, Holcomb Creek Falls, Hurricane Falls and others in Tallulah Gorge, Martin Creek Falls, Minnehaha Falls, Mud Creek Falls, and Stonewall Creek Falls
Stephens County – Toccoa Falls, Hendersdon Falls, Cedar Creek Falls
Towns County – High Shoals Falls, Cupid Falls
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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.
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