While the canyons, beaches, and mountain vistas found in Georgia’s state parks are incredible, it’s the waterfalls that truly capture our imagination. Georgia is home to nine state parks, three of which are highlighted below because of their proximity to waterfalls. Let us know if you run across any others!
To see these stunning sights, a road trip across Georgia is in order.
GEORGIA STATE PARKS WITH WATERFALLS
Amicalola Falls is the third-tallest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi and is one of Georgia’s most visited natural attractions. A visit to this state park to see the falls is a must! You can see these spectacular waterfalls from a few different vantage points.
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 years old and older can make the hike down from there, along the falls, but will likely have a difficult time hiking the stairs up from the middle until they are older.
It’s possible to park at the top of the falls and take in the breathtaking panorama, or to park at the bottom and hike up.
The park is located in the Chattahoochee National Forest, just 8 miles from the Appalachian Trail.
The scenery at Tallulah Gorge is stunning. There isn’t a more beautiful canyon in the eastern United States than this one, and it’s right here in Rabun County. Tallulah Gorge is two miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep. Swaying 80 feet above the rocky riverbed, the suspension bridge offers breathtaking views of the river and its many waterfalls. The towers that Karl Wallenda used to cross the gorge on a tightrope are still visible to this day.
Many years ago, I made the trek to the basement, but my henchmen are not yet prepared to follow in my footsteps. Do not fret! The rim hikes are kid-friendly and offer spectacular views of the numerous waterfalls. Pedestrians and cyclists alike can enjoy the paved path that was once a railroad bed, while mountain bikers can tackle the challenging 10-mile trail.
Discover breathtaking scenery and the soothing sound of crashing water as you walk along the trail that runs alongside the falls. Located just 20 minutes from Indian Springs State Park and not far from Macon, Georgia, High Falls State Park is another top destination for yurt campers.
In the warmer months, people flock here to enjoy the outdoors. The Towaliga River flows and rolls through the park, creating a beautiful lake, a board spillway dam, and a multi-tiered waterfall that free-falls over massive rocks and boulders.
Cloudland Canyon State Park, situated on Lookout Mountain’s western edge, is widely regarded as one of Tennessee’s finest natural attractions. The park has a wide variety of natural features for visitors to explore, including canyons that are a thousand feet deep, sandstone cliffs, wild caves, waterfalls, cascading creeks, dense woodland, and plentiful wildlife.
On the trails here, you can see not one but two stunning waterfalls: Cherokee Falls and Hemlock Falls.
There are numerous trails suitable for hiking and mountain biking. The most traveled trails are the short Overlook Trail, the moderate West Rim Loop Trail, and the strenuous Waterfalls Trail (where you can get a good look at the waterfalls).
The Waterfalls Trail is only 2 miles round trip, but it is arduous and includes 600 metal stair steps to get you up close and personal with the waterfalls, so come prepared.
Georgia’s highest state park, Black Rock Mountain State Park, in the North Georgia Mountains contains some of the Blue Ridge Mountains’ most breathtaking scenery. Four hiking trails take guests past wildflower meadows, streams, small waterfalls, and verdant forests, and scenic lookout points along the highway offer views stretching 80 miles.
Trails of varying degrees of difficulty make this a great location for a family get-together.
Ada Hi Waterfall is the most accessible waterfall in Black Rock. It’s only a quarter of a mile long, but the ascent is rather steep. After a rain, this waterfall is at its most spectacular. Along the rugged six-mile Edmunds Backcountry Trail, you’ll find a beautiful waterfall.
Vogel State Park, at the foot of Blood Mountain in the Chattahoochee National Forest, is one of the oldest and most popular state parks in Georgia.
Even though the Vogel waterfall was constructed, it is still a beautiful sight. The trail to the falls is a short detour from the main path, which can be found at the lake’s back. Just another quarter mile or so along the stream’s path will bring you to a spot where you and the kids can wade into the water and splash around in complete safety.
The Bear Hair Gap loop is a popular 4-mile trail, while the lake loop that leads to Trahlyta Falls is easy, and the Coosa Backcountry Trail is a challenging 13-mile route.
A bonus: Helton Creek Falls, one of our favorite summertime destinations, is only two miles north of Vogel.
JOHN JAMES (SLOPPY) FLOYD STATE PARK
It is encircled by the Chattahoochee National Forest and the surrounding countryside. Two of the lakes at James H. “Sloppy” Floyd State Park in northwest Georgia are stocked with fish.
You can’t swim in the pool at the end of the Marble Mine Trail, but it’s still worth the visit. Seeing it after it has rained is optimal. Travelers can swing in swings while keeping an eye out for bluebirds after a day of hiking to the marble mine and the lake loop trails.
State Park of Watson Mill Bridge
Watson Mill Bridge State Park, located in one of Georgia’s most beautiful regions, is home to the state’s longest covered bridge, which stretches 229 feet across the South Fork River.
OK – Perhaps I am taking some liberties here. An artificial waterfall, created by a dam, spills over the edge of Watson Mill here. However, the covered bridge and picturesque lake make this a stop you simply must make. In the hot summer months, many tourists enjoy wading into the river and playing in the shoals below the bridge.
Just outside of bustling Atlanta, you’ll find this tranquil wilderness. To reach the charred remains of the New Manchester Manufacturing Company, a textile mill that burned during the Civil War, visitors to Sweetwater Creek State Park can hike along a path through the woods that parallels the creek.
The trail continues beyond the mill, up rocky bluffs, and eventually offers stunning vistas of the rushing water below. Both the less difficult Red Trail and the more difficult White Trail follow Sweetwater Creek, which features a series of cascades along its length.
IMPORTANT GA STATE PARKS NEAR WATERFALLS
The path to Anna Ruby Falls begins just beyond the gates of Unicoi State Park. Shortly down a paved path, you’ll reach a breathtaking waterfall formed by the confluence of two creeks.
Situated in the Chattahoochee National Forest, these stunning waterfalls can be visited for the low, low price of a few dollars and a short hike. Two creeks combine to form the waterfalls; the Curtis Creek falls drop 153 feet, while the York Creek falls are much shorter at 50 feet but no less impressive for their lack of height.
Unicoi State Park’s centerpiece, Smith Lake, is formed by Smith Creek, which includes the water at the base of the falls.
Nearby Smithgall Woods State Park is home to several waterfalls and hiking trails. There is no better waterfall than Dukes Creek’s. There are two main reasons why Dukes Creek is special to us.
You can reach the breathtaking waterfalls in just over a mile.
In addition, if you stay in one of the park’s stunning cabins, you can access the falls via a different trail.
You should also check out Raven Cliff Falls, which is not far away.
Within walking distance of Moccasin Creek State Park is the road leading to Hemlock Falls Trail, which leads to a breathtaking waterfall at the end of a mile-long trek. (The distance covered in each direction is 4 kilometers.)
This is a great place to take the family on a hike, as both the waterfalls and the trail itself are enjoyable for hikers of all ages.
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