When the drought plaguing the South ends head over to Amicalola Falls State Park near Dawsonville, Ga.  We recently visited the tallest waterfall in Georgia looking for pretty fall colors, a challenging hike and the beginning of the Appalachian Trail.

While the colors weren’t as vibrant or plentiful we were definitely in for a challenge when it came to the hiking.  After checking out the visitor’s center and the marker for the Appalachian approach trail, we headed up to the falls.  You can hike from the visitor’s center or choose spots along the way.

There are 600 plus steps and it was packed with fellow hikers and fall foliage seekers.

If you want to head over there and take the kids with you, then check out these tips:

The hike is strenuous – You can cut the hike (basically 604 steps) into chunks. You can walk down the steps, drive to the top and walk down, then have someone pick you up.

Take water – You’ll need to take water. This is cardio even if you’re moving slow, so your mouth will dry out, no matter the climate.

Landing spots (a.k.a. take a break spots) – There are small landing areas on switchbacks every few feet.  Keep in mind these get crowded quickly, especially on crowded days.

Photography spots – There are two major platform viewing areas and one overlook at the top.

Georgia State Parks Junior Ranger program – Get the free activity books in the visitor center.  Do some of the activities and you’ll earn free badges according to levels completed. You will need to get the books back to the visitor’s center before 5 p.m. for a ranger to ‘grade’ the book.

Don’t miss the ‘Head of the Appalachian Trail’ marker behind the visitor’s center.

The visitor’s center has a number of live animals, snakes, frogs etc.

There’s a penny smasher machine.  (We do these instead of souvenirs)

Parking is limited by the center, you may need to make your own spot, depending on how crowded it is.Parking at the midway and top of the mountain points are just as bad.

Look for Appalachian Trail ‘through hikers’ – Some are friendly and may chat about their journey etc.

Bathrooms were disgusting in my opinion.  They were on the outside of the visitor’s center.  Horribly maintained and trash everywhere.  That is my only complaint.

Park details:

Only fee – $5 parking fee


Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge
280 Amicalola Falls State Park Road
Dawsonville, GA 30534



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