Camping & Hiking Amicalola Falls Park
Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia is a great place to camp or practice hiking the Appalachian Trail.
The park consists of three easy to moderate hiking trails that approach the famous Appalachian Trail.
Amicalola Falls is located in Dawsonville, Georgia, about 14 miles west of Dahlonega on Georgia Highway 52. Plunging down 729 feet to the ground, Amicalola is the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi River.
The Amicalola Falls Lodge offers camping for tents and RVs. There are also 14 cottages, which may be reserved. Cafeteria-style meals are also served at the lodge. For anyone planning to hike the Appalachian Trail, this park is a great area to practice and break in equipment.
All trailheads are easy to locate either at or near the visitor center near the foot of the falls. Hikes can also be started from the lodge.
Base of the Falls Trail
This is an easy paved trail, 0.4 miles long. Spring flowers abound along this trail from March through May. Some of the trees blooming early in the spring are dogwood, maple, and yellow poplar.
Two observation platforms along the path have benches for resting. The platforms are also great areas from which to view wildlife. The base of the Falls Trail is popular with visitors and therefore it’s heavily used.
East Ridge Spring Trail
This trail is about 1.3 miles one way and begins at the visitor center. It climbs about 1,000 feet to the Falls Overlook. The trail breaks out onto the old logging/service road with a moderately steep grade until it reaches the Amicalola Falls Lodge. It continues behind the lodge to the Falls Overlook, which features a fantastic view of the surrounding mountains.
The path continues at the Appalachian Approach Trail and proceeds for about 7 miles to Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. From the Falls Overlook, those not interested in the Appalachian Trail can take the West Ridge Spring Trail down the mountain to the visitor center or return down the same East Ridge Spring Trail.
West Ridge Spring Trail
The trail is about 1.7 miles and is broken into several loops that are well marked. From the beginning of the trail, there are “Nature Trail” signs that lead to the West Ridge Spring Trail. The trail is easy to moderate and meanders through a dense hardwood forest and open, pine, and oak ridge exposures.
Most people believe the best time to visit Amicalola Falls State Park is in the spring or fall. However, the trails are open all year and can be breathtaking in the winter with snow on the ground.