Amicalola Falls is a little over an hour’s drive from Atlanta. The falls are near Dawsonville, Georgia which is the home of the upscale North Georgia Premium Outlet Mall.
Enjoy our favorite combination for a weekend getaway . . . great outdoor hiking trails combined with more city-like activities of shopping for bargains.
Amicalola Falls is also close to the quaint town of Dahlonega where you can pan for gold. If you are lucky, you could come back richer than you left.
Nestled in the Chattahoochee National Forest, over a million visitors come to the park each year. Amicalola Falls is the most visited state park in Georgia and considered one of the Seven Wonders of Georgia. Spectacular waterfalls, wonderful accommodations and walking trails for all abilities are its appeal.
Georgia has many wonderful state parks but in our opinion Amicalola Falls is the best choice for a vacation stay.
Upon arrival to this state park, your first stop should be the visitor’s center where you can pick up maps, buy gifts and ask questions.
Where to Stay at Amicalola Falls
In the good old days, we used to camp but now we opt for a little more luxury. Surprisingly, this Georgia State Park has an incredible lodge which includes a restaurant with scenic views. You can’t go wrong staying at the lodge.
You will have the opportunity to meet serious hikers since this is the starting point for the over 2,000 mile Appalachian Trail.
If you want a hike of a lifetime, you can start here and hike all the way to Maine.
Don’t be intimidated by the backpacks and heavy duty gear of some visitors because Amicalola Falls is even more popular with day hikers. There are miles of beautiful forest trails for casual walkers and even wheelchair accessible trails.
If you want to get your stair climbing in, there is a trail with a killer staircase that you can climb for a scenic view of the waterfalls.
Hikers are friendly in the south so it is easy to strike up conversations to compare notes and get tips from other nature lovers.
As you might have guessed, the main attraction of Amicalola Falls is the breathtaking 729 foot water fall
In comparison Niagara Falls is a mere 167 feet. Amicalola Falls is the tallest waterfall in the Southeast.
Several years ago we had a mini-van that was on its last legs. The Amicalola Falls trip did it in.
Make sure you have a reliable vehicle with good brakes because the roads are very steep.
Tour Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge by watching this video
Pictures are worth a thousand words. You will see the scenic views, waterfalls, trails, visitors center, restaurant and lodge accommodations in this video:
Instead of the usual guide book to hiking trails of Georgia, we recommend reading the very popular “A Walk in the Woods” by travel author Bill Bryson before you visit.
No one can spin a yarn about hiking the Appalachian Trail like Bill Bryson. Bill walked the Appalachian Trail in sections. He intertwined a lot of facts and trivia about the trail in between witty commentary of his hike.
In fact, listening to the audio book as you drive to the falls would be a fun way to prepare for your adventure. Everyone in the car will be laughing.
I especially loved Bill’s overweight and out of shape walking buddy Stephen Katz. At the beginning of their journey, Stephan flung most of their supplies to lighten his backpacking load. Their banter was hilarious.
Amazon gives you a few chapters to preview the book for free. Click here or click on the book picture for the free preview.
Map to Amicalola Falls in Dawsonville, Georgia
Here is a Google map with driving directions to help you find your way. Enjoy your stay.
Creative Commons Flickr Photos of Amicalola Falls courtesy of Clinton Steeds, J Stephen Conn, Sean Morgan, mpsutt