If you live in the Southeast USA or are visiting Atlanta, here’s your nudge to add Amicalola Falls State Park to your travel list! It’s a fantastic place to get out in nature, do a bit of hiking (although you can totally see the best sights without a long hike!) and maybe have a little extra adventure.
The state park is named for Amicalola Falls, an impressive waterfall that is the main attraction in the park. But there are plenty of other things to do there too — from ziplining to survivalist camp!
Amicalola Falls State Park is located in North Georgia, tucked in the Chattahoochee National Forest and the North Georgia Mountains just northeast of Dawsonville, GA.
Entrance to the park requires a Georgia Parks Pass, which is $5 at the gate per vehicle for day use. It is accessible year-round during daylight hours. The visitor center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day.
Seeing Amicalola Falls
Amicalola Falls, the namesake for the State Park, is the tallest waterfall and Georgia and is obviously the biggest attraction there. It is truly a glorious site, and there are multiple locations to take it in from.
There are three main viewing areas for the falls: the bottom, middle, and top. You can hike the incline to each of these sections (including a great amount of stairs), but you can also drive and park at each of these sections and make just a short walk to the viewing areas.
If you want to start at the bottom, go straight after passing the visitor’s center and park in the parking lot by the Reflection Pool. Here you can see the waterfall from a distance — and it looks so small up on top of the mountain!
From here, you can climb to the middle section — up an approach trail and then up 175 steps. (Let’s just say, we did not do this with our child who happened to be a bit cranky and hungry when we were there. But I’ve done it before and it’s perfectly doable for a family, although definitely a climb.)
The middle section is where you will get the best view of the falls. If you didn’t hike there, you can drive up the mountain (turn immediately left across from the visitor’s center) and park in the West Ridge Falls Access Trail parking lot.
The West Ridge Falls Access Trail is a .3 mile ADA compliant trail that takes you to the middle section of the waterfall, right beneath the most dramatic part of the falls. There is a bridge you can stand on to admire and take pictures too.
If you want to keep going up to the top, you can take the West Ridge Staircase — 425 stairs. Or get back in your car, which is 100% what we did.
At the top section of Amicalola Falls you’ll get gorgeous views of the North Georgia mountains. This is also where the lodge, campgrounds, and most other activities are located.
If you don’t want to take the 425 stairs (which, remember, you would have to take back down again), you can drive and park at the top. There is a picnic area along with an overlook area for you to enjoy.
Other Activities at Amicalola Falls State Park
Amicalola Falls State Park isn’t only about visiting Amicalola Falls. There are also tons of other activities to do!
There is, of course, lots of hiking at the park. From the trails that go up the side of the waterfall, to other trails around the mountain, to even an approach trail to the Appalachian Trail, there is a variety of hiking! A map can be found here.
Amicalola Falls State Park also has several other unique activities including:
- Animal Meet and Greets
- Guided Hikes
- Survivalist Camp
More information on these additional activities can be found here.
Amicalola Falls State Park Lodging and Camping
Not only can you explore Amicalola Falls on a day trip, you can also stay there!
I haven’t done this, but I would really like to. The lodge looks beautiful, with wide windows looking out over the mountains.
Here are options for accomodations:
Amicalola Falls State Park Lodge — a hotel with 57 rooms, many of which have sweeping mountain views.
Cabins — Amicalola Falls State Park has 14 cabins that range from 1, 2, or 3 bedrooms. Nine of the cabins are located on the top of the mountain, while 5 are by the creek at the bottom.
Camping — There are 24 campsites at the top of the mountain that can accommodate tents and RVs.
Len Foote Hike Inn — This unique experience is an inn that you have to hike to — there’s no other way to get there! You have to hike everything you need in and out on a 5 mile trail. The Hike Inn provides family-style meals, guest rooms with bunk beds, and all the linens you need. Plus amazing views! This is something I haven’t done, but I want to (and my parents love it so much they’ve been several times)!
Visiting Amicalola Falls is such a great day-trip if you live in the Georgia/Alabama/Tennessee area or if you are staying in Atlanta (it’s just over an hour away from Atlanta). And if you are in the area, you can also look into other fun things to do in the area like visiting Helen, GA or Dahlonega, GA.