Guide to Visiting Georgia’s Beautiful Amicalola Falls State Park

Amicalola Falls State Park, GA stairs

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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 hiking and more!

Where is Amicalola Falls?

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.

Here are some driving distances that may help you:

  • From Atlanta, GA: 74 miles, or 1 hour and 20 minutes
  • From Helen, GA: 44 miles, or 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • From Chattanooga, TN: 87 miles, or 1 hour and 40 minutes

Admission to Amicalola Falls

Entrance to the park requires a Georgia Parks Pass, which is $5 at the gate per vehicle for day use. If you are a Georgia resident, you might also consider buying an annual ParkPass for $50

Amicalola Falls State Park is accessible year-round during daylight hours. The visitor center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day.

Stairs going up Amicalola Falls

Seeing Amicalola Falls

Amicalola Falls, the namesake for the State Park, is the tallest waterfall in Georgia at 729 feet tall. And is obviously the biggest attraction t=here. 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.

Bottom Section

If you want to start at the bottom, go straight after passing the Visitor 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.)

2023/2024 Note: Beginning November 20, 2023, the Lower Falls Trail will be closed for improvements. This will also impact parking at the Reflection Pool. The closure is expected to last several months. Find more details here.

Middle Section

View from the middle section of Amicalola Falls
View from the middle section of Amicalola Falls

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.

If you want to keep going up to the top, you can take the West Ridge Staircase which is 425 stairs. Or get back in your car, which is 100% what we did.

Top Section

View from the top of Amicalola Falls
View from the top of Amicalola Falls

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.

How Many Stairs Are at Amicalola Falls?

To get from the bottom to the top (or vice versa), you’ll climb 604 stairs. So climbing all the way is definitely strenuous!

And remember, whatever you climb up you’ll also have to climb down, unless you have someone with a car who can come get you from the top!

Sign at Amicalola Falls State: 175 Steps, Difficulty strenuous

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:

  • Ziplining
  • Archery
  • Animal Meet and Greets
  • Guided Hikes

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’d would really like to. The lodge looks beautiful, with wide windows looking out over the mountains.

Here are options for accommodations:

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.

Glamping — There are 4 glamping sites at Amicalola Falls State Park. They offer furnished safari tents with electricity and other luxury glamping amenities.

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 that 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.

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