The sounds and smells of spring are in the air! It is time to put on those hiking boots and head to some of Blue Ridge, Georgia’s 300 miles of hiking trails. Put down the cell phones, lap tops and leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind! Enjoy some quiet time in God’s country and savor in the moment when you get to enjoy the beauty of a waterfall at the end of your hike!
Below is a list of some of the most popular trails to hike!
- Fall Branch Falls – This trail is one of my favorite especially for those that are not as experienced in hiking as well as for children. This is approximately a 30 minute hike round trip. Fall Branch is a double waterfall full of mountain laurel and rhododendron growing along the creek bank and the trail area. (Directions:Follow Aska Road South for 8 miles. Turn right on Stanley Creek Road. Toccoa Riverside Restaurant will be on the left. The trailhead is approximately 3 miles on the right. The pavement will turn to gravel and you will go .2 miles.
- Amicalola Falls and Trails – This is not too far of a drive from Blue Ridge. It is located 21 miles from Ellijay on Highway 52. Dropping at 729 feet, this is the largest falls in Georgia and east of the Mississippi River. There are steps you can climb to get to the top. If you feel very adventuresome when you visit, there is an 8.5 mile trail that is quite strenuous and leads from the park to Springer Mountain which is the start of the famous Appalachian Trail. Kids will love seeing this waterfall as well but may get a few complaints from the little ones about all the steps!
- Long Creek Falls -This is the most popular waterfall in all of Fannin County. These falls can be seen by hiking down a short side trail from the combined Appalachian/Benton MacKaye Trail. These falls total about 50 feet in two distinct drops. A leisurely 30 minute hike to the falls is uphill on the way in, downhill on the way out. Directions are as follows: From Blue Ridge, go south on Aska Road 13.5 miles to end. Turn right onto Newport Road, go 4.5 miles to end. Turn left onto Doublehead Gap Road and continue on this road about .8 miles to intersection with dirt-gravel USFS Road 58 intersecting sharply from right. Turn onto FS 58 and continue into forest and uphill 5.3 miles to Three Forks. Noontootla Creek, a beautiful trout stream, is on the right as you ascend.
- The Swinging Bridge is another very popular Blue Ridge attraction. This is a 260 foot long bridge and the longest swinging bridge east of the Mississippi River. This is a very popular destination especially for day hikers and paddlers making the journey down the Toccoa River. Directions from Blue Ridge are: take Hwy 515 east about four miles and turn right onto Hwy 60 toward Morganton. Follow past the Post Office, turning right toward Suches/Dahlonega and go 11.3 twisty miles. After passing the Old Skeenah Mill, go .7 miles to FS816 and turn right onto a gravel road. FS816 is not really marked, but there is a “hiker sign” on the other side of the road from the turn. It’s easy to miss. It is a very bumpy three mile ride so you at least need an SUV to conquer this. No low cars will work! Once you park a short hike down to the Toccoa River on the Benton/MacKaye Duncan Ridge National Recreation Trail brings you to the Swinging Bridge.
- Sea Creek Falls is a beautiful 30 foot waterfall with a shallow pool at the bottom. It is approximately an hour from Blue Ridge. From Morganton, follow Ga Highway 60 17.7 miles to the Cooper Creek Recreation Area turnoff on the left. Continue on FS Road 4, 2.9 miles to a fork. Turn left and follow road .3 miles. Park and walk .1 miles to the falls. This is an easy hike and great for children and older adults. This waterfall doesn’t get as much traffic as others and is definitely one to consider if you like seclusion! It is absolutely beautiful!