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Amicalola Falls East Ridge Trail
Georgia Trails

Trail Length: 1.0 miles Type of trail: In and out
County: Dawson County, GA Our rating:
Features: waterfalls, visitors center, stream, scenic, picnicking, camping, bathrooms, ATaccess, 60hikes Your rating:
Usage: Heavy Added on: September 28, 2004
Last hiked: May 26, 2013 Updated on: September 02, 2013
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Additional Trails
Hiking trails in Dawson County, GA

Directions
Directions to Amicalola Falls East Ridge Trail

Foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains
The East Ridge Trail at Amicalola Falls is actually the first mile of a much longer trail, the Southern Terminus Approach Trail to the start of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia on Springer Mountain. The East Ridge Trail climbs to the top of Amicalola Falls, rising an average of 80 feet for each 500 feet of trail. It is one of a handful of trails we consider strenuous simply because of the climb.

To hike this trail, park in the lot across the street from the visitor center. Cross the street towards the brown single-level stone and wood visitors center and walk around it to the right of the building. If you want, inside the visitors center are some natural history displays and a gift shop that sells books of regional interest and t-shirts.

Behind the building the trail entrance is marked by a field stone and cement arch, followed by a Maine to Georgia Appalachian Trail sign, and a stone in the shape of Georgia. The path climbs a set of steps, then begins a switchback journey up the steep-sided valley walls of the Amicalola River watershed. From the falls the river follows a southerly route, eventually joining the Etowah River before it forms Lake Allatoona. About halfway up the mountain the pathway curves deep into a steep-sided mountain cove, where it crosses a gully on a wooden bridge. In this area a mature second-growth forest is beginning to take on the appearance of an old-growth forest, a success story for Georgia's state park system.

As the path exits the cove it once again begins its steep, switched ascent to the top of the East Ridge, finally coming out on a gravel road. Turn left and continue climbing. Quickly the path, which has been in full shade, comes into the open sunlight. The steep slope of the ridge is replaced by a rock wall and the gravel/rock road continues a sharp ascent to the falls. In this area the view to the left is simply stunning and worth the hike. Georgia's Piedmont, occasionally broken by the foothills of the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains, spreads out to the south and west.

Approaching the falls, there is a gate, along with a well-placed rock intended to prevent cars from driving down the hiking trail. Just past the gate on the left is a bathroom with snack vending machines. Continue past this to a set of railed cement steps on the left that take you to the wooden overlook that affords a spectacular view of Amicalola Falls and the river's watershed. Above the falls is an area of interlocking trails, including the Wetlands Trail and a fitness trail that provides access to the falls for folks spending the night at Amicalola Lodge.

More Information

Amicalola Falls State Park

Map

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Georgia Hikes
Your guide to hiking and walking trails in the state of Georgia

Article Links
Amicalola Falls
Amicalola Falls State Park
Appalachian Trail in Georgia
Blue Ridge Mountains
Southern Terminus Approach Trail
Springer Mountain

Georgia Trails
Georgia Trails Index
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