|Trail Length: 2.4 miles||Type of trail: In and out|
|County: Lumpkin County, GA||Our rating: E|
|Features: waterfalls, stream, picnicking, historic, fishing, family, camping, bathrooms, 60hikes||Your rating:|
|Usage: Medium||Added on: January 01, 1995|
|Last hiked: May 15, 2008||Updated on: December 19, 2010|
|About these ratings|
Hiking trails in Lumpkin County, GA
A sign at the trailhead explains the name is based on the discovery of a plate of armor in the 1880's, about the time lumber companies began over-foresting the area. Until 1983 scholars mocked the idea of finding a breastplate intact after 300 years, until an intact sword from deSoto's expedition was found on the King site near Rome, Georgia. Men under Hernando deSoto are known to have been in this mountainous area in 1541.
All three falls are on tributaries to Frogtown Creek, which begins near Mountain Crossings at Walasi-yi in Neel's Gap. The original name, Frogtown Gap, was eliminated by the state of Georgia to honor the engineer who built Highway 129. The Cherokee believed that a great frog, Walasi (or Walesi) guarded Blood Mountain, which the Cherokee considered to be holy.
Hiking Desoto Falls Trail
Water flow over either falls is heaviest in the spring, especially after a rainstorm. This, combined with some wildflowers and lots of rhododendron, makes this a good hike from mid-April to late May. From the brown-roofed kiosk in the parking lot, the gravel-covered trail drops as it curves left, quickly swinging back to the right through an area of picnic tables and grills. On the left is Frogtown Creek, a clear mountain stream with some scenic riverbank views. About 0.1 mile into the trail the path turns left on a paved road that curves around to the right with a bridge crossing Frogtown Creek on the left at the campground host site.
Continue straight on what was once an old logging road as it meanders through a wide floodplain of the river, which is on the right. After a tributary joins Frogtown Creek on the right side, the path begins the first of three easy climbs as the trail begins to "roll" in a manner similar to the AT in Virginia. Massive stands of rhododendron cover the path at times, and the occasionally visible waterway continues to make a pleasing gurgle throughout the hike.
Just over 1.4 miles into the hike the trail crosses a bridge and you can see the falls on the left. Stepping off the bridge the Forest Service sign that indicates the trail to the upper falls is closed is straight ahead. Turn left and make the easy ascent to the viewing deck. The falls begin as a straight drop from the center of a ledge, three times hitting ledges which only briefly slow the inevitable trip to a small clear pond at the bottom. After viewing the falls, retrace your steps to the car.