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Keown Falls Trail
Georgia Trails

Trail Length: 1.8 miles Type of trail: Loop
County: Walker County, GA Our rating: Moderate
Features: waterfalls Your rating:
Usage: Light Added on: January 01, 1994
Last hiked: March 15, 2016 Updated on: March 18, 2016
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Directions to Keown Falls Trail


This 1.8 miles roundtrip moderate hike climbs Johns Mountain, looping back at the overlook of the second falls at Keown Falls. These high mountain falls have a limited watershed, so they frequently run dry.

Gordon Keown
Gordon Keown (he pronounced his last name like Cowen), an alumnus of Berry College, surveyed much of Northwest Georgia and these falls near the top of Johns Mountain are named in his honor. In addition to his role of surveyor, Keown became the acting director of Berry College following the death of Martha Berry in 1942. One of the major problems Keown faced as director was maintaining adequate staffing levels during World War II.

Keown Falls Trail

Frequently little more than a trickle and usually dry by the end of the summer, Keown Falls really only come to life after a spring downpour. The walk is almost entirely in shade, with the exception of the observation deck above the falls.

Over the years many changes have been made to this trail by the National Forest Service. The A-frame kiosk on the trail just past the start has been replaced by a traditional trailhead bulletin board. Facilities have been added just a few steps from the trailhead and a multi-table picnic area with grills is a short walk across a bridge from the parking area.

Rock-lined and gravel filled at the beginning and at other places along the trail, these amenities end at a tree in the middle of the path. The return trail comes in from the left, so bear right and continue the moderate climb. After heavy rains a stream springs out of hole in the ground on the left at times. Climbing Johns Mountain through a oak-hickory forest with beech, sourwood and tuliptrees intermingled. Johns Mountain is typical of many of the mountains in Northwest Georgia. Ringed by large boulders just below the top like its taller brother to the west, Lookout Mountain, the mountain is part of a geological formation known as Ridge and Valley.

After crossing a stream that widely varies in flow, the original rock-lined trail comes off to the left, but has been covered to prevent access. Continue straight ahead for 0.2 miles to a bench and follow the switchback left. The footpath steepens as it rises, turning into a series of switchbacks just below the top. The sound of falls can be heard just before a turn to some rock steps. At the top of the steps is a cool cove and the first view of the falls. Continue around to an observation deck overlooking a second falls.

The deck serves as a connector between the Keown Falls Loop and the Johns Mountain Trail. After the observation deck, Keown Falls Trail easily winds it's way back to the start.


Pages related to Keown Falls Trail
Keown Falls Trail
Directions to Keown Falls Trail
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Georgia Hikes
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Johns Mountain Trail
Lookout Mountain
Martha Berry

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