|Trail Length: 5.0 miles||Type of trail: In and out|
|County: White County, GA||Our rating: E|
|Features: waterfalls, stream, fishing||Your rating:|
|Usage: Heavy||Added on: January 01, 1996|
|Last hiked: September 03, 2008||Updated on: December 02, 2010|
|About these ratings|
Hiking trails in White County, GA
This trail follows Dodd Creek through the Raven Cliffs Wilderness Area to a massive dark bluff near the headwaters some 2.5 miles from the parking area. When we last visited the falls in September, 2008 three bridges were damaged or destroyed from the remnants of Hurricane Fay.
Raven Cliffs Wilderness Area
With more than 9,600 acres in its boundaries, the Raven Cliffs Wilderness Area is only accessed by hiking trails because developed roads are not allowed in nationally designated wilderness areas. Because of the size of Ravens Cliffs and the lack of human interference, the area has abundant bird life including grosbeaks, vireos, wild turkeys besides the ravens that give the area its name. Designated a wilderness area by the Forest Service in 1986, Raven Cliffs contains Smithgall Woods Conservation Area, Dukes Creek Falls Trail, Logan Turnpike, a portion of the Appalachian Trail, and Raven Cliff Falls.
Raven Cliffs Trail
Hikers should exercise extreme caution along this rugged trail as they have to ford streams, ascend steep grades, and cross a rock bluff (from the Forest Service).
Helen, Georgia, has long been a popular destination for hikers. One of the best short trails in the state is the walk to Raven Cliff Falls, north and west of the alpine village. The Raven Cliffs Wilderness Area, which encompasses the trail, is home to some great hiking including Logan Turnpike and a significant portion of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia.
Designated in 1986, it is the first wilderness area that hikers leaving from Springer Mountain enter on the Appalachian Trail. More than 9,000 acres comprise this heavily used chunk of the Chattahoochee National Forest.
|Photo courtesy Ronald B. Henry|
The Woodcraft Shop
After the first waterfall a change in the trees is obvious. The forest is dominated by hardwoods. Short cascades and riplets of whitewater produce a relaxing gurgle during a significant portion of the hike. This path can be slippery after a rain and would have received a family rating from us if not for the strong Forest Service warning that appears at the top of this page. The "steep" part of their comment can be misleading as most of the steep parts are in short spurts and easily taken even for a novice hiker.
The path is rarely more than 50 feet from the creek, and this eastern facing cove has an abundance of wildlife. Listing all the plants would be time consuming, but more common are:ramp, Jack-in-the-pulpit, geraniums, trout lillies, astors, and abundant clumps of New York ferns.
The approach to the Cliffs is the highlight of the trip. A quick climb and loud noise impart the message of the approaching waterfall. The water rushes through a split in the rocks and splashes down in cascades to the bottom. Typical of high forest falls, water flow is heavy only in the spring, but somehow the way the cliff is shaped makes these falls seem strong most of the year. A short path leads to the top of falls.
Close to the alpine village of Helen, which is now Georgia's third most popular tourist attraction, this trail is heavily used.
Your guide to hiking and walking trails in the state of Georgia
Appalachian Trail in Georgia
Dukes Creek Falls Trail
Smithgall Woods Conservation Area