Monday, July 2, 2012

Perfect Weekends - Amicalola Falls

Amicalola Falls
By Lauren Day

Do you dream of serene waterfalls and ice cold secluded creeks overflowing with crystal clear water? How about big log lodges that look like something out of a storybook? Love filling your belly with fresh caught mountain trout? Amicalola Falls in north Georgia has all of that and then some. Located less than an hour and a half north of Atlanta in the little town of Dawsonville, the 729 foot tall cascade claims the title of the tallest in the southeast US. A short but steep 8.5 mile hike from the falls will bring you to the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, a 2,175 mile footpath that runs from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mt. Katahdin, Maine.

If hiking and waterfall gazing isn’t your cup of tea, Amicalola Falls State Park also offers many other activities, such as mountain biking, road biking, bird-watching, and camping. In the nearby town of Tallulah Falls, there is also whitewater rafting (class II-IV) as well as sport and trad climbing, and a few local bouldering spots.

Amicalola Falls lodge

The park itself is home to a beautiful lodge nestled in the Appalachian pine trees. The lodge’s Maple Restaurant always has fresh locally caught and grown foods on the menu, including fresh caught trout. The lodge has many rooms that look over the southern Appalachians. If the lodge is still too much civilization for you, and camping is too hard for your aching back, but you don’t want to forgo the modern comforts completely, the Len Foote Hike Inn is only 5 miles up the AT approach trail and is Georgia’s only backcountry lodge.

Since Amicalola Falls State Park is less than 500 miles outside of the Orlando metro area, it is an easy drive and the reward at the other end is well worth the trip. The beauty of the falls alone easily makes the perfect weekend for those looking to escape the city.

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