Pets allowed
Allowed
Guided tours
No
Backcountry camping
No
Lodging
No
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A little-known fact about Georgia is that it's home to the tallest perennial waterfall east of the Mississippi--Amicalola Falls at 729 feet. It earns this superlative only if measured from the top of the very first cascade to the bottom of the very last, which are many and stacked on a steep slope within a narrow valley. Amicalola cannot claim the longest single drop over some other waterfalls, but the official title stands. The name comes from the Cherokee words for "tumbling waters."

The falls are the highlight of Amicalola Falls State Park, but there are lots of other recreation opportunities as well. As a resort park, it has a campground, cabins, a luxury lodge, and offers event hosting and adventure programming.

View the Falls

  • Top of Falls: A short walk from the parking lot puts you on a bridge right over the top of the waterfall. The whole thing really isn't visible from here, but the first few cascades and a vista over the foothills makes a really nice view. Too see the rest of the waterfall takes a little more work.
  • Approach Trail: From the Bottom of Falls parking area near the visitor center, a paved path leads up to the falls, where you can really see them. For the best view, you will have to continue up more than 100 stairs to reach a bridge that spans the face of the waterfall. This bridge links with the West Ridge Trail and Staircase.
  • West Ridge Trail: This is the ADA-accessible path and easiest route to the waterfall. It begins from the road that goes to the lodge and follows a paved, mostly level surface to the bridge and base of the West Ridge Staircase.

Hiking

  • West Ridge Staircase: Known simply as "The Stairs," these are the 604 steps that ascend near the steepest part of the waterfall. Climbing all the stairs is no small feat, and it is one of the four challenges of the Georgia Canyon Climber's Club.
  • Appalachian Approach Trail: The paved approach to the bottom of the falls is part of this trail, but the full length includes the West Ridge Staircase and continues to eventually connect to the Appalachian Trail much higher along the creek.
  • East Ridge Trail: This is the hiking route from the lodge to the visitor center, which passes by the Top of Falls viewing area.
  • The Lodge: The lodge at Amicalola is one of Georgia's premier state park venues. It offers many types of rooms, event hosting, and retreat programming. There is a restaurant open to the public for three meals a day. The lobby and rear viewing deck are also open to the public. Between the visitor center parking area and the West Ridge Falls access parking area.
  • Lodge Loop: Paved and lighted short loop from the lodge, perfect for an evening stroll in the forest.

Camping

Lodging

  • The Lodge: The lodge at Amicalola is one of Georgia's premier state park venues. It offers many types of rooms, event hosting, and retreat programming. There is a restaurant open to the public for three meals a day. The lobby and rear viewing deck are also open to the public.
  • Cabins: The park has several cabins for rent, which are located near the campground and a short drive from the top of the falls.
  • Hike Inn: This is Georgia's only backcountry lodge, and as the name cleverly implies, you must hike in to reach it. The approach is 5 miles, so it is a special endeavor to reserve and reach it, but it is well worthwhile for group retreats.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

Park entrance fee

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Tallest waterfall in the east.

Cons

Limited trails. Small campground.

Features

ADA accessible
Campgrounds + Campsites
Flushing toilets
Potable water
Picnic tables
Covered picnic areas
Horseshoes
Waterfalls
Fishing
Playground
Bird watching
Wildlife
Family friendly

Site type

Full hookups
Cabins

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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