Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,516.00 ft (462.08 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
6.00 mi (9.66 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

If you were to ask a forest ranger how to get to Cochran Falls, odds are you would be told that they have no official knowledge of the falls. This is because many fatalities have occurred here. The rocks near the falls are slippery, even when dry. If you choose to visit Cochran Falls, please be careful. It is a wonderful spot, and a truly magnificent experience. But be smart. And be careful. A cool selfie is not worth your life.

Cochran Falls is the second member of what is commonly referred to as the “Three Sisters” waterfalls of north Georgia. The other two members of the sisterhood are the nearby and ever popular Amicalola Falls, the tallest waterfall in the state of Georgia, and the 200-foot Bearden Falls. Cochran Falls is wild and untamed. The tradeoff is that the waterfall is not very photogenic. With a total vertical drop of 600 feet, the cascades comprising the falls cannot all be seen in one view, obscured by trees and overgrowth. Nevertheless, visiting the falls and immersing yourself in the sounds, smells, and sights is an amazing experience. A very steep and treacherous path climbs up the right side of the falls all the way to the top. A gorgeous view can be seen atop the falls through the break in the tree canopy. You can follow this trail past the falls all the way to the Len Foote Trail and Hike Inn outside of Amicalola State Park, although this section of the trail is rarely used and will likely be overgrown.

Arriving at the trailhead requires your vehicle to drive through at least one creek crossing. This first creek crossing is pretty simple and passable by most cars. A parking spot is then accessible on the right side of the road. You can continue across a second longer and deeper creek crossing, but for most it will be safer to just park after the first creek crossing and walk the extra 300 feet to the trailhead. After crossing the creek three times, once by car, and twice on foot, you will remain on the right side of Cochran Creek for the duration on the hike. The hike starts along a wide and easily traversed old jeep trail for just over 2 miles (note that jeeps are not currently allowed on the trail), arriving at a comfortable backcountry campsite. At this point, a singletrack trail will veer off of the old jeep trail toward the right and begin to steepen.

Visiting Cochran Falls makes for an excellent and easy overnight backpacking trip. Water is plentiful, and the campsite at the end of the old jeep trail makes for a perfect spot to access the falls area at your leisure.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Days

2

Pros

Large cascading waterfall. Backcountry camping.

Cons

The trail up the waterfall is very steep and can be dangerous.

Trailhead Elevation

1,617.00 ft (492.86 m)

Highest point

2,551.00 ft (777.54 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Waterfalls
Backcountry camping
Fishing

Typically multi-day

Yes

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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