Chattahoochee National Forest: Darnell Creek Falls, Upper Darnell Creek Falls, Big Falls on Thomas Creek, and Middle Thomas Creek Falls, Dillard, Georgia
The Darnell Creek watershed, geologically located north of the Warwoman Shear, is loaded with waterfalls among the rugged terrain on the southwest side of Rabun Bald. The two known waterfalls on Darnell Creek and three known waterfalls on Thomas Creek, a major tributary of Darnell Creek, are all located within short hiking distance from FS Road 150 (Darnell Creek Road). Perhaps the most impressive waterfall of all is the monster Big Falls on Thomas Creek: a steep, sliding waterfall that consists of several sections, the most distinct of which has a height of 70 feet! Furthermore, there is now a recently-developed and fairly established trail to the Big Falls on Thomas Creek. Don't focus on Big Falls on Thomas Creek solely though, as the other waterfalls - while smaller - are at least as photogenic, and some might be even more beautiful, depending on your point of view. This hike occurred on Saturday, March 25th, 2017. My plan was to hike to each of the waterfalls on Darnell Creek and Thomas Creek in order from lowest elevation to highest elevation. The exception was that I skipped Upper Thomas Creek Falls, which requires a significant amount of water to look good.
Chattooga Wild and Scenic River: Watergauge Trail (Camp Creek Trail) to Canyon of Five Falls, Tallulah Falls, Georgia
The Chattooga Wild & Scenic River is known for its lengthy and very beautiful gorge, full of rapids and waterfalls. The Canyon of Five Falls is the cream of the crop, the king of them all, perhaps one of the Chattooga River's most beautiful sections. In this 0.1-mile stretch, the river rushes over five significant Class IV or Class V rapids through a gorge full of house-sized boulders. Perhaps the most notable rapid of all is the Crack-in-the-Rock Rapid, where the mighty Chattooga River roars through three tiny slots in a line of huge boulders. In the hot weather and lower water levels of summer, this short but time-consuming hike is perfect. This hike occurred on Saturday, March 18th, 2017. My plan was to hike the Watergauge Trail, also known as the Camp Creek Trail, from the end of Watergauge Road to the trail terminus at the confluence of Camp Creek with the Chattooga River. From there, I would rock hop and wade along the Chattooga River to the Canyon of Five Falls. I would return the same way.
The southeast corner of Rabun County, Georgia, is not known for hiking and pristine nature as much as other parts of Rabun County, especially north of Clayton. Of course, Tallulah Gorge - which occupies the southeastern end of the county - is one of Georgia's best-known and most amazing natural sights. However, there is a lot more to this largely little-visited end of the county. At least some of the creeks in this area have photogenic waterfalls that are not documented well, both small and large, and the area is home to a section of the Wild and Scenic Chattooga River with many rapids. One of the area's more interesting remote waterfalls is a 40-footer located on Cliff Creek, nestled in a beautiful gorge among tall cliffs. This hike occurred on Saturday, March 18th, 2017. My plan was to make an exploratory bushwhack from Watergauge Road into the Cliff Creek gorge in search of a potential undocumented waterfall on Cliff Creek at a very promising location. The bushwhack turned out fairly easy and the waterfall was there, as gorgeous as any.
Stekoa Creek is one of the largest tributaries of the Chattooga River, flowing through the town of Clayton and the lower elevations of Rabun County. Most of the creek - including several of its notable waterfalls - is on private land. However, the lower mile and a half of Stekoa Creek flows through mostly National Forest property. In this public stretch of the creek, there are two notable waterfalls - Mill Shoals and Big Shoals - with respective heights of 27 feet and 35 feet, and getting to the waterfalls is fairly easy. Unfortunately, a headline bigger than waterfalls for Stekoa Creek is its poor water quality, due to drainage issues in Clayton. This hike occurred on Saturday, March 18th, 2017. My plan was to hike out and back from Wolf Creek Church Road to Mill Shoals and then Big Shoals on Stekoa Creek.
Year 1: 540.0 Miles
Year 2: 552.3 Miles
Year 3: 518.4 Miles
Year 4: 434.5 Miles