The Pinhoti Trail is a long-distance trail that runs for over 300 miles across Alabama and Georgia. Portions of it are still in the development stage, particularly in West Georgia where little public land is available. The northernmost part of the PT is in the Cohutta Mountains, where the trail is remote and little-traveled due to an overall lack of significant features. The section of the Pinhoti between Mulberry Gap Road and Highway 52 is on the southern fringe of the Cohutta Mountains is a well-constructed trail that is great for a mostly relaxing walk with good exercise. Even though this segment of the trail is a bit more popular due to its proximity to two roadways, you will still find it mostly peaceful except where it approaches Highway 52. As a bonus, a very short road-walk from the end of the segment will lead you to a grassy clearing with panoramic views of the Cohutta Mountains. This hike occurred on Saturday, August 19th, 2017. My plan was to hike out and back along the Pinhoti Trail from Mulberry Gap Road to Highway 52 and to Cohutta Overlook.
Overflow Creek in extreme northeast Rabun County is well known for its spectacular kayaking opportunities due to the creek's numerous powerful rapids and cascades. Overflow Creek has few major tributaries until it ties into the West Fork Chattooga River at Three Forks. The largest Georgia tributary is Clear Creek, a sizable stream on its own that flows from an adjacent North Carolina valley. Between the point where it enters Georgia and where it joins Overflow Creek, Clear Creek drops down two large waterfalls - the second of which is perhaps the most unique waterfall in the state. Accurately named Big Thunder Falls, this waterfall consists of a 35-foot drop hidden in an extremely narrow canyon, and while you may hear the waterfall long before you get to the canyon, you will find it very difficult to get any decent view of the falls itself. But even if you can't put your eye on Big Thunder Falls proper, the destination - an incredible very rare slot canyon in a pristine setting - is well worth the effort required to get there. The hike to Big Thunder Falls is absolutely not for beginners, as it consists of a long cross-country trek without the benefit of trails, but experienced waterfall enthusiasts and hikers seeking adventure will enjoy it immensely. This hike occurred on Friday, August 18th, 2017. My plan was to hike along a very overgrown gated forest road from the end of Billingsley Creek Road (FS 86B) to the vicinity of Clear Creek, where I would find a way to travel upstream to Big Thunder Falls. I would also make a brief detour to see Put-In Falls on Overflow Creek near the trailhead.
Chattahoochee National Forest: Currahee Mountain Trail and Upper Frady Branch Trail System to Big Leatherwood Falls and Latham-Edmonds Cemetery, Toccoa, Georgia
The northeast sector of Lake Russell Wildlife Management Area is home to the Toccoa's area best-known peak: Currahee Mountain. Even though this prominent mountain has a relatively low elevation of 1740 feet above sea level, it still is situated well above the surrounding valleys and provides commanding long-range views to the north, east, and south. A steep trail used mostly by rock climbers leads from Highway 184 to the cliffs and views atop Currahee Mountain, from where one can reach the Frady Branch Trail System with some roadwalk. Even though much of the Upper Frady Branch Trail System follows broad forest roads, it has a surprising amount of points of interest, including three historic homesites, a small quarry, an ancient cemetery, and perhaps most importantly: a 50-foot waterfall in the headwaters of Big Leatherwood Creek. Even though Big Leatherwood Falls is less than a quarter-mile from an official trail, it is a very little-known waterfall in a gorgeous pristine setting, and getting to it can be tricky due to the lack of a good path. This hike occurred on Saturday, August 12th, 2017. My plan was to hike the Currahee Mountain Trail to the summit of Currahee Mountain. There, I would follow Currahee Mountain Road to the Latham Cemetery Trailhead. I would then make a loop along the upper portions of the Frady Branch Trail System, making side trips to four historic sites and BIg Leatherwood Falls. I would retrace my earlier steps once I re-emerged on Currahee Mountain Road.
Chattahoochee National Forest: Tabor Falls (Waterfall on Unnamed Tributary of Middle Fork Broad River), Cornelia, Georgia
The Lake Russell Wildlife Management Area covers the southeastern extremity of Chattahoochee National Forest. This low-elevation sector of the forest is not known for pleasant hiking trails and spectacular waterfalls/overlooks to the extent that other parts of the forest are. But despite its low elevation, the Lake Russell area is home to a number of waterfalls, most of which have slipped under the radar of hikers and waterfall enthusiasts for years. One of the most spectacular waterfalls is a 50-foot sheer drop - historically referenced to as Tabor Falls - that is located well up an unnamed tributary of the Middle Fork Broad River. Even though a distinct path leads almost to the base of Tabor Falls, the waterfall is largely unknown to the outdoors community, and you're unlikely to see other people in this remote corner of Lake Russell WMA - although there may be exceptions during hunting season. This hike occurred on Saturday, August 12th, 2017. My plan was to find the easiest route from Sellers Road to a waterfall that I discovered on terrain and satellite imagery on an unnamed tributary of the Middle Fork Broad River, learning after my hike that the waterfall's historical name is Tabor Falls. I was surprised to find an unofficial trail in great condition leading almost to the base of the waterfall with only a short off-trail scramble at the end.
*UPDATE 11/12/2023: Logging operations have ended along this hike, but the trail to Tabor Falls has become more difficult to hike. For the first quarter mile from the right turn off FR 89A, the trail has been widened to a logging road and full of small downed tree trunks placed for erosion control. Don't expect a smooth path until the second right turn at the bottom of the hill.
Chattahoochee National Forest: Upper Canada Creek Loop to Yukon Falls and Alberta Falls, Suches, Georgia
Canada Creek is one of my favorite mountain streams in North Georgia, due to a perfect combination of beauty, remoteness, and ease of access at each of the creek's four scenic waterfalls. A network of unofficial trails used by fishers and hunters weave around Canada Creek and provide fairly easy access to each of its waterfalls. The hikes to each particular waterfall aren't too long, but seeing all of the waterfalls together will take a good part of the day. A topographic map and compass are recommended for hikers who venture into the Canada Creek area, because many disorienting trail junctions are found throughout the trail system, and some of the paths are faint. This hike occurred on Saturday, July 1st, 2017. My original plan was to hike out and back to Yukon Falls on Canada Creek from the Upper Canada Creek Trailhead. After seeing the roaring state of the Yukon Falls though, I decided to use a connector to access Alberta Falls on Canada Creek and then loop back using a couple of roads.
A tributary of Soapstone Creek, Sorrels Branch sports a pair of scenic waterfalls near Georgia Highway 180 and the former location of CCC Camp Soapstone. Access to both waterfalls is not difficult thanks to an unofficial trail along an old logging road that passes by them. The 50-foot sheer lower falls is more scenic than the small 25-foot upper slide, but the historical aspect of the Sorrels Branch waterfalls may be the most fascinating part of this hike. Perched precariously in the middle of the creek at the brink of the lower falls and near the base of the upper falls is a mysterious stone structure. The forest service, history books, and even the internet provide little clue to the origin of these ancient ruins, but you'll have fun coming up with your own guesses when you visit. This hike occurred on Saturday, July 1st, 2017. My plan was to hike out and back to Lower and Upper Sorrels Branch Falls from Highway 180.
High Shoals Creek is home to two of Georgia's most popular waterfalls: High Shoals Falls and Blue Hole Falls. Very few people who hike to those waterfalls know that the same watershed is home to a remote waterfall no less impressive. Rogers Branch Falls is a tiered 80-foot waterfall on a tributary of High Shoals Creek, with additional small waterfalls above and below the main drop. Even though local residents are aware of the waterfall as evidenced by the well-used path to it, it is not publicized well at all and clearly off the radar for most hikers and waterfall hunters. The routes to the base of Rogers Branch Falls are not quite for everyone due to their steepness, but those who reach the viewing area at the base will be rewarded by a breathtaking sight. This hike occurred on Saturday, July 1st, 2017. My plan was to hike out and back to the base of Rogers Branch Falls from a popular camping area off Indian Grave Gap Road.
Buckeye Cove Falls is one of a handful of waterfalls in the Swallow Creek Wildlife Management Area near Hiawassee. About 80 feet high, this picturesque stairstep waterfall is easy to reach via a short hike, but it is located far enough in the middle of nowhere that you're not likely to find someone else at the waterfall. The lush green setting of Buckeye Cove Falls makes it appealing to waterfall enthusiasts and photographers during the warmer months. The falls is located in a very small watershed though, so it is best to visit during late spring or early summer. This hike occurred on Saturday, June 24th, 2017. My plan was to hike the unofficial path from the end of Swallow Creek Road out and back to Buckeye Cove Falls.
Mill Creek Falls is the name used collectively for a pair of waterfalls in the highest reaches of Swallow Creek Wildlife Management Area. Oddly, only one of the waterfalls is on Mill Creek itself, and the more picturesque of the two is on a tributary known as Ground Hog Branch. Visited together, these two waterfalls in the Mill Creek headwaters area make for a fairly easy and beautiful afternoon outing. A trail leads to both falls, although it is steep and slippery in places. This hike occurred on Saturday, June 24th, 2017. My plan was to hike out and back from Mill Creek Road to the upper and lower waterfall at Mill Creek Falls, with the former being on Ground Hog Branch and the latter being on Mill Creek itself just below its confluence with Groundhog Branch..
Chattahoochee National Forest: Lower & Upper Chinquapin Falls and Hickory Knob Falls, Helen, Georgia
Chinquapin Branch is one of the streams that drain the Tray Mountain area near Helen. Beginning high in the Tray Mountain Wilderness, Chinquapin Branch passes over a tall cliff, crosses Tray Mountain Road, and then forms several more waterfalls. Cascading 200 feet partially out of sight, Lower Chinquapin Falls is the biggest waterfall of them all. Seeing the lower and middle waterfalls on Chinquapin Branch necessitates significant scrambling on an unmaintained trail, but intrepid hikers who hike the entire route will be rewarded with two pristine waterfalls on Chinquapin Branch and a third one on a tributary. This hike occurred on Saturday, June 24th, 2017. My plan was to follow an abandoned trail along Chinquapin Branch to Lower and Upper Chinquapin Falls, although I would only be able to view part of the Lower Falls. Along the way, I would make a side trip to Hickory Knob Falls on an unnamed tributary of Chinquapin Branch. Rather than returning the same way, I decided to hike off-trail to Tray Mountain Road from Upper Chinquapin Falls and then return along the road.
Most of the streams that drain the Upper Tallulah River form waterfalls. Many of these waterfalls are significant, such as Flat Branch Falls: a multi-tier sliding waterfall that is over 200 feet high. Even though not all of it is visible from the base, the view is still impressive. Unfortunately, the trail to Flat Branch Falls had been damaged severely by the Rock Mountain Fire in November 2016. In fact, the once-easy trail to Flat Branch Falls has turned into an obstacle course complicated by numerous dead and fallen rhododendron branches. In addition, the trail to Flat Branch Falls begins with a steep scramble up a nearly vertical 20-foot slope. With a bit of common sense and navigational skills, however, the more seasoned hiker will get to Flat Branch Falls without much trouble. This hike occurred on Saturday, June 10th, 2017. My plan was to hike out and back to the base of Flat Branch Falls via the trail that begins at Bridge 4 on Tallulah River Road.
Lost House Branch is a pleasant gurgling stream that flows inconspicuously through a culvert under Highway 75 between Helen and Unicoi Gap. Few folks who drive across Lost House Branch suspect that there is a massive 100-foot waterfall less than a half-mile upstream. This is evidenced by the difficulty of the hike to Lost House Branch Falls, which involves walking in the creek itself, wading through knee-deep summer brush, and scrambling over or under numerous fallen trees. Not enough people have hiked to Lost House Branch Falls yet for a path to become established, but for the most persistent adventurers, the reward is a majestic waterfall. Lost House Branch splits into dozens of thin trickles as it slides down a huge rock face at the waterfall, although it is important to keep in mind that Lost House Branch needs a lot of water to look its best. This hike occurred on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017. My plan was to hike to Lost House Branch Falls out and back from Highway 75, initially following the south side of the stream to avoid trespassing on private property.
Motorists who drive north along Highway 75 from Helen may notice a deep valley/gorge on the left (west) side of the roadway, but most of them will not stop to muse about what's down there. When the more intrepid hiker takes a glance at the topographic map for the area around Spoilcane Creek and Highway 75, however, he will notice that there is significant waterfall potential in the Spoilcane Creek gorge. In fact, Spoilcane Creek has two major waterfalls - one of which is approximately 190 feet high! Additionally, folks who venture into the Spoilcane Creek gorge will find a bonus waterfall on an unnamed tributary to Spoilcane Creek. Access to the surprisingly rarely-visited Spoilcane Creek waterfalls is not very difficult thanks to a distinct path that follows the historical route of the Unicoi Turnpike and provides a close approach to all three waterfalls. This hike occurred on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017. My plan was to hike out and back to the Middle Falls on Spoilcane Creek via an unmarked trail from a pullout on the west side of Highway 75 just south of Unicoi Gap. Along the way, I would make the off-trail side trip to the Upper Falls on Spoilcane Creek and a waterfall on an unnamed tributary dubbed "Phil's Sister Falls".
A rocky peak that towers over the Stekoa Creek valley and Clayton, Pinnacle Knob provides a 270-degree vista that is one of Northeast Georgia's best. The view from the top includes an attractive foreground of valleys and mountains with a beautiful background of fading lines of ridges. Two different hikes provide access to Pinnacle Knob: a longer hike from Warwoman Road and a shorter hike from Pinnacle Drive near US 441. While the longer route has the added benefit of passing two pretty waterfalls, the shorter route via the Courthouse Gap Trail is convenient for folks who are looking for a great payoff without a full-day hike. Furthermore, the side trail from the Bartram Trail was to the top of Pinnacle Knob was recently rerouted and lengthened to allow easier access to Pinnacle Knob's clifftop views. This hike occurred on Saturday, May 27th, 2017. My plan was to hike out and back to Pinnacle Knob via the Courthouse Gap Trail, Bartram Trail, and Pinnacle Knob Trail, starting at Courthouse Gap Road.
The streams that drain Warwoman Creek and the Chattooga River on the south side of Warwoman Road are generally not known for waterfalls as much as their more rugged counterparts to the north. Nevertheless, some notable exceptions exist, and Gold Mine Branch is perhaps one of the most major. On this creek, a 50-foot waterfall is stationed. No trail leads to Gold Mine Branch Falls, but despite this disadvantage, access is still fairly easy from Willis Knob Road, and with a couple of correct navigational decisions, one will get to the base of the falls in less than 30 minutes. This hike occurred on Saturday, May 27th, 2017. My plan was to hike off-trail out and back to the base of Gold Mine Branch Falls from Willis Knob Road via the most direct and recommended route.
Mark Oleg Ozboyd
Dear readers: I have invested a tremendous amount of time and effort in this website and the Georgia Waterfalls Database the past five years. All of the work that has gone in keeping these websites updated with my latest trip reports has almost been like a full-time job. This has not allowed me to pick up a paid job to save up money for college, and therefore, I I've had to take out loans. If you find the information on this website interesting, helpful, or time-saving, you can say "thanks" and help me out by clicking the button above and making a contribution. I will be very grateful for any amount of support you give, as all of it will apply toward my college tuition. Thank you!
Coming in 2022-2023?
Other Hiking Websites
Year 1: 540.0 Miles
Year 2: 552.3 Miles
Year 3: 518.4 Miles
Year 4: 482.4 Miles
Year 5: 259.9 Miles