The Darnell Creek area is known for its abundance of notable waterfalls. All of the waterfalls on Darnell Creek and Thomas Creek - one of its two headwater tributaries - are close to Darnell Creek Road and are reached via short and easy hikes. But what about Darnell Creek's other headwater tributary, Ramey Creek? This creek, which is in no way less scenic than Thomas Creek, flows considerably further south and is reached by the Darnell Creek Trail: a well-established trail that first follows Darnell Creek and then Ramey Creek. The Darnell Creek Trail's biggest highlight is a 45-foot waterfall on Ramey Creek. Situated at the head of a narrow gorge, Ramey Creek Falls is a photogenic waterfall featuring a cliff over which the waterfall initially plunges, followed by a series of cascades down a number of rock outcrops. Taking the waterfall aside though, the Darnell Creek Trail is still a very pretty trail that passes numerous cascades and small waterfalls on Darnell Creek and Ramey Creek, in addition to a panoramic wintertime view of the grand 100-foot Big Falls on Thomas Creek in the distance across the valley. This hike occurred on Saturday, March 25th, 2017. My plan was to hike the Darnell Creek Trail to Ramey Creek Falls. From Ramey Creek Falls, I would add variety to my hike by hiking the TR 61A Loop (Darnell Creek Loop), rejoining the Darnell Creek Trail at Pine Gap Branch and retracing my steps the rest of the way to the trailhead.
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.
Mark Oleg Ozboyd
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