Christian MurilloExplorer

My love for natural landscape photography is what first got me outside. Now, I can hardly stay indoors. My sense of adventure has led me to travel all over the US (mostly in the SE), and also drove me to complete a +42,000 mile trip around the world.

This is a great short trail with a magnificent sunset view that goes as far as the eye can see. The stone tower and stone wall are both very interesting as well. If you are interested in archaeology, the stone wall is a must-see, as its origins are still a mystery. Bring the family!

20 days ago
20 days ago

This hike quickly became one of my favorites in the SE. The distance is perfect for a half-day hike, but the elevation gain is big enough to really give you a great workout. This hike is definitely not easy, but there are not many super steep sections, so most people would be able to do the hike at their own pace. The waterfalls and creek at the beginning of the hike are very beautiful and often overlooked by the mission to get to the top of the mountain. Mid-hike, the trail passes by several really cool boulder fields. Some of the boulders here are as big as a house, so it is definitely cool to look at while you make your way up the mountain. The views from the top of Governors Rock and the Table Rock Overlooks are simply incredible. From both viewpoints, you have an unobstructed view for miles. This is due to the steep granite faces, which are a real luxury in terms of the views you can get out having so much clear space to have a picnic/snack and enjoy the view. The hike on the way down is fine, but the descent was pretty tough on my knees. Next time I am definitely bringing hiking poles.

about 1 month ago
about 1 month ago

This is a great hike that is pretty close to the city, so it can easily be done as a half-day adventure. The trail is short and easy enough to be doable by just about anyone, and there are some really fantastic views. The trailhead is also accessible in the winter, which is nice when so many trails are difficult to get to. I did the hike with my family in the winter and the majority of the trail was completely frozen, making navigating without spikes quite difficult. This is not a difficult trail, but it definitely helps to have the proper equipment! The waterfalls themselves are really pretty, but you cannot get as close as I would have liked.

about 2 months ago
about 2 months ago

This hike provides a spectacular way to get the family out in Olympic National Park. The short hike can be done fairly quickly and it is quite easy with minimal elevation gain. The beginning of the hike passes through beautiful lush forest, although the road runs parallel to the trail for about a quarter mile, so you are reminded that you are not so far into the woods every time a car passes by. The river crossing is very scenic, and would be a good place to set up a hammock and lounge for a bit. The waterfall itself is not the most imposing, but it is very aesthetic and charming. A narrow stream cascades to a ledge about a third of the way down the falls, which expands the flow of water down to the stream. There are viewpoints above and below the falls which are equally nice. I did the hike with my family in the winter and it was very nice, but also very icy so trekking poles and spikes would have been best.

about 2 months ago
about 2 months ago

The hike to Tioga Falls is not the most scenic hike you will ever find, but it is quiet and charming. There are not too many crowds and the forest surrounding the trail is very nice. The trail is short enough to not pose any serious physical challenge, but also long enough to let your mind wander and let you feel like you are getting some exercise. The waterfall at the end is nice, but if water levels are low, the falls will be more of a trickle of water. Go after a good rainstorm and you will not be disappointed.

4 months ago
4 months ago

I was surprised at how accessible Dry Falls is. It was great to see small children and grandparents able to explore such beautiful scenery together. The combination of the beauty, accessibility, and proximity to Highlands definitely makes this a popular spot. I am all for more people exploring the outdoors and appreciating nature, but this was a bit much near the peak of Fall. I was lucky to quickly find a parking spot when I got there, but it took almost 15 minutes to get out of my spot when I left, as there was a gridlock of cars waiting to park getting in the way of cars waiting to get out. It was a mess. The waterfalls were so pretty though, I hardly even minded the madness. This is definitely a photographers waterfall, rather than a hikers waterfall. Don't go with the expectations of isolating yourself in nature, as this is not the waterfall for that.

4 months ago
4 months ago

Panther Creek Falls is one of those waterfalls that is just so much bigger than it looks in photos, so I definitely recommend going to see it in person. The pool at the base of the falls also makes for a great refreshing swim. With that said, I do not plan on re-visiting this trail anytime soon. The trail was not very scenic for long sections, so the 7 miles seems to drag on forever on the return. There were also a ton of people on the trail and at the waterfall which was fine, but made it hard to get a real rhythm going on the trail when you have to step aside to let people pass every couple of minutes. If I were to go again, I would camp at one of the many campsites along the way and pack up and get out early before most of the crowds arrive.

4 months ago
4 months ago

Minnehaha Falls is easily one of the most aesthetic and charming waterfalls in Georgia, and my personal favorite in NE Georgia. It is really just a small creek that spreads out beautifully over a series of cascades. There is not much to the hike since it is quite short. I set up my hammock near the base of the falls to photograph them at first light before the crowds got there, but it did not take long for the crowds to start pouring in. If you can go very early or very late in the day to relax and have this waterfall all to yourself, I highly recommend it.

4 months ago
4 months ago

The hike to Anna Ruby Falls is very scenic, but really more of a walk than a hike. The entire path is paved, which is great for accessibility purposes. The two viewing platforms are very spacious as well, leaving plenty of room for the typical crowds. If you are in the area and have a bit of time to spare, I highly recommend this waterfall, as it is definitely one of the prettiest in NE Georgia. There is an entrance fee of $3 per person, as the waterfall is outside of the boundaries of Unicoi State Park.

5 months ago
5 months ago

Fall Creek Falls is the tallest waterfall in the entire Eastern section of the US, and is impressive enough simply for that. However, when I went I expected a ton of water in the falls after heavy rain in the area from Hurricane Harvey but when I got there, the waterfall was really only an insanely tall trickle of water. Although it was still beautiful, it made me wish I had checked what the water levels were before going. Being labor day weekend, there was no shortage of crowds at the overlooks as well, which stresses me out sometimes. This did not stop me from finding a peaceful spot to take a solid nap in my hammock. Overall, I enjoyed the hike quite a bit, and I am sure most weekends are not quite as crowded as a holiday weekend.

6 months ago
6 months ago

In just a short hike down a steep canyon, you can find yourself at the base of the incredible Foster Falls. This waterfall is as charming as it is impressive, and it is not without its admirers. I went late in the afternoon on Labor Day weekend and there were still a good amount of people hanging out at the base and swimming in the pool. The water looked refreshing, and if I brought a towel I probably would have been in the water too. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend this hike.

6 months ago
6 months ago

I just completed this hike from the Twin Lakes trailhead in mid-August and it made for an epic overnight backpacking trip. There are some great campsites around Twin Lake and Island Lake, which you need an overnight permit for. The valley which the lakes are in is surrounded by incredible peaks, including Mt. Price. I made the summit up Mt. Price first thing in the morning and it was definitely a tough climb. There was still a good amount of snow at the top, and the loose rock made for some tricky navigating. There was no trail to be found past Twin Lake going up to the summit so I have no clue if I took the easiest route, but I was definitely huffing and puffing my way up to the top. The top of Mt. Price has incredible views of the Crystal Mountain Range and Desolation Wilderness.

6 months ago
6 months ago

If there is one thing that could be said about this hike is that you get a lot of bang for your buck. In a super short hike you can easily see the scenic upper and lower Helton Creek Falls. Both sections are perfect to take a dip in on a warm summers day. The lower falls have a graceful curvy shape and a mild steepness, while the upper falls is significantly more vertical and about 60 feet tall. If you want to avoid the crowds, simply come early or late on weekends or just come on a weekday.

7 months ago
7 months ago

This hike was very nice in some regards, but I felt it was a bit average in other ways too. The trail itself and the markings were awesome. There are a bunch of variations to take the trail, so if you want you can log some serious miles here. The covered bridge is also really cool, as you don't see those every day. The Chattahoochee River here is also fairly scenic and has some of the larger rapids in the area of the river around Atlanta. Although this hike has some mild climbs and descents, it is fairly easy and should be doable for most adults and even kids. Given the many variations in the trail that I mentioned earlier, you can pretty much make the hike as short or long as you wish. The forested sections are nice and shady, but are not particularly special in appearance. Even though it is nice that there is a park this big to hike in so close to the city, I was not a huge fan of the road noise you get on various sections of the trail. Overall I had a nice time, but this hike is probably behind some other local Chattahoochee hikes such as Sope Creek Trail and the East Palisades Trail in terms of priority to re-visit.

7 months ago
7 months ago

This hike easily packs some of the best views in all of the Appalachians in such a short distance. The summit of Black Balsam Knob offers 360-degree panoramic views that go as far into the mountains as the eyes can see. Great spot to watch both sunrise and sunset. There are some great tent sites on the trail too, but you just have to hope your tent is sturdy enough in case winds pick up.

8 months ago
8 months ago

The hike to Tennet Mountain is honestly one of the best hikes I have ever done in terms of views alone. Black Balsam Knob and Tennet Mountain just soar over the valleys below them and stare eye-to-eye with some of North Carolinas tallest peaks. There are some pretty epic spots to pitch a tent and have some incredibly scenic tent views too. The trail itself was super mild in terms of steepness and terrain. There were some muddy sections when I went and loose rocks to keep an eye out for, but nothing too crazy. I felt like I was just taking a stroll in a grassy meadow most of the time. Definitely enjoyed it, definitely would recommend, and definitely will go back soon.

8 months ago
8 months ago

I have mixed feelings about Amicalola Falls. On one hand, it is one of the closer waterfall trails to Atlanta and it also happens to be the tallest waterfall in the state. The waterfall itself is spectacular, especially if you go after its been raining. A short walk allows you to see one of the most impressive waterfalls around, which is pretty cool. On the other hand, it draws a lot of Atlanta crowds and just about the entire trail is either paved or stairs. Between the constant human traffic and the structured trail, I found it a bit hard to feel like I was really hiking or in any wilderness. For some, that may be perfect, I guess I just like a little more seclusion.

8 months ago
8 months ago

This is a great hike on the Alabama/Tennessee border. The first half of the hike is all down-hill and can be tough on the knees. The forest is very scenic, with some cool boulders and log-bridges featuring this section of the hike. Once you get close to the Walls of Jericho, you will notice a nice campsite next to a cemetery (a little creepy) and then more campsites a further 0.2 miles down. From the last group of campsites, the Walls are about another quarter-mile down the trail and will require a river crossing. Make sure you have good water-proof boots with traction on them for this. Once you are at the walls, you will notice some incredibly unique rock formations surrounding you. The walls to your right arc overhead, reminiscent of 'The Subway' in Zion National Park. Getting up to the main waterfall requires a bit of rock scrambling, so be mindful of your abilities here. When I went, water levels were not high enough to make the waterfall flow despite a lot of rain the week leading up to my visit. If you want to get a chance to see these falls, you should check on weather and water levels before you visit. Definitely would recommend and I will probably go again.

8 months ago
8 months ago

Stephens Gap cave was my first caving experience in Alabama and it was simply incredible. The hike to the entrance of the cave was a decent workout considering the short distance that it covered. The steep path down into the cave is super slippery and my friend actually fell pretty hard, but was lucky to not get hurt. Be sure to wear good shoes (hiking boots are best) and just take each step cautiously. It helps to have free hands too. Once down at the bottom of the cave, it is possible to take in the scale of the large room. The roof towers about 40-50 feet overhead and the waterfall plunges about 70 feet down to a lower section of the cavern below. The light is best around mid-day, and you can get some incredible sun-rays which Edward Day did a great job of capturing in this adventure. There is also a campsite near the mouth of the cave which looked spacious enough for a 2-3 person tent. Although I completely skipped over the hike to the cave, it is beautiful in its own right too. You hike up a narrow valley that is full of shade and wildflowers in the summer. Definitely enjoyed this adventure and I am already planning on coming back with more friends.

8 months ago
8 months ago

Driving from the Eastern Smokies back down to Atlanta along the Blue Ridge Parkway at the peak of fall was easily the most scenic and fun drive I have ever done. Between the gentle curves in the mountainside roads and the numerous lookout shoulders, I just could not get enough. A 3.5 hour drive easily turned into a 6 hour drive because we just kept stopping at every lookout. At one point I even said to myself, "OK, I am going to drive 20 minutes without stopping, so I can actually make some progress on this drive." Not more than two minutes later, I found myself pulled over at another lookout point, dumbfounded how each view seemed better than the last. This drive is just one of those pure joys in life, unless you get motion sickness...

9 months ago
9 months ago

The Salar de Uyuni is quite simply one of the most unique, bizarre, and beautiful places on earth. Its solitude is magnificent, the geology of the surrounding volcanoes is incredible, and the wildlife is equally as bizarre as the landscape is. Almost everyone that visits the Salar does it with a guide, and I highly recommend it. I am the type of person that does not like tours and like exploring on my own instead, but you cannot just rent a car here and do your own thing. I do not think that would be advisable anyway. As beautiful as the landscape is, it is also extremely harsh. The altitude is insane, the windy nights are frigid, and the salt makes the air drier than you could ever imagine. You are going to want a guide to make sure you not only see all the cool things, but also are in good hands in case you get sick (which I did). My understanding is that Uyuni is a bit easier to get to now, but no matter how bumpy the roads or long the train ride is, its worth it.

9 months ago
9 months ago

The hike to Pickens Nose is short and sweet. Once you get to the top of the mountain, you wont see any signs for the multiple rocky overlooks, but you will see tunnel-shaped paths through the Rhododendron that branch out to multiple lookout points, all of which are pretty cool. At some of the lookouts you will see anchors in the rock for rock climbing and I do not know much about climbing but some of the rock faces looked like they would be pretty challenging. One thing to note about getting to the trailhead is to search for 'Pickens Nose Trailhead' in Maps, not 'Pickens Nose'. Also, the 5ish miles of dirt road get pretty sketchy in the last mile, so having a car with good clearance is a definite plus. The hike leading up to the top was nothing special, but the views made up for it.

9 months ago
9 months ago

If you are looking for a great trail with some elevation gain that is not too far from Atlanta, this is it. This trail is a good distance and has enough climb to make it a good workout, but is still short enough that you can pretty much do it on a whim in 1-2hrs. However, my GPS measured the hike at 2.85 miles and the map at the trailhead has the trail at about 2.5 miles. I calculated these distances only from the trailhead to the David Archer Summit Overlook, along the West Loop. With that said, I am not sure what the exact distance is, but it might be shorter than suggested here. The forest leading up to the overlook is very scenic. My only drawback from this part of the hike is that you can still hear the traffic noise from 75 until you get pretty deep into the trail. I am sure that is dependent on wind direction though. There are a good number of switchbacks that comprise a good climb up the forest. The trail is fairly well marked, but just follow the teal blazes on the way up to the overlook, and then the red blazes on the way down.

10 months ago
10 months ago

This is a great trail that is pretty close to Atlanta and has multiple beautiful views of Lake Allatoona. I recommend camping at the park and getting an early start to catch some epic sunrise views over the water. There is nothing like the calmness of the water in the morning with the sun intensely reflecting on it. The difficulty of this hike is fairly easy because there is not much elevation gain. If you do not hike too often, the distance could definitely still wear you out. Plenty of cool spots to take a break, so definitely doable by most.

10 months ago
10 months ago