Climb the Stairs to Amicalola Falls
Georgia › Amicalola Falls Lodge
Added by Matthew Ady
Plunging 729 feet, Amicalola Falls is the tallest cascading waterfall in the South. A North Georgia favorite, a trip to the falls is the perfect way to spend the day any time of year. While the falls are only a short walk from the parking lot, hikers must ascend about 600 stairs and a mildly steep quarter-mile incline to reach the top. The climb is well worth the effort, as climbers enjoy an up close perspective of the falls and a stunning view of the mountains at the top of the falls.
Adventurers access the falls through the state park entrance. From the parking lot, hikers follow the clearly marked signs to the base of the falls. The incline begins by the pond at the base of the falls. From the pond, follow the incline along the cascading portion of the falls to the stairs. At the stairs, ascend to the first viewing platform and snap a few shots of the falls. Continue onward to the bridge for an up close and personal view of the falls. On the other side of the bridge, take the remaining stairs to the top for a view of the surrounding mountains. To return back to their car, hikers have two options—either descend the way they came, or walk down the road. The trip down the stairs is by far the better option, based on scenery alone.
The only way to get a close view of the falls is to use the stairs, but for hikers who are leery of the climb, they might have the option to park at the top and walk down. The only catch is finding a ride back to the top, so plan ahead.
For hikers looking for a more adventurous day, there is the option to continue to Springer Mountain. Nestled at the southern tip of the Appalachian trail, Amicalola Falls hosts many through-hikers each summer seeking to start their 2100 mile journey from Springer Mountain to Katadin in Maine. The hike out and back will add an additional 17 miles, but it is a very enjoyable and rolling adventure. For more on that trek, see: Hike to Springer Mountain, the Southern Terminous of the Appalachian Trail.
- camera (& tripod for long exposure shots)
- backpack (for hands free climbing of the stairs)
- sturdy walking shoes
- lunch (if you want to have a picnic at the top)
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Cool spot, but get ready for step master for 45+ mns. I started from the very top of the falls and worked my way down the steps and that probably took at least 20mns. If you have the whole day and want an exercise, then it would be reasonable to start near the bottom. However, if you want to be efficient with your time then I would advise just starting at the top like I did and going down as far as you'd like to soak in the falls. Also, the lodge at the top of the mountain is a great spot to relax and enjoy the mountain view. It has a restaurant too if you'd like to eat there. Overall, cool place to check out!
The waterfall is stunning but the hike not so much. In my opinion. A lot of it is stairs ascending to the middle and then the top of the waterfall itself. Great leg day for sure though. And the creek that flows into it at the top is neat. We hung our hammocks over it and hung out - which I wouldn't recommend doing because we found out that was not allowed, plus there were water moccasin snakes in the creek. Also, if you want more mountain hiking there's a trail at the top of the falls that goes to Springer Mountain which is another 7-9 miles. It's the start of the Appalachian Trail.
Great For Families Or Hikers
There are three ways to see the falls. 1) You can park at the top and walk down the several flights of stairs to the bottom (or just see it from the top). 2) Park at the bottom near the visitors center and start at the base of the falls and walk up the stairs if desired to see the killer view over the falls. 3) Start the hike at the beginning of the Appalachian Trail and hike to the top, then take the stairs down (the easiest part of the hike). In general, it's best to see during the summer or fall in my opinion. I went in the Winter after going in the Summer, and there were definitely less people in the winter, but the views are just prettier when you see green during the Summer or orange during that perfect time of Fall (Octoberish-Novemberish).
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