Locate It: Dawsonville

Dawsonville: Start of the Appalachian Trail and Home of the Eastern U.S.’ Tallest Waterfall

As the home of Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge, Dawsonville, Georgia is the site of many amazing natural wonders and outdoors experiences. Spectacular scenery and hiking trails make Amicalola one of Georgia’s most popular state parks.

As the home of Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge, Dawsonville, Georgia is the site of many amazing natural wonders and outdoors experiences. Spectacular scenery and hiking trails make Amicalola one of Georgia’s most popular state parks.

An 8.5-mile trail leads from the park to Springer Mountain, the beginning of the famous Appalachian Trail in Georgia. A 5-mile trek will take you to the Len Foote Hike Inn, a backcountry lodge that indulges everyone from the Appalachian Trail thru-hiker to the family seeking a getaway to enjoy the peace and beauty of the mountains without the trappings of modern life. Also at Amicalola Falls State Park, a mountain-top lodge is popular with guests who prefer hotel comforts, while cottages and a campground offer more rustic accommodations.

Let’s not forget the falls themselves. Named “tumbling waters” by the Cherokee Indians, Amicalola Falls drops 729 feet, making it the highest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River. More than 600 stair steps will take you from the base to the top of the cascade, while wheelchair access is available on a half-mile trail to see the middle of the falls and take photos that will capture the memories forever.

In addition to the miles of hiking trails at Amicalola and throughout the Dawsonville area, there are plenty of opportunities for bird watching, camping, canoeing and rafting.

The area’s diverse topography changes elevation from river lowlands to mountain highlands. This creates a rich ecosystem that attracts a wide variety of bird species. Annual migrations of geese, mallards, wood ducks, and other colorful species such as neotropical warblers, tanagers, orioles, and grosbeaks can be seen in the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area (parking pass required). Near the Etowah River, bird watchers may see breeding warblers and other neotropical migrants – possibly even few blue-winged warblers – plus waterfowl and shorebirds in this area of maturing second-growth forest.

Those for whom camping is a favorite activity will find everything from primitive tent sites to RV pull-through sites with full hook-ups. Private campgrounds, state park, and Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds are equipped with power outlets, water supply and other conveniences. More intrepid visitors may prefer the primitive sites, such as those in Dawson Forest and the Chattahoochee National Forest, with only the bare necessities, like fire rings and picnic tables.

River recreation comes in many forms around Dawsonville’s three major rivers: the Amicalola, the Chestatee, and the Etowah. A range of canoe, kayak, raft, and tubing possibilities means Dawsonville has a float trip route for every river runner, from a lazy day on slow water to the excitement of challenging Class IV whitewater rapids. Anglers will find cold-running trout streams.

Dawsonville has a strong agricultural base, so you’ll want to come here in season for the pumpkin and Christmas tree farms, corn mazes, and to see the fall leaf colors.

Golfers can experience amazing play amid some of the most beautiful scenery in the state. Chestatee Golf’s lakefront links, designed by award-winning golf architect Denis Griffiths, play along the shores and wooded hills of Lake Lanier, dubbed Georgia’s “Great Lake.” Crystal Falls Lake and Golf Club provides an opportunity to experience one of North Georgia’s finest mountain courses. Both courses are paired with residential developments, so you can live here as well as visit.

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