Lover of waterfalls? The Mountains of Georgia definitely delivered. Here is how we spent 9 days chasing waterfalls, and where we stayed.
Day 1 - Travel Day Drove Tampa -> Albany GA We drove to Albany to meet a friend for dinner. Albany is about 1hr 15mins away from Providence Canyon, so you can stay closer to Providence Canyon if you want a shorter morning drive.
Day 2 - Providence Canyon Providence Canyon - Little Grand Canyon - List of Trails -
We did the Providence Canyon Trail and then added on the Perimeter Loop Trail to take us around the top, and back to our car. This took us all of the morning until around lunch time. After lunch we made the drive up to Trenton GA to stay the night.
Day 3 - Cloudland Canyon
Cloudland Canyon We hiked West Rim Loop Trail first thing in the morning. It was listed as a top hikes in America at one time. While it was a nice hike and had some good views, I wouldn’t put it as a top hike in all of America. West Rim Loop took us until around lunch time, after lunch we hiked down to Hemlock and Cherokee Falls where we sat and enjoyed the sounds of the waterfall the pool under Cherokee Falls, I would suggest heading down to Hemlock Falls before and watched others swim in hitting Cherokee Falls on your way back up.
Day 4 - Cloudland Canyon & Amicalola Cloudland Canyon Because the waterfalls were so busy the day before we decided to be the first people into the park and hike down to Cherokee Falls again to have it to ourselves. On our way from Cloudland Canyon to Hiawasee we took a detour to Amicalola State Park. When you enter the park you can either park at the bottom, middle, or top of the falls. The bottom parking lot will give you the full creekside walk. The middle is a very small parking lot but is the shortest and easiest walk to the main part of the falls. The Top parking lot is fairly large but requires a good amount of stairs to get down to the main part of the falls. After Amicalola, we drove to our cabin in Hiawasee GA.
Day 5 - Hikes & Waterfalls Preachers Rock - Short and pretty easy hike that had a decent amount of parking. Might make for a good sunrise spot.
Helton Creek Falls - There was a long dirt road to get to this waterfall but there were plenty of normal cars making the drive. The waterfall has a nice area to put your feet in, or take a dip in the cold water.
Vogel State Park (Trahlyta) - We had our lunch overlooking the lake, then walked over to Trahlyta falls and around the lake back to our car. Brasstown Bald (highest point in GA) - This hike was much steeper than we anticipated but it was fully paved. It looks like sometimes they have a shuttle up to the top but due to covid that was not available to us.
Day 6 - Tallulah Gorge & Moonrise Distillery Tallulah Gorge State Park These trails were fairly easy, got to walk around the rim of the gorge and down to see a waterfall, we plan to come back and do some camping and try to get a Gorge Floor Permit. Moonrise Distillery tour and tasting. The owner personally took us on the tour and tasting; he was also pretty heavy handed during the tasting so it was a good deal for the people who aren't the designated driver. Everything at the tasting was delicious. We really enjoyed their gin margarita, bourbon lemonade, snow cap, and bourbons.
Day 7 - High Shoals & Dukes Creek Falls hikes High Shoals Falls - This hike was not difficult and you get a good view of two waterfalls. The road to the trailhead is gravel, required a shallow stream crossing, the trailhead parking is very small and may be taken up partially by campers. Get here early. Georgia Mountain Coaster - Helen - Quick stop to go on the alpine coaster, it's a fun ride and I would do it again. On Day 9 we come back to Helen, so you can save this for that day if you want. Dukes Creek Falls - Pretty easy hike that has a large waterfall (though blocked by trees) at the end and a few nice viewing decks to stand on.
Day 8 - Raven Cliff Falls & Paddle boarding Raven Cliff Falls - This was a decently long trail at 5.8 mi but its near a creek nearly the entire way, so even during the summer it didn't feel too hot and there were some places to sit in the water to cool off. There was some small scrambling required at the end to get to the falls. Lake Chatuge paddle boarding - After hiking Raven Cliff Falls we headed back towards our cabin in Hiawasee and rented some paddle boards at a nearby marina.
Day 9 - Anna Ruby Falls & Exploring Helen Anna Ruby Falls - busy, get there at opening or it may be full, Explore around Helen, check out the shops, plenty of great places to eat, and go on the Georgia Mountain Coaster
Day 10-11 - Optional Days that we added on to spend some time with family Lake Keowee is just about a 1.5 hour drive from Helen and is a beautiful lake to spend a weekend on. There are a ton of lake houses to rent and public marinas to rent a boat for enjoying the lake, and there are even some nearby hikes and waterfalls to check out. Here are a few of the hikes we enjoyed Upper Whitewater Falls - short and easy hike to the waterfall overlook, AllTrails shows 1.2 miles but to get to the overlook is much shorter Lower Whitewater Falls - This hike is longer and tougher than Upper Whitewater Falls. The overlook gives a beautiful view but it's not quite as impressive as Upper Whitewater. If you only have time for one, I would suggest doing the short hike to Upper. Sassafras Mountain Observation Tower - Short walk with a beautiful view overlooking North and South Carolina.
Day 12 Drive back home to Tampa.