ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia
Amicalola Falls State Park
Plunging more than 729 feet, Amicalola Falls is the
tallest waterfall in the Southeast and is the
centerpiece of a beautiful Georgia state park.
Little Amicalola Creek
As it tumbles through the
park, the creek creates some
of the most beautiful scenes
in Georgia.
Amicalola Falls State Park - Dawsonville, Georgia
Tallest Waterfall in the Southeast
Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
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North Georgia Mountains
Amicalola Falls State Park is
located in the beautiful
mountain country near the
historic gold mining town of
Dahlonega, Georgia.
Amicalola Falls State Park
The stunning waterfall is one
of the most inspiring sights in
the North Georgia mountains.
Top of Amicalola Falls
The water of Little Amicalola
Creek begins its remarkable
729 foot drop.
Amicalola Falls, the stunning centerpiece of
a beautiful state park in the North Georgia
mountains, is the tallest cascading waterfall
in the Southeast.

From its top to its bottom, the waterfall
plunges more than 729 feet, more than four
times the height of Niagara Falls. This
remarkable fact alone makes Amicalola one
of the "must see" heritage and eco-tourism
locations in the South.

The falls are created by the waters of Little
Amicalola Creek, a tributary of the Etowah
River. It is generally thought that the name
comes from a Cherokee Indian word that
means "tumbling waters."

As the origin of the name suggests, the area
of today's Amicalola Falls State Park was part
of the traditional territory of great Cherokee
Nation. The remarkable waterfall was known
to their ancestors for centuries before the
arrival of Europeans in North America.

One of the earliest written descriptions of the
falls was written in 1832 by Georgia surveyor
William Williamson. Stunned by the beauty of
the waterfall, he tried to climb to the top but
found the effort too much for his abilities. Like
many modern visitors, he was "completely
exhausted by the time I reached half-way."

In 1838, under the terms of the Indian
Removal Act, the Cherokee of North Georgia
were forcibly removed from their homes by
the U.S. government. Soldiers moved them
into concentration camps called "removal
forts" and then forced them west on the Trail
of Tears to what is now Oklahoma.

The wholesale removal of the Cherokee
people opened the Georgia mountains to
settlement by whites. In 1852 an early
entrepreneur named Bartley Crane built a
water-powered mill on Little Amicalola Creek
below the falls.

Eight years later a Methodist campground
was established nearby as a place where
people could gather for all-day picnics and
preachings. There were few opportunities for
such enjoyment of the setting, however,
before the brutal fires of the Civil War swept
across the South.

As was the case in the Ozarks of Arkansas
and Missouri, the swamps of Florida and the
Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, the
mountains of Georgia attracted bands of
deserters and Unionists who sought to avoid
military service by hiding out in the hills.

Raids and violence were common in the
hidden mountains and valleys, while the
major fighting of the Atlanta Campaign took
place just to the west at locations such as
Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, Kennesaw
Mountain and Allatoona Pass.

Remarkably, Crane's Mill survived and was
used to grind the grain of the mountain
people until the early 20th century. An
adjacent general store built by John Crane,
son of the mill's builder, operated even
longer and was a fixture of the area through
the days of the Great Depression.

The Crane family held the land until 1940
when, on the eve of another great war, they
sold it to the State of Georgia for use in
developing Amicalola Falls State Park.
The park is now one of the most popular in
Georgia. Overlooks, trails and a staircase
provide access to the stunning waterfall.

In addition, Amicalola Falls State Park serves
as the southern "jumping off" point for the
Appalachican Trail, the remarkable hiking
path that extends 2,175 miles from Georgia
to Maine. An 8.5 mile approach trail leads
from the park to Springer Mountain, the
southern terminus of the trail.

Twelve miles of trails wind through the park
itself, providing access to nature and the
beautiful mountain scenery.

In addition, there are picnic areas, camping
areas, playgrounds, ranger programs, a
visitor center, gift shops, seasonal trout
fishing and even a year-round restaurant
available at the park. Amicalola Falls State
Park is part of the
GeoCaching Challenge
available at more than 60 Georgia State
Parks and Historic Sites.

For those interested in spending time at the
park without "roughing it," there are 14
cabins, a
20-room Hike Inn (accessible only
via a 5-mile hiking trail) and a 56-room lodge
and conference center.

Online reservations are available.
click here for more information. Reservations
can be made by calling 1-800-864-7275.
Lodge reservations can be made by calling

Amicalola Falls State Park is on Georgia
Highway 52 which runs from Dahlonega to
Ellijay. The address is 418 Amicalola Falls
State Park Rd., Dawsonville, Georgia. The
gates are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily,
with a $5 parking fee required.

Please click here to visit the official website
for more information.
Photography by Savannah Brininstool