High Shoals Scenic Area Trail

Hiawassee, Georgia

High Shoals Scenic Area Trail Professional Review and Guide

"The High Shoals Scenic Area contains two impressive and picturesque waterfalls. High Shoals Creek originates on Tray Mountain, one of the summits on the Appalachian Trail that is more than 4,000 feet in elevation. The first waterfall is called Blue Hole Falls. Downstream is 100-foot High Shoals Falls. Observation decks are at the foot of both of the cascades.

The High Shoals Trail loses 515 feet in elevation on the way into the creek valley. On the climb out, all three steep sections are very short. During winter, freezing weather and high water can make the trail more difficult to reach and to hike. Green blazes mark the path throughout its length."

High Shoals Scenic Area Trail Reviews

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icon15 Total
Over three days we hiked several trails around Amicalola. First, on Friday 10/02 we hiked from the Amicalola upper parking lot to the Len Foote Hike Inn. The walk was nice (app 5 mi) and the lodge is great. After arriving and settling in (no pun intended) we went for another hike from the Inn taking a trail that connects it to the AT approach trail then back again. The only problem we found that day was on our last hike on a fire break trail when we got much too close to a yellow jacket nest. Ater a delicious dinner and good night's sleep at the Hike Inn we hiked from there to the start of the ST in Georgia on Springer Mountain. We ventured down the AT until finding the first camp and shelter, poked around a bit and came back. That second day we hiked about 9 miles. Another great dinner, sleep and breakfast the next morning brought us to departure time. Reluctantly we started down the mountain from the Hike Inn to Amicalola and our waiting car. We went back by way of the AT approach trail. This turned out to be about a mile more than our trip in. This was a really great weekend. Challenging trails, good company and a whole lot of nature.
Celebrate National Public Lands Day on September 26th with free admission to Amicalola State Park and Lodge. You'll find many ways to show your support for Georgia State Parks' mission to preserve, protect, and provide access to public Green Space. You can either take advantage of volunteer opportunities that day such as trail inspection or litter pick-up, take advantage of a great day for a fall hike. Or make it a vacation, with Amicalola State Park Lodge's new Lodge-ical rates. Free admission day is 9/26/09.
I did not hike every trail in the park. Started on the trail out of the AT parking area, immediately crossing a stream. Hiking through the woods was a nice gentle climb. Nothing to difficult. Getting to the waterfall was a nice rubber path made out of recycled tires. At the waterfall was a wood bridge overlook. It always makes me sad when you cannot get right up to the water itself. Getting to the peak is a lot of stairs. I don't understand why hiking in GA means climbing man made stairs??
My son and I hiked this area mid summer. It was really nice and moderate at best. We hiked to the top of the falls, enjoyed lunch at the lodge, then hiked the fire road on the way back down. The small waterfalls along the way were really pretty and the vegitation is so varried, you have to be paying attention, or you'll miss something.
We did the stairs - very hard, but it gives a great sense of pride. We also walked one of the trails up at the top of the falls - very flat, easy and blazed. A nice stop if you're in the area, but nothing to go out of your way for because of all the crowds and man-made elements.
This is one of the better waterfalls I've seen, certainly the best in Georgia. The only complaint that I have is the stairs that make up the trail are somewhat obtrusive, and the bridge at the base of the falls detracts from the spectacular scenery. That said the trail is nice, but strenuous. It's kind of like a never ending stair-master. One other comment, I brought my dogs and the metal grating of the staircase was hard on their paws. My dogs are pretty fearless, so the view through the grate didn't particularly bother them, but other dogs might not handle it as well. I took the loop back to the base of the falls, and that was much more problematic. It is very poorly marked (The trail has markings, but the colors change and it forks frequently, all of which are marked), several times I became afraid that I was lost , or at least going in the wrong direction. It is also extremely steep, without stairs, and I had to let the dogs off leash so that I could grab trees to keep from rolling down the mountain. Fortunately, my dogs are trail trained and didn't run off, but be aware that trying to handle dogs that pull on this trail would be bad. On a sad note, this was the last trail my dog Buddy did with me. He passed away from cancer about a week after we got back to Colorado, but if this had to be his last major hike, it was a good one for him.
Did the 16-mile round trip to Springer and back in just under 8 hours, starting at the park lodge. Water sources were very unreliable...be sure to bring plenty of your own. Toughest part is Frosty Mountain at around mile 3 and then the final 1.5 miles up to Springer. Before making the final ascent, grab a PowerBar at the AT shelter at the base. Lots of wildlife...saw three dear, a snake and a black bear at mile 4, just 50 feet off the trail! The only thing that kept me from giving this 5 stars was the fact that the view from Springer, while nice, is not as unobstructed as I had hoped. Still, you feel like you are on hallowed ground once you reach the top, which makes the 8 mile hike up hill all worth it!
To experience the best hiking of Amicalola Falls, GO EARLY and park just up from the Visitor's Center (the parking in front is 30 min. only). Pick up the Creek Trail Trailhead in the parking lot directly across from the Visitor's Center and follow the yellow blazes. You'll be hiking up a switchback trail up and over a ridge (moderately strenuous) to the Mt. Laurel Trail Loop. Once there, follow the trail's green blazes back up the ridge and you will follow the ridgeline for approximately 1/2 mile. Keep going until you link up with the Base of Falls trail (red blazes). You will be hiking down to the reflection pool. Dodge the trout fishermen(fisherpersons?) and you will be on a well paved trail. Here's where it gets interesting. The paved trail gradually gets steeper until you reach the stairs that take you up to the Falls Overlook. You'll enjoy a fantastic view of the falls from the bottom. 700 feet up is the brink of the falls. Cross the bridge and hit the West Ridge Staircase. PACE YOURSELF - the staircase is quite steep and leads up to the Falls Overlook at the top. Once there, enjoy the view looking down over the brink and the view of the N. Georgia Mtns. Cross over and head for the Amicalola Falls Lodge. I hiked this on Mother's Day and the restaurant was full but I'm going back to sample the cuisine! Pick up the AT Approach Trail and follow the blue blazes back down to the Visitor's Center. This was the best hiking I've yet experienced in Georgia State Parks. My only complaint was it was very crowded but it was Mother's Day after all. I'm hiking all Georgia State Parks this year and posting my pics at http://laniernet.com/mediaplace.
Very Good Hike we started at Springer Mt. and Hiked down to Amicalola Falls the Falls. Most of the hike was easy terran and well defined trail. Lots of great people along the way and we hiked over to Hiker Inn. The only dificulty I found was there was no way that I could get a combined AT Amacola map it was to seperate trails. Larger map of the area proved to provide the best information.

Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Easy to Moderate
Skill Level
About 1.5 hours
USGS Tray Mountain
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jun 2018