A day trip adventure reveals five incredibly beautiful, yet elusive North Georgia waterfalls worthy of your mountain getaway or weekend road trip itinerary.


So my fall break week at Pinebox got off to a BANG!

Literally . . . .

Jim and Ken, my brothers by other mothers, drove up from Atlanta Sunday evening to spend a couple of days like they always do, and we headed out Monday morning for a day of waterfall hikes, again like we always do.

But we didn’t get far . . . .

I started slowly backing out the mountain driveway looking behind with my arm on the passenger seat like I have done for eleven years, when suddenly we were jolted out of our bliss with a crash, sudden stop, and the shattering of glass.

I had backed into a tree, doing considerable damage to the rear driver’s side of my beloved Mountaineer.

Don’t ask me why. It was a fluke. All I can figure is that I had angled the SUV slightly when parking the night before to allow room in the driveway for Jim and Ken to park, and it happened. Actually, it was a blessing the tree was there to halt our momentum, or we would have gone down the mountain.

But it was going to take more than a fender-bender to steal our fun. I called my auto insurance to initiate the claim and pulled my wounded Mountaineer into the cabin garage. We hopped in Jim’s Lincoln and resumed our fall outing.

Damaged Mountaineer

The damage.


5 Elusive North Georgia Waterfalls


Our plan for the day was to scout out some of the more elusive North Georgia waterfalls. When I use the term “elusive,” I mean that for some reason, in the many years that the North Georgia mountains have been my second home, these were waterfalls I had never visited and didn’t make it into our 10 Favorite North Georgia Waterfalls post.

One of our Twitter followers, @jhawk455, had recommended Blue Hole Falls located in the Chattahoochee National Forest between Hiawassee and Helen, so we decided to head that direction first.


Blue Hole Falls & High Shoals Falls

Towns County


Creek Ford High Shoals Creek Falls

We turned east on Forestry Service Road 283 approximately 11.5 miles north of Helen. Shortly, thereafter we came upon a bridgeless creek we would have to ford in order to continue. We parked to check the water depth, and then watched while a compact car successfully crossed the gravel-bottomed branch.

We, too, forded the creek with no problem and continued a mile or so more and parked in the High Shoals Scenic Area.

The trail was marked with a small sign pointing the way to the two waterfalls approximately 1.2 miles away.

Signpost High Shoals Falls

Take this trail to the falls.

Scarlet Autumn Maple Leaf

Breathtaking beauty in small things along the trail.

Felled Tree High Shoals Trail

A recently fallen tree blocked the trail. While Jim and I struggled to negotiate the trunk and branches, Ken made a simple detour down the mountain and made it around in seconds.

Show-off!

Trail to High Shoals Creek Falls

Ahh, those familiar wide leaf-strewn trails and rhododendron canopies.

Blue Hole Falls Georgia

Blue Hole Falls has a nice swimming hole.

Ken High Shoals Falls Georgia

Ken, the master iPhoneographer, at High Shoals Falls.

Both waterfalls have convenient observation decks for hikers who aren’t as fond of up-close-and-personal views like we are.

Howard High Shoals Falls Georgia

The prosaic pose.

Hiking Feet

Hiking feet.

The downhill hike to the falls was easy, making the return uphill hike more of a challenge, but stopping to view the beauty of nature along the way made it a pleasant walk all the way around.

Mossy Log

Fernbank and Mossbank, literally.

Tiny Waterfall Georgia

The world’s tiniest waterfall.

 


Horse Trough Falls

Union County


Sign Near Horse Trough Falls

Leaving the High Shoals Scenic Area, we followed F.S. Rd. 283 back to GA 75 and headed south toward Helen. The two brochures we were using for directions to Horse Trough Falls (one commercial and one from the Forestry Service) said we should turn west on F.S. 44 (AKA Wilkes Creek Rd.) just two miles south.

We found a narrow westbound gravel road in the area, but neither the sign by the highway (pictured above) nor the signs on the gravel road (pictured below) mentioned the name of the road nor High Shoal Falls. After a couple of confusing turnarounds to scout the immediate area, we decided to take our chances on the gravel road.

Can you say “elusive?”

Signs Near Horse Trough Falls

Do you see any mention of Horse Trough Falls?

Roadside Waterfall

A bonus roadside cascade.

Approximately five miles up the gravel road we came upon a well-developed, yet completely vacant, camping and parking area. A sign marked the way to the impressive Horse Trough Falls. Elusive though it may be, we had found it!

Horse Trough Falls Georgia

Horse Trough Falls from a distance.

Horse Trough Falls Georgia

Horse Trough Falls up close.

On Tuesday, we got a late start scouting additional elusive North Georgia waterfalls because Ken offered to make us delicious ham and cheese omelets for breakfast. Around noon we headed south toward the Cooper’s Creek Recreation Area.


Sea Creek Falls

Fannin County


Road to Sea Creek Falls

This way to Sea Creek Falls.

Speaking of elusive, I had attempted to find Sea Creek Falls on two or three occasions and never quite made it there. But today would be different. We followed GA 60 and turned onto Cooper’s Creek Road. This time we came upon a sign pointing toward the falls.

A short distance ahead we came to another bridgeless creek. As before, we scoped out the depth of the water before attempting to cross over, but we were concerned the creek bottom might be too soft for a low car. We spotted a truck parked near a trail leading into the woods, so we decided to follow the path to see where it might lead. After a short hike we found a group of picnickers, and just beyond . . . Sea Creek Falls.

Sign to Sea Creek Falls

Sign pointing toward the falls.

Sea Creek Ford Near Falls

You do not have to ford this creek to reach the falls.

Trail to Sea Creek Falls

Instead, park and take this trail to the falls.

Sea Creek Falls

Sea Creek Falls

Ken Jim Howard Sea Creek Falls

Ken, Jim & me.

Cooper's Creek Store Georgia

Cooper’s Creek Store

Before heading off to scout our next waterfall, we stopped to grab a bite to eat at the Cooper’s Creek Store, located on GA 50 across from the turnoff to Cooper’s Creek Road. Jim treated us to a tasty lunch of BBQ sandwiches and chips, and then we were off to find the last waterfall of the season.


Long Creek Falls

Fannin County


Autumn Road Georgia

The fall foliage on the drive to Long Creek Falls was incredibly beautiful, and we could not resist stopping for some photo ops. Eventually, our trusty brochure helped us find our way to the point where F.S. Road 58 turned off Doublehead Gap Road.

Autumn Pasture Georgia

Autumn pastures.

Sign Near Long Creek Falls

A sign shortly after the turn-off on F. S. Road 58.

Our brochure said the trailhead was located at the popular Three Forks Recreation Area. When we arrived at a fairly large parking area we found no sign indicating that it was Three Forks, so we continued driving for several miles.

Eventually we realized we had driven too far, so we turned around and headed back to the parking area. Three hikers who were setting up camp pointed us in the right direction, and we also found a trail sign with a hand-drawn arrow pointing to the falls.

Bridge Near Long Creek Falls

Not this way.

Sign Near Long Creek Falls

Go this way.

Appalachian Trail Sign

The trail to Long Creek Falls is part of the Appalachian Trail.

We hiked what we believed to be the approximate distance to Long Creek Falls, and we could see a waterfall just below the main trail. We eventually found a side trail to the falls, but none of our movements seemed to match the description in the Forestry Service brochure.

It wasn’t until I started doing research for this post that I realized how elusive Long Creek Falls were. So elusive, that I discovered we never made it to the main falls. What we had found was actually a lower, smaller waterfall on the creek.

Long Creek Falls

Not Long Creek Falls, but lovely still.

Autumn Sky and Color Georgia

Autumn’s beauty above the falls.

All in all, we had a fulfilling two days of waterfall hikes, elusive though they were. This experience taught me that when searching for some of the lesser-known North Georgia waterfalls, you might want to compare directions on several web sites, maps, and brochures to weed out the misinformation. On these two days alone I read warnings of a difficult road that was actually smoothly paved and two creek-crossings we did not have to make.

Later in the week, I stopped by the Forestry Service office in Blairsville and talked to the ranger on duty. Before I could complain about the poor directions in the brochures, she happened to mention the lesser-known and hard-to-find waterfalls in the area.

It was then I realized that the misinformation was part of the adventure, and this blessing-in-disguise was one of the reasons why there were still some elusive North Georgia waterfalls not overrun with tourists, and we could find them with just a tiny bit more effort.

Bandaged Mountaineer

The Mountaineer patched up for the drive back to Florida.

 


10 Favorite North Georgia Waterfalls


If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out our second-most popular post of all time: 10 Favorite North Georgia Waterfalls.


We Would Love to Hear From You


We welcome your questions and comments, and we would love to hear about elusive waterfalls you have visited in North Georgia, or anywhere for that matter, in the comments section below.

And we ALWAYS respond . . . .


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A day trip adventure reveals five incredibly beautiful, yet elusive North Georgia waterfalls worthy of your mountain getaway or weekend road trip itinerary. #travel #TBIN #Georgia #waterfalls #roadtrip

 


Helpful Links


Comprehensive Listing of North Georgia Waterfalls on Wikipedia

High-Definition North Georgia Waterfall Videos by Mark Williams

Georgia Waterfalls @ GeorgiaTrails.com

Georgia Swimming Holes

 

Howard Blount is founder and co-owner of the travel blog BackroadPlanet.com. He has traveled internationally since boyhood and lived abroad in Mexico, Chile, and Paraguay. Now his passion is navigating the roads-less-traveled of this amazing planet in search of anything rare and remote. On the stuffy side, “Mr. Blount” has been a writer, consultant, and published author with the likes of Simon & Schuster and McGraw-Hill. Although his road trips are financed by his day job as a middle school teacher, Howard would much rather be doing anything that includes mountains, waterfalls, dachshunds, gospel choirs, books, restored classic movies on Blu-ray, HDTV, autumn, sandhill cranes, hot springs, Florida springs, rain and other gloomy weather, log cabins, cracker shacks, abandoned sites, unearthed history, genealogy, museums, documentaries, To Kill a Mockingbird, scenic and historical sites, castles, cathedrals, the Civil War, cold sheets, National and State Park Passports, quotes, the Rambos, Dionne Warwick, Steely Dan, Doobies, Diet Pepsi, Fish City Grill, anything Apple, all things British, Jesus, and lists. And on a random note, Howard is a fourth cousin once removed to Truman Capote.
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