Raven Cliff Falls Hiking Trail in North GA

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There is no shortage of great hiking trails in North Georgia. The region is home to the Blue Ridge Mountains, a part of the Appalachian Mountains which extend all the way to the northeastern United States.

North Georgia is a wonderful region for nature lovers and adventure seekers and the area is filled with things to do. The North GA mountains feature amazing small towns and cities to explore and the region is known for its amazing sights. In North GA, there are many great spots to go hiking, camping, mountain biking, kayaking, swimming, and much more.

If you want to see some of the region’s most scenic views and get up close to stunning waterfalls, lush Georgia pines and greenery, and incredible mountain peaks, going for a hike can be well worth it. There are some amazing hikes that you’ll want to experience, whether you’re a Georgia local or a visitor from out of state.

In this comprehensive North Georgia hiking guide, we’ll tell you about the best hiking trails in North Georgia and will answer some common questions about hiking in the Peach State.

15 Best Hiking Trails in North GA

If you want to spend some time hiking in North Georgia, you’ll probably have a hard time deciding where you want to go! With so many great trails, it can be easy to experience the “paradox of choice”.

Fortunately, we’ve selected a few of the region’s top hikes for you. The trails below are sorted in order of difficulty, so read on to find a hike that’s right for you and your hiking companions.

Easy Hikes

Brasstown Bald

Brasstown Bald
Brasstown Bald: Georgia’s Highest Point.
  • Closest Town: Hiawassee, GA
  • Distance: 1.1 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy

This easy Georgia hike is also one of the most popular.

Brasstown Bald is Georgia’s highest mountain and rises to 4,784 feet. This hike takes you straight to the top. After a hike of about half a mile, you’ll reach the top of Brasstown Bald where you’ll find a viewing platform and a spectacular view.

At the peak, you’ll be able to look out over 4 different states including Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Toccoa Swinging Bridge

  • Closest Town: Suches, GA
  • Distance: 0.8 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy

Situated along the Benton Mackaye Trail and Duncan Ridge National Recreation Trail, the Toccoa Swinging Bridge is an exciting sight to behold in North GA. The bridge offers a scenic view of the Toccoa river and is well worth seeing on a hike.

Fortunately, this is an easy hike for beginners, so you can easily take in the beautiful scenery as you traverse the trail with your family or friends.

Anna Ruby Falls

  • Closest Town: Helen, GA
  • Distance: 0.9 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy

One of the best waterfalls in North Georgia, the hike to Anna Ruby Falls is easy and fun. The waterfall is among the favorites of Georgia locals and visitors and is located where Curtis Creek and York Creek meet.

When visiting Anna Ruby Falls, you’ll hike past a stream and will see wildflowers, granite boulders, and more. You’ll begin the short hike to the waterfall from the Anna Ruby Falls Visitor Center.

Preachers Rock

  • Closest Town: Suches, GA
  • Distance: 1.9 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy

Preachers Rock is a large rock outcropping close to the summit of Big Cedar Mountain. If you’re looking for a GA hike with some amazing views and impressive overlooks, you can’t do much better than the Woody Gap to Preachers Rock Trail.

This hike is about 2 miles in total, and while some find it to be very easy, others say that it does offer some difficulty towards the end. Because of its length, however, it’s unlikely to be too much for most novice hikers to handle.

Hemlock Falls Trail at Moccasin Creek State Park

  • Closest Town: Clarkesville, GA
  • Distance: 2 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy

The Hemlock Falls Trail at Moccasin Creek State Park is another easy hike that will take you straight to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in North GA. The waterfall only drops around 15 feet, but it offers a beautiful scene that would be perfect for a relaxing day sitting by the water.

Fortunately, the hiking trail is well-maintained so you’ll have a great time taking in the scenery as you traverse this comfortable and easy 2-mile trail.

Moderate Hikes

Tallulah Gorge Sliding Rock Trail

  • Closest Town: Tallulah Falls, GA
  • Distance: 3 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

As far as moderate-difficulty hikes go, you’ll find few better than the Tallulah Gorge Sliding Rock Trail.

The Sliding Rock Trail takes you into the heart of the gorge. After walking over a swinging suspension bridge, you’ll hike your way across the floor of the gorge. While doing so, you’ll catch views of Hurricane Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.

At Bridal Veil Falls, you’ll find a natural rock slide and be able to spend time swimming in the water.

Raven Cliff Falls Trail

  • Location: Helen, GA
  • Distance: 4.9 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Raven Cliff Falls is a 40-foot waterfall that cascades beautifully around surrounding greenery and rocks. This 5-mile trail will take you through amazing surroundings that feature trees, wildflowers, and streams.

Once you’re at the falls, you’ll be able to relax and take in the views of one of North GA’s premier waterfalls.

Woody Gap to Big Cedar Mountain and Jarrard Gap (Appalachian Trail)

  • Closest Town: Dahlonega, GA
  • Distance: 3 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Located along the famous Appalachian Trail, this hike from Woody Gap will have you winding past shady forest paths while getting wonderful glimpses of the mountains through long-range open views.

During the hike, you’ll reach the summit of Big Cedar Mountain and will come across Preachers Rock, where you can see some amazing sights and have a perfect picnic.

Cloudland Canyon West Rim Loop and Waterfalls Trail

Cloudland Canyon State Park in North Georgia
Cloudland Canyon State Park. Source: Jeff Gunn via Wikimedia Commons
  • Closest Town: Rising Fawn, GA
  • Distance: 5.8 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Cloudland Canyon is a great site to visit if you’re interested in seeing some of the state’s most beautiful hiking trails. This 1,000-foot-deep canyon offers explorers a great day of hiking and you’ll be able to witness some breathtaking views as you traverse its two popular trails.

In addition to the amazing rocky overlooks, you’ll also be able to see two of North Georgia’s top waterfalls, the 60-foot Cherokee Falls and the 90-foot Hemlock Falls.

Amicalola Falls Loop Trail

  • Closest Town: Dawsonville, GA
  • Distance: 2 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Amicalola Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in the state of Georgia and is actually the tallest waterfall in the state. It’s also the third tallest cascading waterfall located east of the Mississippi River.

This trail takes you up the length of the waterfall for a total elevation gain of 784 feet and a distance of 2 miles. Keep in mind that there’s also a shorter 1-mile trail, the East Ridge Trail, and a wheelchair-accessible trail as well.

Strenuous Hikes

Panther Creek Falls Trail

  • Closest Town: Clarkesville, GA
  • Distance: 6.9 miles
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

The Panther Creek Falls Trail is a 7-mile trek to one of the most gorgeous waterfalls in the region.

You’ll reach the falls at the end of the hike and will be rewarded with a site of the multi-tiered cascades which drop into the pool of water below. It’s a great place to take a dip and cool off after your strenuous activity.

Whether you’re a day hiker or a camper, the Panther Creek Falls Trail is a great hike to consider.

Three Forks to Springer Mountain (Appalachian Trail)

  • Closest Town: Ellijay, GA
  • Distance: 8.6 miles
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

This difficult hike extends from Springer Mountain, the starting area of the Appalachian Trail, to Three Forks. For this suggested hiking route, you’ll start at Three Forks and then make your way down to the spot of the Appalachian Trail where many hikers begin and finish their journeys.

During the hike, you’ll find shady areas, rustling creeks, and a variety of terrain. Once you reach the summit of the mountain, you’ll be able to enjoy some great views.

Lower Conasauga River Trail

  • Closest Town: Ellijay, GA
  • Distance: 13.2 miles
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

The Lower Conasauga River Trail is the second-longest trail in the Cohutta Wilderness area and offers some great hiking and biking opportunities. This is a challenging trail to take since you’ll have boulders and trees to navigate along with 18 different river crossings.

This is also a great area to camp in, so bring your tent if you want to enjoy camping overnight in the wilderness.

Yonah Mountain

Yonah Mountain Overlook
Yonah Mountain. Source: TranceMist via Flickr
  • Closest Town: Cleveland, GA
  • Distance: 4.2 miles
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

Yonah Mountain is one of the most popular North Georgia mountains to climb and is located near the popular town of Helen, GA, one of the region’s most popular small towns.

During this tough hike, you’ll scale the mountain at a pretty quick speed. As you do, you’ll witness some beautiful sights and incredible views of the surrounding areas.

There are also campsites on the mountain as well, so you can make a weekend trip out of the hike if you choose to do so.

Blood Mountain Loop

  • Closest Town: Blairsville, GA
  • Distance: 6 miles
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

Blood Mountain is the summit with the highest elevation on Georgia’s section of the Appalachian Trail. The Blood Mountain Loop will take you across varied terrain to the top where you’ll be able to witness incredible views that stretch out over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Be sure to consider taking this hike if you’re looking for one that’s sure to keep you in shape.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Hiking in North GA

When hiking in North GA, there’s a lot more to consider than just the best hiking trails. Here are some answers to common questions that beginner hikers and hikers that are new to North Georgia often ask.

How Do You Access the Appalachian Trail in Georgia?

There are many access points to the Appalachian Trail in Georgia.

The southernmost point of the Appalachian trail and where many like to start their adventure is Springer Mountain which is located close to Blue Ridge, GA. To reach the summit of Springer Mountain, you can either take the 1-mile trek from the mountain’s parking area or take a 4-mile hike from Three Forks.

As an alternative to starting the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mountain, some people prefer to start at Amicalola State Park instead. This trail is known as the Appalachian Approach Trail.

With this option, you’ll start at Amicalola Falls Trail. You’ll then travel 8 miles to reach the summit of Springer Mountain.

What’s the Best Time of Year to Hike in Georgia?

With fairly moderate temperatures year-round, there’s really no bad time to hike in North GA.

Summers can get pretty hot and humid, but experiencing the cool mountain breezes and drinking plenty of water can make the heat easier to handle. Summer is a great time to hike in Georgia and you’ll get to enjoy the warm weather while doing so.

On the other hand, many people prefer the spring or fall when hiking in Georgia. Temperatures are ideal in these seasons and it isn’t too hot or too cold. Both seasons also boast some great weather and beautiful nature to behold as plants and trees begin to bloom or as the leaves begin to fade.

If you’re thinking about doing some hiking in the winter, you’ll also be in the right place. While it does get relatively chilly in Georgia during the winter months, the season is much easier to bear than in other United States hiking destinations.

As long as you plan well and bring the best hiking and camping gear along with you, you’ll likely still have a great time hiking during the winter.

What is the Hardest Hiking Trail in Georgia?

While many different trails could take this title, the 13.1-mile Conasauga River Trail is arguably the hardest hiking trail in Georgia.

Located in the remote Cohutta Wilderness and featuring 38 river crossings and many different creek crossings, the hike is pretty tough. You’re sure to get wet while on the trail.

Keep in mind that you can take either the northern half or the lower half of the Conasauga River Trail, but each will be sure to test your hiking skills.

What is the Longest Hiking Trail in Georgia?

Although 78.2 miles of the Appalachian Trail is located in the state of Georgia, it’s actually not the state’s longest hike. Georgia’s section of Pinhoti Trail is the longest trail in Georgia and is close to 164 miles long.

If you want to venture into Alabama and hike the full Pinhoti Trail, you’ll need to walk an additional 171 miles.

What Are the Best Towns to Stay In When Accessing North GA Hiking Trails?

Helen, GA

If you’re planning to take a trip to North GA for hiking, it can be a good idea to stay in one of the small towns in the region. Many small towns in the area offer easy access to various hiking trails and you could make several different hikes during a weekend stay.

Here are just a few of the small towns you might want to stay in if you want to go on some North GA day hikes:

  • Blue Ridge
  • Dahlonega
  • Suches
  • Cleveland
  • Helen
  • Clayton
  • Ellijay

What Gear Do You Need When Hiking in Georgia?

When hiking in Georgia, you won’t need much more than you would need anywhere else. North Georgia weather is moderate year-round and there isn’t anything especially difficult about the terrain that would require special gear.

With that being said, you’ll need to have all of the hiking essentials with you for your trip. We recommend packing light, especially for a day hike. However, you might want to bring more if you’ll be planning an overnight camping trip or traveling a long distance.

Here are some of the essentials that you might want to have when hiking in North GA:

  • Hiking Boots, Shoes, or Sandals
  • Small or Large Backpack
  • Raingear (Georgia weather can be unpredictable)
  • Sunscreen
  • Trekking Poles and Hiking Gloves
  • Headlamp
  • First Aid Kit
  • Water Bottle
  • Hiking Clothes
  • Navigational Tools (maps, compass, etc.)
  • Insect Repellent (watch out for mosquitoes, especially between June-October)
  • Swimsuit and Hiking Towel (for swimming in watering holes!)

Where to Buy Hiking Gear in North Georgia?

If you want to load up on hiking gear before your hike, there are a few great stores that you can visit in North GA.

In addition to popular chain stores such as Wal-Mart, here are some dedicated hiking and outdoors stores that you might want to visit if you’re in the area:

Enjoying the Best Hiking Trails North Georgia Has to Offer

If you’re thinking about taking a hike in North GA, be sure to consider all of the information in this comprehensive North Georgia hiking guide. With so many great trail options and with pretty good weather year-round, hiking in Georgia can be a lot of fun and can provide some unforgettable experiences.

Want to learn more about the best hiking trails in North Georgia? Learn more by reading our post on the best GA waterfall trails now.

Cover Image: Raven Cliff Falls Trail. Source: Jeff Gunn via Wikimedia Commons

About Admin

Hey, I'm Harrison! I'm the creator of Southern Portals and the writer of many (but not all) of the posts you'll find here. I'm a native of the North GA mountains, an avid traveler, and a singer-songwriter. This website is one of my passion projects and I hope to share a bit of my expertise with the world through it, so I hope you enjoy the articles that you find here. Thanks for reading!

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