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Georgia State Parks

Amicalola Falls, Georgia, Georgia State Parks, Nature

It’s Fall Y’all… Finding Beauty in my Backyard

In an effort to capture what has been an incredibly colorful Fall, I went online to find out where to venture to with my camera. After reading reports that a lot of winds had knocked down the colorful leaves a little further north of me, I opted for the shortest roadtrip and one that would include not only leaves, but also the largest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi. Less than a two hour drive from Atlanta, I discovered Amicalola Falls State Park.

After turning right off 369 (just miles away from I-400), we were on country roads in no time. Antique shops popped up, as well as country stores. Homes sat on acre-plus lots and neighborhood and subdivision developments couldn’t been seen or found.

We passed Burt’s Farm and pumpkin patch on our right, and made a left into Amicalola State Park, paying our $5 admission fee and heading to the visitor’s center.

A plaque marking the start of the Appalachian trail sat outside of the Visitor’s Center. I didn’t realize this is where hikers set out from. A quote by Harold Allen described the trail as “Remote for detachment, narrow for chosen company, winding for leisure, lonely for contemplation, it beckons not merely north and south, but upward to the body, mind and soul of man.”

Memories of the Camino and my 500-mile pilgrimage came flooding back, and I thought of past trekking trips and how much I have enjoyed deeply connecting with the natural world. I wondered if I would ever have the nerve to embark on a 2,000 mile trail where I have to carry my own tent and food supplies, as well as my pack… and hike for 6 months straight… Maybe one day!

Short and long hiking trails surround the visitor’s center, and a one-mile hike and 604 steps bring you to a bridge/viewing platform right in front of the falls. What is considered a strenuous hike up another 400 plus steps will afford you views out over the falls and over the mountains and valleys below. We were fortunate enough to have a crystal clear day, with piercing blue skies and not a cloud to be found.

We took our time exploring the falls and taking pictures of the surrounding foliage before heading back down to ground level and exploring around Reflection Lake. We then headed up to the highest viewpoint to watch the sun dip below the mountains to our right.

The park is definitely worth the drive at any time of year. Whether you hike or drive, it’s nice to know that nature is never far.

Info on current events at the park can be found at:

http://gastateparks.org/AmicalolaFalls

A link to Amicalola Falls Lodge is below:
http://amicalolafallslodge.com/