|From Raven Cliffs Falls|
After a hard rain, my little group has a thing for waterfalls, and we’ve been to many. There was an interesting one a few miles from Helen, Ga, about 2 hours North of Atlanta. The intrigue for me is that I was told that its kind of difficult to get a good photograph there. You see the falls is literally wedged in a split in a granite rock outcropping, making it a little difficult to get to and to see, let alone photograph. If you didn’t already know I am speaking of Raven Cliffs Falls.
Situated a scant 6 miles from Helen, Ga on the Richard Russell Scenic Highway (75), it attracts a lot of people, especially on weekends and holidays. So you have to give a little on the Thoreau Ideal of Solitude on this one. We counted better than 50 fellow travelers the day we went. But, the payoff at the end is well worth this moderate compromise on your peace and quiet because the payoff is worth this sacrifice. You can also rest assured that if there’s an actual problem, someone will be along shortly to help.
The trail is listed as moderate to difficult in some sources, and I think this is over blowing it a little. True, the real novice hiker might be challenged by the 2.5 mile trek to the falls, and we saw a number of young children couldn’t make the complete journey, seeing that a full trip is a healthy five miles. And for the best watershows, you know you are going to be slogging through a muddy trail after the rain. But take heart: our crew is not in that great of shape and the full trip was definitely manageable. But it’s a very enjoyable walk along Dodd Creek with several preliminary falls to pass the time, some of which rival the final show.
That being said, don’t over exert yourself on the trail. The first 2.4 miles I would rate as a mild moderate jaunt, but the last, and most important tenth of a mile is a fairly steep incline in order to actually see the origin of Raven Cliffs Falls. And the more daring sort might just want to climb the rocks to a point above the falls. And then you still have to make it back to your car.
The falls fall about 60 feet through a crevice that can’t be any bigger than 12 feet across, and where the water actually lands is out of sight. It then curls through the granite outcrop and feeds the creek you’ve enjoyed along the way. I would recommend trying to get as high as possible along the granite wall, first to get the best view of the falls, but also to enjoy a birdseye view of the creek and the ravine.
Approximate Time: 3 hours
Approximate Distance: 5 miles
Trail Surface: compact soil
Features: Riverside walk, small waterfalls and cascades, rock outcroppings, major waterfall
Overall Rating: B+
Scenic Quality: A-
Hours of Operation: Daylight hours
Facilities: there is a bathroom at the trailhead but it was locked the day we went
Maps: Marked Trail, a straight in and out, with no side trails
County: White County