After the past weeks unprecedented rains, I was simply itching to get out and see some water run amok in the Georgia countryside, but alas it was not to be. The grand plan of the Creator was to have be in bed with the flu, leaving me only to dream of raging water. So I went through my photo files and realized I had never posted these photos of a very pleasant falls about 20 miles North of Dahlonega, known as DeSoto Falls .
There is a very simple hiking trail there, with a total run of just over 2 miles. You park (cost $3 2007), walk few dozen yards to a bridge and then you can turn right or left. If you go left to the lower falls, it is a short ¼ mile jaunt, although a little uphill to the smallest of the three falls, known as the lower falls. This one drops about 35 feet and is pleasant and pretty but not spectacular. If you turned right (or doubled back), you can walk the ¾ miles to the Middle Falls, which is a much more impressive 90 feet in height. The walk to the middle falls is simple enough for anyone to do.
There is a third falls, the Upper Falls, which is probably the best of the bunch, with a drop of 200 feet, but the trail is closed by Chattahoochee forest authorities for ecological restoration, and has been since 1993. I look forward to its reopening, but that date is still somewhere in the distant future.
They are named after the first European explorer to visit Georgia, Hernando De Soto , after a breastplate was discovered near there in the 1880’s. There is a little controversy over whether this armor could actually be from DeSoto’s men, as he was not thought to have traveled this far North, but there are other corroborating finds nearby, notably at the King Site in Floyd County. I have always preferred a good Legend to the humble truth because it triggers the imagination.
This looks like an excellent place to camp or picnic, but it would be difficult to spend much more than a couple hours here. The Falls are pretty but probably not so fantastic that they merit a special trip, more of a stop while doing something else. The trails are easy enough for virtually any level outdoor enthusiast, I saw a family pushing strollers easily the day I dropped by. Should the third fall ever reopen, the rating on this place would jump dramatically, but as for present conditions, its merely a pleasant diversion.
Approximate Time: 1-1.25 hours
Approximate Distance: 2.1 miles
Trail Surface: compact soil, some wooden walkways
Features: Waterfalls, Riverside Walk
Overall Rating: C+
Scenic Quality: B
Parking: $3 (2007)
Hours of Operation:
Facilities: at the trail head
Maps: none, no real need, marked trail
County: Lumpkin County