This Fourth of July weekend, me and my parents made a day trip to the North Georgia Mountains to hike to several waterfalls. There are literally dozens of them that are fairly close to one another. We chose two that looked good and that were fairly close to us.
Desoto Falls is located just under two hours above Atlanta in Blairsville, Georgia. After a delicious breakfast at our favorite Atlanta breakfast dinner, we began our drive to the falls. I would definitely suggest taking the scenic route; the North Georgia Mountains are absolutely stunning this time of year, so lush and green. I also encourage Dramamine if you get car sick from driving up mountains. You'll encounter a stretch of highway known as the dragon tail which is as bad as it sounds.
Desoto Falls has 2 separate water falls that can be reached from 2 short hikes, which are all in all about 2.5 miles there and back to see both. Both falls are definitely worth the hike, but unfortunately we couldn't get as close as we would have liked, due to guard rails and wilderness protection laws. Nonetheless, this didn't stop me from breaking a few rules to get a good Instagram photo! Hahaha! Whoops. If you only have time for one, definitely do the high falls. The hike is much easier and the view is much more satisfying than the lower falls.
If you’re looking for a more interactive waterfall that you can touch and actually explore, definitely head over to Helton Creek Falls, which is only about a 5 minute drive from Desoto Falls. Helton Creek Falls is tucked in the back of a cabin community down a long windy mountain road that is an absolutely beautiful scenic drive. Be sure to come on a week day because Helton Creek is very popular. Unlike other waterfalls, there is not a hike separating you from the waterfall, so expect a lot more tourist if you go on a weekend especially. There is a small staircase that leads from the parking lot to the bottom of the falls, keep climbing to head up to the pool directly below that largest part of the waterfall. This spot is really popular for swimming and sunbathing. We came on a really busy weekend, so we decided to try our luck lower down the falls at the bottom, which is still super fun and gorgeous.
I made sure to jump in for a quick swim and climbed up to slide down the rocks. But after a few slips I decided against it since I wanted to keep my butt. We are already planning our next trip to see more of what North Georgia has to offer!
Best, Dillan Moore