Dahlonega Hiking Trails- Three Favorites

dahlonega hiking trail

The Dahlonega area is known for its natural beauty, wineries, and waterfalls and offers a great escape to a quieter way of life. The Dahlonega hiking trails beckon you to adventure, exercise and a chance to experience solitude while enjoying nature.

This page will feature three of the most popular hiking trails in the area without waterfalls that many of our guests rave about around the breakfast table. They are innkeeper endorsed as well.

For a map of the hiking destinations mentioned in this article visit https://drive.google.com/open?id=14E-7H_lAfmECU06FKJmVDPGbrgLu7GCp&usp=sharing

Lake Zwerner Trail

For a hike that is convenient to town try the Lake Zwerner Trail around the Dahlonega reservoir only a mile from town and south of the inn ( 3.9 miles). Popular with locals and tourists alike, this Dahlonega hiking trail is easy to get to and provides a great walk through beautiful hilly forest land close to town (picture below). In fact the City of Dahlonega is planning on connecting this trail to downtown Dahlonega.

The hike around the reservoir is 3.1 miles and is not difficult except for a couple of moderate short climbs. Once you hike a short distance from the parking lot on highway 19 you think you are away from civilization. This is a great hike to take before visiting the Dahlonega square for shopping, drinks, lunch or dinner.

To get there from the inn take a right out of our driveway and head towards town. You will see the water treatment plant on the right with a gravel parking lot a little farther down on the left. Park in the parking lot and you will see a trail shelter to the north of the parking lot where the trail begins. You will be making a clockwise loop around the reservoir. On the far side of the lake are pit toilets and you will walk next to the road a short distance until you get to the dam which has a bridge to walk across. You will see another smaller parking area and head north towards the larger parking area where you left your car (there is a little hiking again next to the road). Detailed directions https://goo.gl/maps/58GDPhycDteXARs96

Woody Gap/Preacher’s Rock- Appalachian Trail

This is one of the favorite shorter hikes on the Appalachian trail and provides spectacular views on a clear day. When we say shorter the hike to Preacher’s Rock is only a mile. You can keep walking past Preacher’s Rock and end up in Maine. Many like this trail for the short distance and you can say you hiked the AT.

The granite mountain top known as Preacher’s Rock is not marked with signage. The mountain is Big Cedar Mountain and provides vistas for miles. After the steepest section of the hike, relax on the granite outcropping and take in the views, nature and silence. You may see hawks and eagles soaring on the wind currents. This is a must do Fall hike when the view is painted with bold colors and the air is cool and crisp.

For a short video of Preacher’s Rock visit https://youtu.be/VztRX8A3Wuc

To get there from the inn (only 7.8 miles) take a left out of our driveway and head north on highway 19. At the rock pile approximately 2.5 miles from the inn you will take highway 60 heading towards Suches, Georgia. You will be heading up the mountain on a twisty road popular with bikers and motorcycles. Near the top you will see an AT Trail crossing sign and a sign for Woody Gap with a parking lot on both sides of the road. Park on the right with the bathrooms and hike north past the bathrooms. You will know you are getting close to Preacher’s Rock when you go from a fairly level hiking surface to a moderate climb among the boulders. The destination is at the top. A favorite Dahlonega hiking destination. Detailed directions https://goo.gl/maps/8x4FWf53jCw14g9y7

Blood Mountain-Appalachian Trail

This trail is the most rigorous of the three Dahlonega hiking trails mentioned in this article and in the area. The trailhead parking is past the Mountain Crossings store on highway 19 at Byron Herbert Reece parking area (200 yards away from store). Detailed directions https://goo.gl/maps/fkQDWjDEXSoLsMbs5

From the parking lot hike the Byron Herbert Reece trail for 0.7 miles to intersect with the Freeman and Appalachian Trail. Then turn right and go another 1.5 miles to the top of Blood Mountain which is the highest point on the AT in Georgia and the second highest mountain in Georgia (1,040 feet). At the top is a Civilian Conservation Corps hikers shelter build in 1934.

From the inn take a left out of our driveway and head north on Highway 19. When you get to the rock pile continue on highway 19 (right ) and head towards Turner’s Corner. You will take a left on highway 129 (right goes to Cleveland) and head up towards Neel’s Gap. The road will start to climb and twist. At the top you will see the Mountain Crossing Store on the right, but you will have to go a little further to the parking (on the right) for your hike. The store is a favorite Dahlonega hiking store for gear and unique gifts.

The parking lot for the Blood Mountain hike is 16 miles from the inn.

Plan a visit to the Dahlonega area and the North Georgia mountains. Enjoy an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life by hiking some of the Dahlonega hiking trails. We make a great home base for your daily adventures.

If you would like information on Dahlonega waterfall hikes visit our waterfall blog post at https://georgiamountaininn.com/2019/06/18/dahlonega-waterfalls/

For more things to do in the area visit https://www.georgiamountaininn.com/dahlonega-attractions/

Lake Zwerner Dahlonega Hiking Trail
Lake Zwerner Trail

Dahlonega Waterfalls

amicalola falls cascading down mountain Dahlonega waterfalls

Each year thousands of guests come to the area to visit the Dahlonega waterfalls. They offer a majestic example of nature’s beauty and provide a great escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Here we’ll provide you with information on each of the falls located in the Dahlonega area.

Most of these falls are shown on Google Maps if you need additional information regarding directions. For a google map of these waterfalls visit https://drive.google.com/open?id=17oxuBy6wy8Ows1bnNicgbx8mcs035_Lc&usp=sharing

Amicalola Falls

Amicalola is the most famous and popular waterfall in the area. Located west of Dahlonega on highway 52 it is 38 minutes (25 miles) from the inn. The falls are also the highest vertical falls in Georgia at 729 feet and requires 604 steps. There are rest stops along the way. If you are not into a stair master workout you can take the road up to the lodge and about halfway you will see a parking lot to your right with handicapped parking. Park and take the flat trail made of recycled auto tires to the base of the falls. You will appear to the rest of the crowd that climbed all of those steps that you are really in great shape because you didn’t break a sweat. After seeing the falls go to the top of the mountain in your car and check out the views from the lodge lobby/balcony. You can also grab lunch or dinner in the lodge’s restaurant. For more information visit https://gastateparks.org/AmicalolaFalls.

Directions https://goo.gl/maps/it32dJyeu2Vujzt89

Desoto Falls

Desoto Falls is located about 20 minutes (13 miles) north of the inn on highway 19 between Turner’s Corners and Blood Mountain and is one of the more popular Dahlonega waterfalls. Two waterfalls are featured, the upper and lower falls. A nice trail leads you to each of the falls which are located in opposite directions after you cross the footbridge in the campground area. To the left is the lower falls but you actually have to go up the mountain whereas the upper falls (to the right) is a fairly even trail. Both have a deck with seating at the base of the falls. When you reach the National Forest operated park enter the day use parking lot and follow the signs to the Falls.

Directions https://goo.gl/maps/YcyRU2VPqLeUAx8u7

Helton Creek Falls

After visiting Desoto Falls you can head north on Highway 19 past Blood Mountain to visit Helton Creek which has two separate falls. It is on Helton Creek road which is a National Forest service road and may not be suitable for some cars with lower ground clearances. Signage was also not the greatest the last time we visited. The hike to the upper falls is only 0.2 miles and the spray of the falls is refreshing on a hot day. Helton Creek is about 37 minutes (19 miles) northeast of the inn.

Directions https://goo.gl/maps/3adJqCpsV4wE8gpCA

Dicks Creek Falls

Dicks Creek is located 20 minutes (10 miles) north of the inn on highway 19 before you get to Turner’s Corners. It is a favorite swimming hole during the summer months so bring some old towels and jump in. The locals also love this place. Directions https://goo.gl/maps/5KeaV2yGeDLUbUd96

For a related post on cooling off visit https://georgiamountaininn.com/2013/06/06/dahlonega-summer-attractions/

Cane Creek Falls

Cane Creek Falls is close to Dahlonega and is less than 10 minutes (5 miles) from the inn. Located inside Camp Glisson (Methodist Church Camp) it may be closed to the public when summer campers are present. The falls are one of the most popular Dahlonega waterfalls for weddings and do not require any hiking. You just pull into the parking lot and the falls are in front of you. If the gate entering Camp Glisson is open and the signs say the camp is not closed you are free to enter.

Directions https://goo.gl/maps/cPJ6REXzuaJQWwSb7

Clay Creek Falls

Clay Creek is located on private property but you can see it from the road on Clay Creek Falls Road. No parking or trails provided. The falls are 14 minutes (8.6 miles) from the inn. During drought periods the falls may not be worth the trip but after a heavy rain they can be impressive.

Directions https://goo.gl/maps/8sSCxTNPsMstbZB87

Dukes Creek Falls

Dukes Creek is located on the Richard Russell Scenic Highway about 30 minutes (22 miles) northeast of the inn and west of Helen. The falls are 150 feet in height and the trail to the falls in a narrow canyon is only 1.25 miles beginning at the parking lot. You can stop by Helen for lunch after your hike.

Directions https://goo.gl/maps/iemQ5qvdJv5Xniaa9

Raven Cliff Falls

Raven Cliff is also on the Richard Russell Scenic Parkway just past the Dukes Creek turn off and is 35 minutes (25 miles) from the inn. The falls are 100 feet in three drops and the trail is 2.5 miles each way. The trail is located parallel to a roaring creek so the hike is interesting the entire way. At the end of the trail is the main falls and hikers can climb the tree roots, like a ladder, to see the falls more clearly.

Directions https://goo.gl/maps/wHJZLMfPNLaCc6yGA

Black Falls and Montgomery Creek Falls

Both of these falls are located on the Ranger Camp, Frank Merrill property. Black Falls is 21 minutes (13 miles) from the inn is one of the higher falls. To get there take Camp Wahsega Road until you see the concrete barricades that indicate you’ve reached the main Ranger camp entrance area and take a left to continue on Camp Wahsega Road, go 0.5 miles and take a right onto Cloverleaf Trail. If the gate is open you can go in. To get to Montgomery Creek Falls you will again turn left to continue on Camp Wahsega road after seeing the Ranger Camp main entrance and go 0.2 miles then a right onto Merrill Drive. This is the most remote of all of the waterfalls and requires fording the Etowah River and using the old logging road. We can provide more detailed directions to guests staying with us or you can check with the Chamber Welcome Center downtown.

Stay with us and enjoy one of the many Dahlonega waterfalls.

For more things to do in the area visit https://www.georgiamountaininn.com/dahlonega-attractions/

Hiking the Appalachian Trail- Slack packing

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Many guests who stay at our inn take day hikes on the Appalachian Trail. Some want to complete all of the Georgia sections by slack packing.

The trail starts at Amicalola Falls State Park which is aboutslack packing the appalachian trail 40 minutes from the inn by car. A five-mile hike is required before reaching the official starting point of the trail. While you are at the park enjoy the falls as well.

North of the inn are two locations where the trail crosses the main highway. These areas are closer to Cedar House Inn. One is Woody Gap which has parking available. Park in the right parking lot and hike to Preacher’s Rock.  At Blood Mountain the trail also crosses the road. Mountain Crossing, a store with hiking supplies and gifts, is located near the road and trail area. Blood Mountain is the highest part of Lumpkin County and the trail is more strenuous. Many guests like to hike to the trail shelter.

A couple of weeks ago we had guests from Colorado who spent the week at our inn. The purpose of their trip was to hike the Georgia portion of the Appalachian Trail. They were not considered thru hikers but slack packers. Each morning they had breakfast at the inn and dropped their car off near where they would finish their trail hike that day. The Hiker Hostel would meet them at their car and shuttle them to the trail area where they were beginning the day hike. They hiked most of the Georgia portion of the trail using this method. Each evening they came back to the inn for a hot shower, Mary Beth’s cookies and chai tea.

Benefits of slack packing are many. No roughing  it on the trail carrying a heavy backpack in all kinds of weather. No freeze-dried dinners or oatmeal breakfasts. No sleeping on the hard ground. A unique way of hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Book a room or yurt with us and try hiking the Appalachian Trail using slack packing. The Hiker Hostel is no longer in business but there are other parties that can pick you up and take you to your car. We have some names or you can check with Uber.

For more information about our inn visit Cedar House Inn & Yurts.