The northern portion of Georgia has a significant number of impressive waterfalls, and should be on your list if you’re looking for interesting and beautiful places to look for falls. The Chattahoochee National Forest has a number of waterfalls inside its complex boundaries, and there are two of them to be found at DeSoto Falls Scenic Area.
Upper DeSoto Falls is the more impressive waterfall, and requires a 0.75 mile hike one-way. Lower DeSoto Falls is more diminutive, but still very nice, and only requires a 0.25 mile hike one-way. Both of them are easy to visit, and you should take the time to view both. As you’re hiking along the trail, there is a fork in the trail, and the lower falls are to the left. Because of the hike required, I’m almost sure the falls are not along the same creek. This means the names are unusual, as Upper and Lower usually refer to falls along the same source.
Lower DeSoto Falls can be very photogenic, but if I remember correctly, shots later in the day may not work as well if there is any sunlight. The lower falls are not barricaded by any fencing or boardwalk, and so this does allow you to explore for the best viewpoint. That is essential for this falls, as some vantage points may be washed out by light.
- Due to the nature of the road system and the mountainous terrain, it can be a little bit complicated to manage all of the different turns required to get to Lower DeSoto Falls. If you’re starting from Dahlonega, head north along US-19 for a little over 13 miles. (At times, US-19 may also be signed as GA-9 and GA-60, all three often simultaneously.)
- At Turners Corner, turn left onto US-19/US-129/GA-11, and drive for a little over 4 miles. The parking area for the falls will be on your left, and there’s a very obvious sign indicating you’ve reached your destination.
- From the parking area, follow the signs for the trail. If I remember correctly, you will cross a river, and then you’ll start hiking left on the trail to Lower DeSoto Falls. If you turn right, you will head toward Upper DeSoto Falls.
Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Length of Hike: 0.5 miles round-trip
Where in the World is Lower DeSoto Falls?