Upper DeSoto Falls, Georgia

From the DeSoto Campground, you can go in two directions along the DeSoto Falls Trail. If you turn left, you’ll end up at Lower DeSoto Falls, which is the smaller of the two waterfalls. If you turn right, and hike about 3/4 of a mile, you’ll end up at Upper DeSoto Falls.  This hike does require a little more effort, but is definitely worth it!

Upper DeSoto Falls is about 100′ tall. When I visited in mid-May, the falls were at a good flow level. After the summer heat, I imagine the falls quiet down a bit. There is apparently a third waterfall even further upstream that is now inaccessible. I had previously mentioned that the Upper and Lower Falls didn’t seem like they were on the same creek because of the way the trail system was set up. I’m not sure I was right, though I’m still confused. Other sites have indicated both falls are on Frogtown Creek. If both falls are on the same creek, there is some very odd turn in the creek that occurs in the mile between the upper and lower falls. It’s actually very interesting to think about how that could happen. No matter what, both waterfalls are worth a visit, and there are a number of other great waterfalls in the vicinity.

Directions:

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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 Upper DeSoto Falls. If you turn left, you will head toward Lower DeSoto Falls.

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 100′
Length of Hike: 1.5 miles round-trip

Upper DeSoto Falls in May 2012

Where in the World is Upper DeSoto Falls?

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Upper Dukes Creek Falls, Georgia

When I visited northern Georgia in May 2012 searching for more waterfalls, I stopped at the Dukes Creek Falls Recreation Area in the Chattahoochee National Forest. The main attraction is clearly Dukes Creek Falls. Dukes Creek Falls is not found along Dukes Creek, but instead Davis Creek (confusing, isn’t it?). Dukes Creek Falls is found at the confluence of Davis Creek and Duke Creek.

As you’re hiking to Dukes Creek Falls, you will often be hiking alongside Dukes Creek. I noticed about a third of the way along the trail (maybe a little bit more) that I could hear water flowing nearby. Often, this is just some small cascade or rapid, but in this case there was a larger fall to be found. I would guess the falls were about 10′ tall or so. It is not particularly easy to get to these falls, but it is also nowhere near impossible. There is no official trail to the falls. You’re just very quickly heading down a moderately steep hill. There are trees and roots that planted themselves strategically to make your journey less difficult. In the end, you’re rewarded with a falls that pretty and isolated.

Directions:

  1. From Cleveland, Georgia, head northwest along GA-11.
  2. After some distance turn right on GA-75.
  3. Again, some distance later, turn left on GA-348. (I seem to remember this turn coming rather abruptly.)
  4. Drive two miles to the parking area for Dukes Creek Falls Recreation Area. A National Forest pass will be required, which carries a daily cost.
  5. Follow the trail to Dukes Falls.
Accessibility: 4/10 (moderate/strenuous)
Height: 10′
Length of Hike: 2.2 miles round-trip

Upper Dukes Creek Falls in May 2012

Where in the World is Upper Dukes Creek Falls?

Lower DeSoto Falls, Georgia

Lower DeSoto Falls in mid-May 2012

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.

Directions:

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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)
Height: 40′
Length of Hike: 0.5 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Lower DeSoto Falls?