Raven Cliff Falls (3-18-17)
Raven Cliff Falls of White County, Georgia are a unique series of cascades where tiny Dodd Creek seemingly splits a massive cliff-face and dramatically pours through. The falls are located in the Raven Cliffs Wilderness of the Chattahoochee National Forest, not far from the resort town of Helen. Despite the fact that this is technically wilderness don't do like I did and expect any measure of solitude. This is one of the most popular hikes in the North Georgia mountains. Don't let this dissuade you from visiting though, this is a place you'll want to see if you're in the area.
The falls are accessed by a well-maintained 2.5-mile trail which follows Dodd Creek upstream from the large trailhead just off Highway 348. The path, though it gains nearly 700' of elevation along its length, is rarely more than moderate in difficulty. Making the hike even more enjoyable is the fact that it follows beautiful Dodd Creek very closely for most of its route. A number of smaller unnamed cascades offer plenty of places for a scenic little break. The surrounding forest is beautiful as well. A pleasant mix of young pines and deciduous trees underlain by laurel and rhododendron its a classic southern mountain woodland. You'll know when you reach the falls as massive grey cliffs suddenly tower overhead. You won't see the falls though at this point. They're hidden in a cleft high above where the main trail seemingly ends. I actually saw many people turn around at this point and never see the main falls, I suppose thinking the tiny cascade where the trail peters out is it. Don't be fooled! A steep climb up the scramble path will soon deposit you in front of a massive crack in the rock face where Raven Cliff Falls pours through. It's a wonderfully improbable and beautiful sight. Dodd Creek pours unseen from above then twists and turns as it spills out from the cliff. I've seen a lot of waterfalls so believe me when I say Raven Cliff is unique. After enjoying the falls, it was an easy downhill 2.5-mile stroll back to the car.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this hike. It might surprise you when you see below how heavy the traffic was on this trail. Normally this would put me off a bit. Not so at Raven Cliff, the length of the hike was enough to spread folks out and the surrounding beauty of the creek, the forest,and Raven Cliff Falls itself were more than enough to overcome the distraction of the crowds. It was great. So, without further adieu, I present to you the unique and spectacular Raven Cliff Falls of Georgia. As always...ENJOY!!!
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 34.709589, -83.788758
Route Type: Out-and-back Difficulty: MODERATE
Mileage Hiked: 5.4 miles Hike Duration: 2:30
Trailhead Temp: 60'F Trail Traffic: 100+ people
Min. Elevation: 1,980' Max. Elevation: 2,680'
Total Vertical Gain: 700' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 260' (ascent)
Trails Used (blaze color): Raven Cliff Falls Trail (unblazed)