What: Amicalola Falls State Park
Where: 418 Amicalola Falls State Park Rd, Dawsonville , GA 30534
Cost: $5 for parking. Camp sites are $25, Lodge and cabins rates vary on day and season
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I love going camping with my boys. There is something about being out in nature that just seems to calm me. This past fall, in-between sporting events and practices, we took a quick trip to Amicalola Falls State Park. It was the Ranger led creek walk that drew me and I was racing to get there in time. Check the Georgia State Parks website to see what Ranger programs are available during your visit.
We made it in time to explore the snakes in the visitor’s center, even touching one slithering through a volunteer’s shirt before grabbing the nets provided and heading to the creek. I have at least three of these nets at home, not sure why I never thought to bring them with us when we go to a state park. That’s tip number one – bring nets with you whenever you think the kids will be near water. Tip two is bring a few extra dollars, the visitor’s center has an ice cream machine:)
As soon as we reached the creek, we noticed a native snake sunning on a log. Not to disturb him, we moved a bit farther down the creek. A Park Ranger accompanied us and immediately sent us out to find crawfish, water sliders and a number a creepy crawly things whose names I have purposely forgotten. The boys had a blast getting wet and dirty and seeing who could find the biggest crawfish. This time we didn’t bring our Junior Ranger books, but this is a great place to get a few criteria marked off. As usual, we were the last to leave and after dropping off our nets, we headed to the lodge to get our campsite.
After a rather typical evening of roasted hot dogs, s'mores and enough extra toasted marshmallows to build a Stay Puff Marshmallow Man, we retired. The next day we headed to the Falls to conquer the 620 steps to the summit - 175 to the viewing area and then another 445 to the top. The hike wasn't too bad and there were lots of places to rest along the way if needed. The falls themselves are beautiful and look like icicles falling down the mountain. The top affords a gorgeous view of the valley below.
I wish we had more time to take in a few more Ranger programs, we had so much fun the day before, however, the next round of sporting events brought us back to Atlanta, so we'll have to make another visit to the Falls another day.