Raven Cliff Falls

4.73 out of 5
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Ravens Cliff Falls are a wonder to behold, and the hike in is almost equally as stunning. The path begins as a wide road near the junction of Dodd and Bear Den Creek. Trout fishing abounds here, and it is unusual to see any of the available fishing areas along the creeks empty on a weekend even in the middle of winter. The first 100 yards of the path is essentially a service road for these spots. The trail closely follows Dodd Creek up to the falls. On the path several additional waterfalls add to the pleasure of this trek.

After the first waterfall a change in the trees is obvious. The forest is dominated by hardwoods. Short cascades and riplets of whitewater produce a relaxing gurgle during a significant portion of the hike. This path can be slippery after a rain. The steep parts are in short spurts and easily taken even for a novice hiker.

The path is rarely more than 50 feet from the creek, and this eastern facing cove has an abundance of wildlife. Listing all the plants would be time consuming, but more common are:ramp, Jack-in-the-pulpit, geraniums, trout lillies, astors, and abundant clumps of New York ferns.

The approach to the Cliffs is the highlight of the trip. A quick climb and loud noise impart the message of the approaching waterfall. The water rushes through a split in the rocks and splashes down in cascades to the bottom. Typical of high forest falls, water flow is heavy only in the spring, but somehow the way the cliff is shaped makes these falls seem strong most of the year. A short path leads to the top of falls.

Close to the alpine village of Helen, which is now Georgia's third most popular tourist attraction, this trail is heavily used. You should also visit Pappy's when you are in the area. Its a great place to eat and relax after a long day of hiking. They also have very large trout that you can feed...and cheap ice cream! lol They also offer tubing adventures!

The hike is 5 miles (2.5 to the falls and then back).
Trail length: 3 miles
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  • Posted by Virgo Fabulous on July 27, 2009


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    Reviews of Raven Cliff Falls

    Reviewed by billiam70 on October 23, 2016

    (1 out of 1 members found this review useful.) Reply to Review
    Beautiful trail
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    Reviewed by BBurke on February 22, 2016

    (0 out of 2 members found this review useful.) Reply to Review
    Great trail but overpopulated. I prefer a bit of isolation with my family when I hike. While this trail was filled with great scenery it offers little challenge and even less solitude. I love the walk along the creekside but I thought the falls, the part that should be the hike highlight, was a bit lackluster. Still, this is a great, wide trail that my wife and I easily traversed with my 7 and 10 year old girls. If I could change 1 thing it would be the amount of people on the trail with you. We went on a gorgeous Saturday in February, and I knew that there would be more people than normal. As my family and I reached the falls portion of this trek, we stopped to snack and converse. The area was already over run with individuals but I was literally shocked as my family and I counted around 30 people coming up the trail, arriving to the falls. I can get crowds and traffic in Atlanta.
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    Reviewed by a1math on January 9, 2016

    (1 out of 1 members found this review useful.) Reply to Review
    Loved it!!! We hiked it after a big rain and the river was very full. Great time for hikers of all levels and ages.
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    Reviewed by theCoopers on May 3, 2015

    (0 out of 1 members found this review useful.) Reply to Review
    One of the best hikes in Georgia. The other reviews are correct about taking the unmarked climb beside the top waterfall. Only proceed if you are able to climb down. We went on Saturday, May 2 and as we were returning to the parking lot at noon, it was overflowing with people. The trail was extremely crowded. To experience the serenity of this trail go EARLY or during the week. The trail is well worn so be careful of tree roots.
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    Reviewed by JStearns on January 8, 2014

    (2 out of 2 members found this review useful.) Reply to Review
    One of the best hikes I have been on. I would say this hike is moderately easy, only because I continued on after reaching the falls climbing up a large cliff, and the views are stunning. You can see mountins in the distance as well as a small waterfall with a pool of water about 50ft. below. If this was the only hike in the world I would have no problem doing it over and over again!
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    Reviewed by TheKug2013 on October 8, 2013

    (1 out of 2 members found this review useful.) Reply to Review
    It was a great hike, I'd say easy to moderate as there is slight but steady incline on the way up and like most trails that follow streams, it is not always level, with rocks and roots making footing a concern at points. I'd suggest going up to the falls. The climb is a bit tricky, but the waterfall is unique in formation and I found it quite impressive. The only thing I would add is there is not a good place to eat at the waterfall. My wife and I had packed a lunch and there just isn't much flat space. Certainly not the fault of the trail, so to speak, but plan accordingly.
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    Reviewed by Colfax on December 15, 2012

    (1 out of 2 members found this review useful.) Reply to Review
    This is a really nice hike - especially during non-peak times. I took this hike on Dec 14, 2012 - a few days after a heavy rain. There was ample evidence of the rain even after several days, which made footing a bigger concern than it already should be on this hike.

    The trail is pretty narrow for much of it with treacherous footing around jagged rocks and big protruding tree roots - not to mention the semi-stable rock and small bridge crossings - something that should keep most elderly and the very young wary. But you shouldn't have any problems if you're a stable walker and a little careful.

    This 5 mile roundtrip hike is more about the journey than the destination as the actual Raven Cliff Falls are a little underwhelming (see pics). But along the way are a veritable plethora of smaller falls and cascading water as you walk next to the creek for the entire way. Some of the falls along the way are downright breathtaking.

    There is very little elevation on this hike, which seems to be the case for most hikes in Georgia - something I will have to get accustomed to I suppose. But this is not to say that there aren't short moments of really steep trailhead. They only last for 50 yards or so at a time tho.

    When you get to the Raven Cliff Falls, make sure you round the big rocks staying on the trail to the right. It's the only way to see the actual falls. Don't be afraid of the severely steep incline. It looks worse than it is.

    As mentioned in other reviews, there are several nice spots for camping along the way.

    The directions to the falls are spot on and it's very easy to find. Exactly 2.8 miles on Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway is the turnoff for the hike - and is marked by a National Forest sign.
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    Reviewed by Justin Williams on November 5, 2012

    (1 out of 3 members found this review useful.) Reply to Review
    I just hiked this trail this passed weekend and we went early, got there around 10 a.m. It was so peaceful and there were only a few people on the trail. You get a nice serine feeling on this trail as you have the falls follow you the whole way up towards the cliff. This is a great semi-easy trail, great for all ages and dogs! By the time we were coming back down and out of the trail, it was about 12'oclock and there were many people just starting there trek. So it does get crowded around noon-ish. I definitely recommend this trail for anybody!
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    Reviewed by TeMpO on October 4, 2012

    (1 out of 1 members found this review useful.) Reply to Review
    Magical place! Don't stop at the falls hike the extra 500 yards for an amzing view...
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    Reviewed by Richard James on April 2, 2012

    (2 out of 4 members found this review useful.) Reply to Review
    I've been hiking this trail for over 15 yrs, and I still look forward to going back. Tons of opportunities along the way to stop and explore or play by a waterfall. Then, at the end, you can enjoy the waterfall pool down below or climb up top and actually get behind the falls with a little effort and explore more up there. My favorite in Georgia!
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    Raven Cliff Falls 4.73 out of 5 based on 10 ratings. 10 user reviews.

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