Amicalola Falls, 90 minutes from Atlanta, is a beloved Georgia State Park and adventure lodge in the North Georgia Mountains. It is a fantastic road trip, one where you will enjoy the small towns and scenery every inch of the way. While it’s a year-round destination, there is something extraordinary about visiting in the fall when the leaves are at their peak colors, and the air is brisk and fresh.
Here are some of the fantastic experiences you can have at Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge.
I was hosted by the Lodge at Amicalola Falls State Park to write this article. As always, opinions and reviews are 100 percent mine.
1. Outdoor Activities
Amicalola Falls State Park is one of the jewels in the Georgia State Parks’ crown. I can’t imagine many waterfalls comparable to the size and magnitude of this one, plus the park has many hiking paths and nature trails.
The sheer number of outdoor activities offered at Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge is impressive. Hiking is the most desired activity, with multiple trails and lengths to choose from. One can even book a guided hiking tour at 9:30 a.m. on weekdays for $12 per person. The hike is instructor-led and lasts an hour. It’s a surefire way to learn a few things about what you are seeing in your exploration.
Ziplining is another favorite outdoor activity at Amicalola State Park. The Screaming Eagle Aerial Adventure Tour lets you experience a rip-roaring good time and get a birds-eye view of the beautiful scenery and forest. There are three tours available by reservation only, and keep in mind that they fill up quickly. Tours vary in time, the number of zips, and price. Wood and cable suspension bridges are also part of the course.
The longest and most expensive zipline and canopy tour package includes:
- 16 zips
- Cable and wire suspension bridges
- Parts of the park unavailable to hikers
At the highest point, you will be 250 feet in the air. This option lasts four hours and costs $99. Not sure about zip-lining? Read 8 Things To Know Before You Zip-Line For The First Time.
2. A Beautiful State Park Lodge
You’ll find campsites for RVs, campers, tents, and cabins to rent at Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge, but the lodge itself is always a safe option for those who appreciate a hotel-stay experience. Rooms range in price and size. My room had an armoire with a TV, two queen beds, a spacious bathroom with a tub/shower combo, tasteful fabrics and bedding, and a small table and chairs. The beds were very comfortable.
My favorite part of the room was the enormous picture windows that overlooked the gorgeous mountains. The view was so stunning that, at times, it was like watching a movie on the big screen.
FYI: Big thumbs up for having plenty of outlets and USB charging ports. They also had an iHome device that charged even newer iPhones.
The lodge lobby has a pretty stone fireplace and a few seating areas that are popular with guests. There is a gift shop that sells snacks, t-shirts, toys, gifts, and great souvenirs. The onsite restaurant, situated behind the check-in desk, is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner but closed between each. If you want the most amazing views, request a window seat during sunset for the ultimate dining experience.
Through the lobby lies a massive deck, which gets quite busy during sunset with couples canoodling, visitors sipping wine, and those trying to capture great photos with their cameras and tripods. I’ve only seen one place with scenic views this epic here in the South, so be assured that the scenery is stellar.
There is a fire pit and seating area on the lower level, which can be reserved for private event.
3. Onsite Dining
The Lodge at Amicalola State Park has an onsite restaurant with amazing views. They are currently offering a buffet-style breakfast, lunch, and dinner with limited hours, but they should return to their regular schedule and hours during the season. We had a breakfast buffet with eggs, biscuits, gravy, grits, oatmeal, and breakfast meats during my visit. Fruit, pastries, and potatoes were also available.
The dinner menu changes daily and can be found outside the restaurant or on paper at the front desk. A weekday dinner buffet might include fried catfish, pasta with sauce, shrimp and scallop creole jambalaya, roasted red potatoes, salad, soup, squash lyonnaise, rolls, and cobbler. Prices are reasonable given the spread, and a senior discount is available.
4. On-Trend Offerings
You can experience some hot, new things at Amicalola Falls State Park Lodge, such as tomahawk-throwing. Another offering is 3-D Archery. In the first, you test your skills at throwing tomahawks at targets, and with some instruction, you may be a real natural. It’s great fun for anyone and costs $20 per person for around 45 minutes of throwing time.
In the latter, 3-D Archery, you start with some basic bow and arrow instruction and practice static target shooting until you get the hang of it and feel proficient. Then, the group heads to another range with life-size animals placed in close, medium, and distant proximities to test your bow skills. I tried it and had so much fun, but my arms got tired quickly. The session lasts 90 minutes and costs $30 per person. Equipment is provided. Note that close-toed shoes are required for both activities.
5. Amicalola Falls
Perhaps the most photographed waterfall in the state of Georgia is Amicalola Falls, and rightfully so. This beautiful, cascading 729-foot waterfall on Springer Mountain is a big draw, so you can pretty much expect crowds all year long. There are two places where you can park and walk out to overlook the falls from the top and in the middle. It is accessible for all and an easy way to see such magnificent beauty.
A staircase to Amicalola Falls runs from the top to the bottom via a series of 425 steps (top to mid-point) and 175 (mid-point to bottom). I decided to go for it and walk down them all. The 425 was no problem, and the pictures along the way were well worth it.
The staircase is sturdy and not one bit slippery, so that was a plus. The second portion did me in, though. Please note that you still have a bit of a long walk to reach the parking lot and have to tackle a significant incline when you finish the stairs. I could barely walk for four days, so heed caution unless you are an experienced hiker; I am not.
If you are really adventurous, you can swim in Amicalola Falls, too, which has noteworthy rock slides.
Fun Fact: Amicalola Falls is the third-tallest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River.
6. Animal Experiences
Amicalola Falls State Park has 829-acres of abundant wildlife, so be on the lookout for all sorts of beautiful creatures. We saw deer, squirrels, red-tailed hawks, and raccoons. I hear there are often bald eagles, too.
I was intrigued by the bear signs posted all over the property, and though I tried my hardest, I didn’t encounter one. I heard of several locals seeing them through town, though, so be sure to be aware of your surroundings on the trails and not leave any opened food products lying around or in your car.
7. Family Fun
Birds of Prey is a popular family activity. Various birds are brought to the lodge lobby on Saturdays from 10 to 10:30 a.m. A naturalist talks about the birds’ behavior, species, and habitat. You can take as many pictures as you’d like during the meet and greets and possibly learn a few things, too. You can meet a reptile in the same format on Sundays, only at the visitor center. Tickets are not required, but donations are accepted to help fund programs that benefit the animals and help with their care.
Another fun family offering is Survivalist Camp, something I’ve never seen offered elsewhere. You’ll learn the basics of planning a primitive wilderness trip and spend two hours practicing fire-building and other skills. Equipment is provided, and the cost is $25 per person. Reservations are required as are close-toed shoes.
Pets are welcome at Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge, so bring the whole family, even the four-legged ones.
Pro Tip: Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge is about 20 minutes from the closest town. Bring whatever you need with you so you won’t need to go off property once you arrive.