“Hiking is a bit like life:
The journey only requires you to put one foot in front of the other…again and again and again.
And if you allow yourself the opportunity to be present throughout the entirety of the trek,
you will witness beauty every step of the way,
not just at the summit”
Minnehaha (June 2017):
The unpaved road to this trail may make you cringe if you didn’t choose an appropriate vehicle for the ride as there are several rough areas and a creek you have to drive through. Once you arrive at the parking area, it is a quick and easy 0.4 miles round trip, down some stairs and a short walk. You can climb (with caution) along the side of the waterfall up part of the way. The multi-tiered rock formations in the falls had people rappelling down from above, so keep an eye out for them. Fun fact: The Native American word for waterfall is….Minnehaha!!
photo cred IG @j0nny_b
Amicalola Falls (June 2017):
As part of the Appalachian Approach Trail Loop, this trail is 2.1 miles round trip and is classified as “more difficult” for humans and dogs. I didn’t feel it was a difficult trail plus the dogs handled it without issue. The 730-foot falls were gorgeous, and there’s a little bridge at the end that makes for a good photo op. There are also several places along the trail where you can camp out tent-style if that’s your thing.
High Shoals and Blue Hole Falls (June 2017):
Located in Helen, Georgia, this trail is 2.5 miles roundtrip and toted as being “moderate” for humans, is dog-friendly AND you get to see two different waterfalls on one trail…BONUS! My 7-year old dog and my friends 12-year old dog managed the trail well. The lower waterfall boasts a shallow water hole to swim and parts of the rocks that you can climb up on (use great caution as the rocks are slick from the water) to sit next to the huge waterfall. The other waterfall has a lagoon area that does get pretty deep. The water was….freezing! Imagine an ice bath…but colder. I managed to convince myself to get in, and my dog followed only to regret his decision quickly as he turned around to head back to shore. The temperature will take your breath away for sure, but it is quite refreshing once you get out, especially if it’s a hot day. It gave us a bit of a second wind to cool down and start our hike back up to finish out the hike.
photo cred IG @j0nny_b
Side note: Make sure you save time to stop in Helen, Georgia. It’s such a cute Bavarian-esque village that has a lot going on from restaurants and stores to putt-putt. You will find several hotels and even a big water and adventure park! Click the link above and you’ll see what I’m talking about! 🙂
Toccoa (June 2017):
Located in the North Georgia mountains, don’t expect a long hike. You drive to the town of Toccoa Falls, which is the home of Toccoa Falls College. You’ll come to a welcome center, where you pay a nominal fee to walk through the store, out the back door and along the 0.1-mile “trail” to the falls. Despite the lack of energy getting there, the 186-foot falls are still spectacular to see. Fun fact: The Toccoa falls are 26 feet taller than Niagra Falls and is touted as being the highest free falling waterfall in the United States according to www.exploregeorgia.org/city/toccoa.
photo cred IG @j0nny_b
Mount Rainier (July 2016):
9 miles and 3 ½ hours later, we finished the hike up Mt. Rainier. I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the trail we used, but it was off the Chinook Scenic Byway. Nevertheless it was a moderate uphill walk with breathtaking views around every corner! There was a little bit of rain in the area, so some of the mountain peaks were hidden in clouds, but that didn’t make it any less beautiful to see. The trail was not busy, just a handful of people we passed on the way up to the peak. I wouldn’t have thought we hiked 9 miles if it weren’t for my knees and feet hurting. Endurance hiker I am not… Happy I went though!
Grandfather Mountain (October 2015):
We stayed in an adorable cabin with Blue Ridge Cabin Rentals. It was so cozy and perfect for us four girls. It also had a hot tub in the back which we took full advantage of after our hike. We went in October with the purpose being to see the fantastic view from the peak of Grandfather Mountain and see the leaves in the midst of changing color. Hurricane season and a massive rain storm made our adventure that much more adventurous and unique. Haha! We saw the usual forest critters and unknowingly took the very long route to Grandfather Mountain…which we never actually got to. The rain created tiny rivers down the mountains, so we were unable to figure out if we were on a trail or a newly created rain drain. Long story short, we walked for 12 miles total all the while questioning our group navigation skills, theorizing how much longer it was to the top, and deciding who would be the first to die if we came across a bear in the woods. All this before we ended up on the main highway and walked back to where our car was parked. Staying always positive, we deduced we wouldn’t have been able to see anything from the peak of the mountain because of the rain and fog even if we had gotten up there, so it was probably best we turned around when we did. High five!! We got back to our cozy cabin, hopped in the hot tub for a bit, and relaxed with wine by the fireplace before we turned in for the night. Check out our navigation skills in these photos and try not to laugh!