Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Trail Report: Anna Ruby, Dukes Creek, & Raven Cliff Falls

This past weekend, I drove up to north Georgia to visit some waterfalls. I chose three that were within a short driving distance of each other - Anna Ruby Falls, Dukes Creek Falls, and Raven Cliff Falls.

Anna Ruby Falls was my first stop. The cost to see it is $3 per person and there is a visitor center and gift shop. Out of all the falls, this one was the most accessible and had the most amenities. After passing the visitor center, I followed a half mile paved trail to the falls. Since it's only one mile round trip and the trail is paved, this set of falls should be easy for almost anyone to get to. I arrived around 10:30am and saw 15-20 other people, but by the time I left the parking lot was starting to fill up.

While I was at these falls, I learned that I need to work on my photography skills. Waterfalls aren't easy to photograph, but knowing how to do it would have been helpful. I'm hoping one day I can go back and do a better job. What also surprised me about these falls is that it wasn't just one big waterfall - it was several.

Stream along the path

All of the falls

One of the Anna Ruby falls

My next stop was Dukes Creek Falls. There is no attendant to take the $4 fee - you fill out the front of an envelope, put the cash inside, and deposit it into a box after tearing off a pass to hang from your rear view mirror. A few people who arrived around the same time as me didn't pay, which was disappointing. I'm happy to pay for hikes or nature attractions because I want to keep them available for me and other people to visit. Fees like this go towards maintaining amenities for nature attractions and maintaining the trails themselves.

It was a mile hike through the woods to get to the falls, so only 2 miles round trip. After a few minutes on the trail, you'll come to a set of stairs. At the bottom, go left to continue on the trail to the falls. There is no sign at these stairs letting people know which direction to go.

I didn't see as many people at these falls as I did at Anna Ruby. The trail wasn't difficult, and the falls had a few viewing platforms that were well built and well placed.

This part of the falls was closest to the viewing platforms.

The upper falls were more difficult to see.

Another part of the falls.

On the way back, I took a detour. There is an unnamed waterfall that can be seen from the trail, and there is a short, steep, unofficial path leading down to it. I made my way down to get a better view of this mystery waterfall. It's not too difficult to get down to it and back up, but you do have to watch your footing and hold onto some trees or roots. I recommend making the short detour to see this waterfall. Since all of the trails to see the waterfalls were easy, this was one of the most adventurous parts of my day.

Unnamed waterfall off the Dukes Creek Falls trail.

Came down this somewhat steep section to get to the unnamed waterfall.

My last stop was Raven Cliff Falls. As far as I know, parking here is free. I didn't see anything online or at the trailhead that said there was a fee. This was by far the most crowded hike, and was also the longest at 2.5 miles (5 miles round trip). I was lucky to get a parking spot, because there were several cars parked along the side of the road. The lot here isn't paved like at the other two falls - it's gravel.

The trail follows a stream the entire way. I saw several people camping in the woods along the stream, or sitting down by the stream eating a snack and watching the water. It was a very pretty hike. The trail wasn't very difficult - it was mostly flat with a few small uphill and downhill parts.

The stream along the Raven Cliff Falls trail.

The falls themselves come down between two huge cliffs. They weren't as big as the other two falls I saw earlier in the day, but they were unique. There is a steep path up around the side of the cliffs. It does require pulling yourself up using rocks and roots, but it's doable. There is a large area on top of the cliffs where you can take in the view. Climbing up this steep path to sit on top of the cliffs was the other more adventurous part of my day, and I recommend it as long as you feel safe doing so.

Raven Cliff Falls. There is a person sitting on the left edge of the photo for perspective.

Gorgeous cliffs.

View from the top of the cliffs.

Pretty, unique falls.

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