I spent last weekend at Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia for a much appreciated quick getaway.
Amicalola Falls State Park is located in the North Georgia Mountains. Its main attraction is a 729 foot waterfall (the biggest in the state) but the 829 acre park also features a beautiful lodge with a restaurant, cabins, campsites and tons of hiking trails. In fact, the park is home to the Appalachian Approach Trail, an eight mile hike that takes you to the start of the AT.
I was so impressed by the park. The lodge is gorgeous and was renovated in 2014.
The lobby is a great place to hang out and features floor to ceiling windows overlooking a mountain valley.
Just outside of the lobby, restaurant and gift shop are large decks with plenty of seating and observation space.
The occasion for my visit was a Mother’s Day weekend for my fiance’s family. We stayed in this cute three bedroom, two bathroom cabin. It was very comfortably appointed and had also been recently renovated. The beds were comfortable, it had a working fireplace and all the basic cooking stuff you need for the kitchen.
There was a large back porch that overlooked the back yard and other cabins. Each cabin had its own outdoor grill and fire pit, which was a fun touch.
The park is a good 30ish minutes to the nearest town/grocery store/restaurant (other than the lodge restaurant) so we brought all of our groceries and cooked our meals. We arrived around 8 p.m. on Friday night and enjoyed this delicious baked spaghetti with zucchini noodles. I made a salad to go along with.
On Saturday morning we slept in until almost 10 a.m. It was GLORIOUS. We hung out on the back porch for breakfast and coffee. I had a bowl of plain Greek yogurt with honey, granola, bananas, berries and almond butter.
Our plans for the day were to check out the waterfall and do some hiking.
There is a parking lot where you can view the waterfall from the top but we decided to brave the stairs to take in the whole thing.
It’s 425 steps to the first view point and then another 175 to the next. It’s a little daunting to go down first knowing that you have to come back up.
The stairs were like making your way through a big tree house. It was fun. I was surprised that coming down the stairs was actually harder on my legs than going back up. Don’t get me wrong, going up made my heart skyrocket but going down left my legs quivering and shaking at the bottom.
The falls were gorgeous!
We breaked at the bottom for a picnic lunch. I made everyone in my cabin sandwiches. I swear, there is nothing better than a sandwich and chips when you’re hiking.
After lunch it was time for the trek back to the top. Once we made it up we decided to tackle some of the hiking trails. I really wanted to do the AT approach trail to Springer Mountain but at 8 miles one way and starting at 2 p.m., it was a little much for one afternoon.
Most of the group turned back after 15-20 minutes but three of us wanted to get a long hike in and kept going. We did the Hike Inn trail that is a five-mile hike from Amicalola Falls to a state-owned lodge called the Hike Inn in the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest where hikers can spend the night and enjoy a bed, shower and warm meal. We didn’t hike all the way to the the lodge but I think it sounds like such a fun idea in the future.
The fun part of the hike came when we were on the return trip and a light refreshing sprinkle became a downpour. We walked for almost an hour in the rain. There was no part of our bodies that wasn’t soaking wet. We wrung water out of our socks and my shoes are still drying out two days later. We laughed about it and made the best of it. Definitely a memory making experience.
I baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies (recipe here!) and brownies for the weekend and promptly dove into them after a hot shower to recover from the hike. 😉
We did a cookout on Saturday night. I made a caprese salad.
And my favorite lemon feta potato salad (recipe here). All the rain cleared up and it was a really lovely evening for a cookout.
I took advantage of another 9 hour night of sleep on Saturday night. Again, glorious. We met up at the lodge restaurant for Mother’s Day breakfast. I loved my grits, bacon, scrambled eggs and biscuit combo. I piled half of the bacon and eggs on my biscuit with some butter for a delicious breakfast biscuit!
We were back on the road to Charlotte at 11 a.m. It was too short of a trip but a welcome escape. I could have easily have spent a few more days relaxing in the mountains.
I wanted to post such a detailed recap because it was a really nice weekend and I would highly recommend Amicalola State Park to anyone looking for a weekend trip or to families looking for a fun, budget-friendly outdoor trip. There are also zip lines, rafting, cute mountain towns and more within driving distance. I was just really impressed with my home state’s amazing state park!
Do you have a favorite mountain getaway? Favorite State Park?