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A Weekend at Amicalola Falls State Park

I spent last weekend at Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia for a much appreciated quick getaway.

lodgeview

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.

lodge exterior

I was so impressed by the park. The lodge is gorgeous and was renovated in 2014.

lodge lobby

The lobby is a great place to hang out and features floor to ceiling windows overlooking a mountain valley.

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Just outside of the lobby, restaurant and gift shop are large decks with plenty of seating and observation space.

cabin exterior

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.

cabin backyard

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.

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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.

5.9breakfast

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.

amicalola  falls 2

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.

waterfall hike

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.

stairs to waterfall

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.

amicalola falls

The falls were gorgeous!

hiking sandwich

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.

5.11jenwaterfall

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.

rain hike

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.

cookiesandbrownies

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. 😉

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We did a cookout on Saturday night. I made a caprese salad.

DSpotatosalad

And my favorite lemon feta potato salad (recipe here). All the rain cleared up and it was a really lovely evening for a cookout.

5.10breakfast

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?

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Nicki May 11, 2015, 10:34 pm

    I LOVE state parks but haven’t been to that many, this looks great! Last year, my boyfriend and I took a July 4th trip to DC and spent a night in Shenandoah National Park. It was awesome and I really want to go back! We did a short hike the first day and had a blast camping. Those cabins you stayed at look super cute!

    • 2
      Jen May 12, 2015, 12:11 pm

      i haven’t been there. would love to check it out. thanks for the recommendation!

  • 3
    Cassie May 12, 2015, 12:10 am

    Great weekend you had! I want to try those oatmeal raisin carrot cake cookies!

  • 4
    Desiree May 12, 2015, 6:32 am

    We love Amicalola Falls. (I live outside Atlanta, so not too far from me) Back when I was doing long distance trail running, I would run the approach trail to Springer Mt. and back. With a pit stop at the Hike Inn for refuel. We have not stayed in the cabins yet, but that is something on our future to do list. We want to be able to bring our dog (a little Westie who loves to hike with us) Looks like you had a great time.

    • 5
      Jen May 12, 2015, 12:10 pm

      so sweet that your westie loves hiking with you! the park seemed really dog friendly. so cool that you used to run that approach trail!

  • 6
    Erin May 12, 2015, 9:02 am

    A mountain getaway sounds amazing! My favorite local getaway is Shenandoah National Park, but my all time favorite mountain trip was to Grand Teton national Park and our cabin that had an amazing front porch with an unobstructed view of the Teton mountain range.

    • 7
      Jen May 12, 2015, 12:10 pm

      gosh, the tetons are so beautiful. i’ve only been once but would love to visit again!

  • 8
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt May 12, 2015, 9:16 am

    What a relaxing weekend! I’ve never heard of this place before even though I live so close to it! Thanks for the information!

  • 9
    Angie May 12, 2015, 9:39 am

    Could you please share what you put on that sandwich, including what kind of bread that is? It looks amazing!! Thank you!

    • 10
      Jen May 12, 2015, 12:09 pm

      yes, of course! it’s whole foods prairie bread. i put lite dukes mayo, dijon mustard, applegate farms ham and turkey, romaine lettuce and tomatoes on it. 🙂

      • 11
        Jen May 12, 2015, 12:14 pm

        oh and provolone cheese!

  • 12
    Emma May 12, 2015, 9:56 am

    Sounds like a great trip, the falls look so beautiful! Do you know if the cabins are dog friendly?

    • 13
      Jen May 12, 2015, 12:09 pm

      they are! i think it’s a $40 fee per visit.

      • 14
        Emma May 12, 2015, 12:46 pm

        awesome, thanks so much! going to look into taking a weekend trip this summer while we still live in GA 🙂

  • 15
    Bonnie May 12, 2015, 11:05 am

    I always appreciate your detailed recaps! My husband and I make a yearly trip (from Florida) to Asheville in the fall and this looks like an awesome place to stop for a couple of days on the way since we love hiking in state parks. Thank you for the recap and pictures!

    • 16
      Jen May 12, 2015, 12:11 pm

      thanks bonnie! yes, i think it would be a beautiful place to visit in the fall on your way up to asheville!

  • 17
    Tara | Treble in the Kitchen May 12, 2015, 12:33 pm

    Looks like such a beautiful weekend!! 🙂

  • 18
    tara May 12, 2015, 12:34 pm

    I love parks ! I am super spoiled i NE Ohio where we have parks everywhere. We have the Ohio/Erie Canal Towpath which is miles and miles of trails for walking, biking, running, riding, etc along with tons of parks and lakes, etc. I do not plan to live here in the future but one of the things i will miss the most is the fantastic park system we have. Many people who come to live here from outside the state always comment on our great parks. There are so many options and its so nice. I have always heard that the reason we have so many park land here in OH is because we have had a ton of presidents that are from OH particularly during the time period when protecting land for parks was in its hay day. I am SO not a camper but this type of outdoor vaca sounds great to me…full of electricity and running water and comfortable beds : )

  • 19
    Gretchen | Gretchruns May 12, 2015, 3:04 pm

    These pictures are beautiful! I love going hiking and visiting parks. I don’t make it to state parks very often, but in Pittsburgh we have 4 beautiful city parks that are all within 15 minutes of my apartment. They’re amazing for hiking or running!

  • 20
    Hayley @ Full of Life May 12, 2015, 6:55 pm

    This reminds me a lot of my family trips to Lake Tahoe! Except our cabin is close to quite a few restaurants and stores, but we do most of our cooking in the cabin. One of my favorite things up there is this hike that ends up at a little lake with all these waterfalls, and we bring sandwiches to eat at the top too! Perfect combo.

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