Atlanta, GA: Raven Cliff Falls

Waterfalls, lush forests, and magnificent creekside views make this 5-mile out-and-back through Cliff Falls Wilderness a superb dayhike in northern Georgia.
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Waterfalls, lush forests, and magnificent creekside views make this 5-mile out-and-back through Cliff Falls Wilderness a superb dayhike in northern Georgia.

Criss-crossing Dodd Creek, the Raven Cliff Trail treks along a gentle 5-mile out-and-back that accesses one of Georgia’s hidden trail treasures. Start hiking west from the trailhead through a hemlock forest, crossing over Dodd Creek. In the summer time the banks of the creek are lined with white-blooming mountain laurel. Continue hiking past numerous streamside campsites, algae-plastered boulders, and stretches of small white-water cascades. Rhododendron, trout lily, and dog hubble shrub line the trail as it meanders along the creek toward its final destination: Raven Cliff Falls. This three-tiered set of cascades rushes through massive granite fissures before settling in a deep, dark pool. A broad table-top rock above the falls offers a serene and introspective lunch spot before trekking back down the creek to the trailhead.

-Mapped by Scott Sanders and Marcus Woolf

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 4.0

Waypoints

RCT001

Location: 34.7099495, -83.7890625

Trailhead: From the west side of the lot, begin hiking on the Raven Cliff Trail through a shady, verdant hemlock grove. Just up the trail, continue straight at a 3-way intersection with a campsite to the right.

RCT002

Location: 34.7109451, -83.7914734

Cross Dodd Creek over a wooden bridge, and continue hiking northwest. In summer, creekside is covered with fragrant white blooms of mountain laurel

RCT003

Location: 34.7112122, -83.7936172

Tranquil Dodd Creek bursts into a series of whitewater stretches at the trail's first set of cascades.

RCT004

Location: 34.7131958, -83.7956314

The trail curves through rhododendron and early bloomers like trout lily, named for its mottled appearance and purple specks. Continue hiking alogn Dodd Creek, crossing on wooden bridges and passing creekside campsites and small falls.

RCT005

Location: 34.7179947, -83.8027878

A waterfall showers between algae-plastered boulders.

RCT006

Location: 34.7182884, -83.8055725

Listen for the muffled rumble of rushing water on your left; part branches for a view of crashing waterfall.

RCT007

Location: 34.7194862, -83.8109055

Trail deviates from the creek to ascend low ridge amid ferns and dog hubble shrubs

RCT008

Location: 34.7223167, -83.8171387

Scenic riverside campsite sits in hemlocks; this is the largest campsite along the trail; and might have enough room for 20 tents or so. Continue on trail, crossing the stream at a small log bridge ahead.

RCT009

Location: 34.7230186, -83.8223038

Bear R @ Y-junction and ascend incline; as cliffs come into view, listen for guttural croaking of ravens.

RCT010

Location: 34.7232399, -83.8230667

A large table top rock is a perfect for spot for lunch or reflection once you've had your fill of the falls. This is not the final water fall: continue up a steep hill to the right towards the cliff face to find the final waterfall.

RCT011

Location: 34.72332, -83.8232803

Ascend rough path on R to scenic pinnacle; a fissure in 100-foot cliff guards a waterfall that crosses and topples over rock shelves. Retrace your route back to the trailhead.

Rushing Falls

Location: 34.717907, -83.8028183

Table-top Rock

Location: 34.7232246, -83.8230591

Trailhead Parking

Location: 34.7100143, -83.7892151

Dodd Creek

Location: 34.7109489, -83.7909851

Streamside Campsite

Location: 34.7108536, -83.7922516

Heart-shaped Hole

Location: 34.7112083, -83.7938385

Falls Through the Trees

Location: 34.711689, -83.7945175

Creek View

Location: 34.7198296, -83.8125

Narrow Falls

Location: 34.7232323, -83.8231812

Rock Face

Location: 34.7234383, -83.8233337

Waterfall

Location: 34.7179527, -83.8027649