If you want to impress your kids or grandkids, take them on a hike on the Appalachian Trail to beautiful Long Creek Falls, just outside of Blue Ridge, Georgia. Many folks don't know that the southern terminus to the Appalachian Trail actually begins in Fannin County, near Blue Ridge, and there's a beautiful waterfall near Three Forks, where the Appalachian and Benton MacKaye Trails join. A weekday just before Easter found an interesting mix of people on the short 1 mile trail from Forest Service Road 58 to Long Creek Falls. Early on the hike, Lewis, age 9, was proud to get his picture taken in front of an Appalachian Trail sign.
Lewis on the Appalachian Trail
Lewis also loved the Appalachian Trail map we got at the Fannin County Welcome Center in Blue Ridge.
On the way up to the falls, we met some members of the Appalachian Trail Club who were cleaning up sections of the trail. There were thru hikers who hiked over from Springer Mountain. And there were people like us, just enjoying a lovely spring day in Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains. The hike is a gentle incline upward to the falls. There are three short ascents before reaching the blue blazed side trail to the falls at 1.1 miles. At the falls, there were several guys cooking their lunch beside the stream. They had enough gear for a thru hike to Maine, but they were just having a weekend hikeout with all their gear!
Lew and Eliza at Long Creek Falls
The road to Three Forks is also gorgeous, with Noontootla Creek forming several smaller waterfalls along the way. We had a picnic near the parking area at Three Forks. To get directions to Long Creek Falls from Blue Ridge, see http://www.blueridgemountains.com/ and click on Self-Guided Tours.