PLEASE JOIN US!! The “fall colors” field trip is an annual event, which we attempt to time with the likeliest weekend for prime colors in the mountains of northern GA. End of October is a very good bet. Note that parking is limited in some of these locations, so consider carpooling if possible.
AGENDA: We’ll hit 3 waterfalls, for sure, with an optional finale at Trahlyta Lake within Vogel State Park. The day begins at Dick’s Creek at 8am. From there we’ll head to the upper DeSoto Falls. Lunch – I strongly suggest bringing a bag lunch, and we’ll do a tailgate party in DeSoto’s parking lot before moving on. Then we head to Helton Creek Falls and wrap up there – with an optional extended trip to Vogel, where half the population of GA may await us! (Hence the “optional” language. This place is almost TOO popular.) The lake itself can be stunning, and there’s a small waterfall as well.
CONSIDERATIONS: carpooling is strongly encouraged and the best vehicles to use are those a bit taller than a Ferrari. (I’ll be using my wife’s Outback, for instance. Access to both Dick’s and Helton can be a little challenging with potholes in dirt roads, especially if muddy.) Bring your wide lens(es), but also something allowing for tighter views. Of course, a tripod and remote shutter release, (or be sure you know how to use your camera’s built-in timer), bug spray, lunch and snacks, water and decent hiking footwear.
HOW MUCH HIKING? None of the hikes are particularly challenging. At Dick’s, you’ll park very close to the waterfall and other interesting parts of the creek – super easy. At DeSoto, the upper falls, (the better of the 2 options there), is about 8/10 mile from the parking lot – just a bit hilly, easy trail. Helton has some trickier footing, but the upper part of the falls are only 4/10 of a mile. And Vogel is quite flat, unless you also want to shoot the waterfall, which is downhill from an easy trail, maybe a total of 7/10 of a mile from the primary parking area.
FINDING THESE PLACES: Just “Googling” these spots can fail you! So I suggest using GPS coordinates. Here’s the route, along with coordinates:
Dick’s Creek, aka Water’s Creek Falls, first off, is NOT the one on the NC/GA border, which is what Google will tell you! It’s off 19, (which is an extension of 400), as are all of these spots. From there, 17 minutes further north to DeSoto, then 21 minutes further north – and a jog east – to Helton. Backtracking from there to Vogel would add another 13 minutes. All these times are OFF peak. Here are the locations:
DICK’S (WATER’S) CREEK: 34.679662 -83.936480
DESOTO FALLS (parking lot – and there’s a restroom here!): 34.70651 -83.91516
HELTON CREEK FALLS: 34.753269 -83.893902
VOGEL STATE PARK: this one you actually can rely on Google. Admission fee, restrooms. The official address is 405 Vogel State Park Rd, Blairsville, GA 30512. Or, here’s the park entrance: 34.768046 -83.917541