We visited Amicalola Falls back in 2012 when Jack had just turned one. It's the highest cascade in the southeast, and certainly worth the stop.
Five years later we were back at this same trail, and Jack was more than capable of walking the entire strenuous set of stairs to the very top of the falls.
We also had another kid in tow, but no backpack carrier this time.
We began this visit by driving to the Lodge at the top of the mountain. Since we visited on a Monday, it was not particularly busy. Daniel inquired about reserving rooms, and the lady said we better do it now... for next year! It is definitely a beautiful spot. We ate lunch in the dining room and enjoyed scenic views of the valley below us.
Jack was pumped about the ginormous Christmas tree and the nutcracker display they had set up in the lobby of the lodge.
After lunch, we drove down to the parking lot just below the lodge to view the falls from the very top (we had missed this view in 2012).
After getting a dizzying view of the 759-foot cascade from above, we drove down a little further to do the West Ridge Access Trail – a short hike to the base of the main cascade.
Once we reached the bridge, we decided to walk down the staircase a bit for a better view. The boys and Sophie were troopers, following us down 150 steps to a lower platform for a photo.
Since we went down, we had to come back up. Isaac did not like this plan and laid down on the staircase after about 10 steps, so I carried him in my arms for a bit.
When I caught up to Jack and Daniel, Daniel carried Isaac up the rest of the way.
As we continued back to the car, Jack decided that he wanted to attempt the 475 steps all the way to the top. We decided to split up to do this.
Daniel took Sophie and Isaac back to the car with plans to drive up to pick us up, while Jack and I continued on.
I'm pretty sure Jack would have run all the way up these steps without a thought. Too bad he had to stop and wait for his slow mama.
We made it to the top in 10 minutes, and had to wait another 10 for Daniel to show up with the car.
I continue to be impressed with Jack's stamina on the trails. I think he takes after me in that he lovess the statistics of our adventures, and that he can tell people concrete details like the fact that he climbed 475 steps (a total of 775 steps), or that he has hiked 4.5 miles, and biked 21 miles.
We have been encouraging Isaac to hike longer on our excursions and he is starting to build up his hiking legs.
Every adventure we have brings us closer together as a family. I can't wait to see what the coming years have in store for us.
If you visit Ellijay or the Northwest Georgia Mountains, I would definitely recommend a stop at Amicalola Falls park.
If you are up for the whole, strenuous hike, it's not long but there are a ton of steps (you can start at the very top or the bottom on the AT approach trail).
If you want an easy, the West Ridge Access Trail is super easy and gets you to a bridge at the bottom of the largest cascade.