Hike 1.1 miles on the easy-to-moderate Dukes Creek Falls Trail in White County, Georgia, to see streams and a waterfall with 2 observation decks.
By Tim Homan
The old Dukes Creek Trail has been given an expensive, glamour-magazine makeover. Two observation decks were built; the first 0.7 mile was completely rerouted. The new trail is slightly easier and more scenic, reduces erosion, and has a wheelchair-accessible observation deck at 0.1 mile.
Beginning at 2,120 feet, this wide, easily walked trail passes the first observation deck, then swings parallel to cascading Dukes Creek. The treadway descends easily well above that stream to 0.7 mile, where the new path ties into the old, looping route. Two-tenths of a mile farther, the wide walkway turns sharply to the right onto a narrower path. The remaining distance makes an easy descent to the boardwalk and large observation deck above where the two creeks – Dukes and Davis – converge at 1,760 feet.
The observation deck is a great spot to view or photograph Dukes Creek Falls. The waterfall – actually on Davis Creek – is estimated to be around 250 feet high. The water cascades down a wide, rocky course, which dilutes the power of the falls, especially at low water levels. One prominent, rectangular piece of bedrock is still perched in the middle of the falls; a few eastern hemlock and rosebay rhododendron grow right on the rock. This waterfall is spectacular when the sun shines immediately after heavy rains.
Trailhead: Overlook into the creek valley with picnic tables and benches.
Mile 0.1: Wheelchair-accessible observation deck at end of paved segment offering a clear view of the falls and gorge.
Mile 1.1: Dukes Creek Falls, a wide, 2SD-foot cascading drop.
Take GA 75 North from the Chattahoochee River Bridge in Helen, travel approximately 1.4 miles, and turn left onto GA AlL 75 South, crossing the bridge over the Chattahoochee River in Robertstown. Continue on GA Alt. 75 South for 2.3 miles, then turn right onto Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway (GA 348 North). Travel 1.7 miles on Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway; the large sign for Dukes Creek Recreation Area is on the left.
The Dukes Creek Falls approach road remains open all year. It may be inaccessible during winter storms when Richard B. Russell Highway is closed.
This hiking guide to the Dukes Creek Falls Trail is adapted from The Hiking Trails of North Georgia by Tim Homan and is published in cooperation with the publisher, Peachtree Publishers. With his meticulous attention to detail and accuracy, Homan has long been recognized as the authority on North Georgia hiking trail by serious hikers. His other books include Hiking Trails of Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock and Citico Creek Wilderness, Hiking the Shining Rock and Middle Prong Wilderness and others. For a complete inventory of his books see his Amazon Author Page. For an inventory of Peachtree Publishers books including its Nature books for children, go to the Peachtree Publishers website.