Hike 0.2 miles on the moderately difficult Ada-Hi Falls Nature Trail in Rabun County, Georgia, to see diverse flora and a small waterfall.
By Tim Homan
If only all trails, even those down the worst of dirt roads, were as well marked as Ada-Hi Falls. It begins with a formal trailhead – a wooden doorway frame that heightens the perception of entering and intensifies the difference between the oppressiveness of the pavement and the cool richness of the forest, especially during the glaring drought days of summer. Ada-Hi, the Cherokee word for forest, makes perfect sense for a trail beginning in a hardwood forest dominated by northern red, chestnut, and white oak, and ending in a tuliptree cove.
This short path immediately descends into a moist cove where ferns and wildflowers grow in lush abundance. Vasey’s trillium, bloodroot, and jack-in-the-pulpit bloom here in spring; touch-me-not (spotted jewelweed), mountain mint, rattlesnake plantain, and black cohosh in summer. Continuing downhill through a diverse hardwood forest, the trail ducks into a dense arbor-like thatching of rhododendron before dropping to its end at the observation deck beside Ada-Hi Falls.
The end of the trail is as botanically rich as the beginning. The umbrella-leaf, an aptly named plant infrequently found on rocky seepage slopes, grows below the left side of the deck. (See Sosebee Cove Trail for a description of this unusual plant.)
Calling Ada-Hi a falls, especially in Rabun County, is charitable, to say the least. Depending upon the season and recent rainfall, Ada-Hi varies from glistening rock face to a thin veneer of sliding water. Most often, this 35-foot-high Taylor Creek headwater fall is a dripping trickle.
Throughout: Botanically diverse area with good spring wildflower display. Mile 0.2: Ada-Hi Falls at trail’s end.
From Clayton, take US 441 North to Mountain City. In Mountain City, turn left onto Black Rock Mountain Road. A prominent sign marks the turn.
Once inside Black Rock Mountain State Park, turn left at the signs for the Tent and Trailer Camping Area. Across the road from the Information Cabin, next to the Concession Area, a sign denotes the trail’s location, and a wooden doorway frames its entrance.
This hiking guide to the Ada-Hi Falls Nature 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.