Exploring Dukes Creek Falls
On New Years Day we ventured over to check out the short trail to Dukes Creek Falls. While we have visited the next-door neighbor, Raven Cliff Falls, more times than I can count, this was our first time here. At the trailhead are bathrooms and several picnic tables, as well as a fantastic view of Yonah Mountain.
The first 0.1 miles of trail is a combination of roughly paved trail and boardwalk and ADA assessable. At the end of this section is a nice observation deck and falls viewing platform. The falls were easy to see today, but I’m not sure how concealed they might be once the leaves are on the trees.
The “trail” continues along several levels of impressive boardwalk interspersed with some dirt path until the final section of stairs ends at a sign-less T intersection. Two arrows carved onto the post where a sign previously hung, indicates to turn left to continue to the falls; however, there is a well-worn path to the right, as well. From here the path is quite wide and has very few rocks and roots. There are glimpses of cascades on Dukes Creek and another area where the falls themselves are visible through the now leafless trees. Ultimately, the trail descends about 400’ over the mile long trail to the 150’ falls. At the end of the trail are more impressive boardwalk, wooden stairs and several very nice observation platforms. Here, Davis Creek and Dukes Creek converge and eventually feed into the Chattahoochee River.
On our way back out, we explored that “well-worn” trail at the T intersection and found it leads a short distance to a spot to cross Dukes Creek. After crossing, hang a right on the dirt road, travel about 100 yards, and you’ll end up in the Raven Cliff Falls parking area and trailhead. Hang a left, travel about a mile, and you’ll end up at the top of Dukes Creek Falls.
We were quite impressed with the trail and waterfall and will definitely be back! I think this is also a very family friendly trail. Having been to Raven Cliff Falls on a weekend, I suspect Dukes Creek Falls are just as busy, if not more so. Living in the North Georgia Mountains and running the Hiker Hostel gives us more freedom to enjoy the trails mid-week when they are less congested. This trail is also only about 5 miles (driving distance) from the Appalachian Trail.
There is a parking fee of $4 per vehicle at the Dukes Creek Falls trailhead. While it is a USFS Fee Area, Interagency Passes are NOT honored.
Directions to the trailhead
Turn left from Hiker Hostel. Drive 1 mile, then bear right at the Stonepile to stay on Hwy 19N. Drive 5 miles to the T intersection at Turner’s Corner. Turn right onto Hwy 129 S and drive approximately 8 miles. Turn left onto Alt 75 and drive approximately 6 miles. Turn left on Hwy 348 (Richard Russell Scenic Highway) and drive about 1.5 miles to entrance on left.