Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Short Hike To Minnehaha Falls

Last time I had attempted to visit Minnehaha Falls I was frustrated by bridge construction. The bridge crossing the Tallulah River just below the Seed Lake Dam was being rebuilt and closed during the construction. The bridge is open for travel now and makes a trip to see the beautiful 60' falls much easier for folks visiting the Lake Rabun/Lake Seed area. The falls can be approached from the opposite direction via Bear Gap Road but that requires a pretty long trip over gravel roads from a starting point well south of the area.
Minnehaha Falls is a beautiful cascade even in these times of chronically low water (see photo above). It is more even more outstanding when freshly charged by a good rain. The short .4 mile trail can be navigated by anyone in moderately good health, the steepest section at the beginning of the trail has stairs to aid the climb.

It takes about a 10 minute walk to reach the falls from the parking area on Bear Gap Road, which is really just a wide spot in the road shoulder. The trail winds through rhododendron and mountain laurel thickets before reaching the falls, which seem to appear rather abruptly as you enter a wide mountain cove. There are a couple of natural stone sitting benches where you can sit and enjoy the scene at close range, but care should be taken when walking on the worn rock which stays moist all the time and can be icy in winter.

From the bridge at Seed Lake Dam, proceed south till you come to the fork in the road with the sign for Glen Ella Lodge...veer left onto Bear Gap Road and proceed for 1.6 miles. The beginning of the trail (shown in the photo above) will be on your right and parking will be on your left. This is a great little side trip any time of the year for visitors heading to the Clayton-Lakemont-Tallulah Falls area and well worth the time.

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