Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests
1755 Cleveland Highway
Gainesville, GA 30501
HIGHLIGHTS: The Chattahoochee National Forest was created when the Forest Service purchased acerage in Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin and Union Counties from the Gennett family in 1911 for $7.00 per acre. In the beginning, the Chattahoochee was part of the Nantahala and Cherokee National Forests in North Carolina and Tennessee, but eventually the Forest Service made additional land purchases and expanded the Chattahoochee to its current size of nearly 750,000 acres. The 30,000 acre Cooper Creek Wildlife Management Area resides in Northeastern Georgia and lies within the Chattahoochee National Forest. There are nearly 80 miles of trails in the WMA.
This short 0.8 mile hike to Angel Falls begins near the back of Rabun Beach Campground and climbs gradually along Joe Creek. You will first pass an old stone box spring used by the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) as you ascend. The spring was used to keep perishables cool when the CCC used the campground as a base camp for work in the early 1900’s. Panther Falls, the first waterfall on the trail, is just past the still running spring. There is a nice pool at the base of Panther Falls and a wooden bench is situated in to the hillside if you need a rest.
From here, the trail is increasingly difficult and makes a series of short but steep climbs to the namesake Angel Falls. It is a larger waterfall but is more obstructed by vegetation and lacks the pool that collects at Panther Falls. Regardless, it’s worth the trip and there is also a small platform here where you can rest and enjoy the scenery. From Angel Falls, you backtrack to the campground to complete the hike.