Heading west on GA 52 from Dahlonega turn right on Nimblewill Church Rd. Drive until you hit a stop sign, the church is across from you, and turn left onto Nimblewill Gap Rd. The road eventually becomes FS 28-2 and turns to dirt at 2.3 miles. At another 2.2 miles FS 28-E will exit to your right. Head right here at this fork and park just up ahead at the campsite. You will know your at the correct place because you can see FS 28-2 starting a very steep climb just after the fork. After parking walk out onto FS 28-E and turn right. Walk down a short distance and the road ends just before a small creek crossing. Cross the creek and hike 1.5 miles to the base of the falls. Bearden Falls is around 200 feet tall.
GPS- N 34 35.35' W 84 11.54'.
To me the most challenging part of hiking Bearden Falls was actually the drive. The last 2.2 miles were rough, bumpy, slow going, muddy, and very wet. Huge, deep puddles lined the dirt road along with patches of large protruding rocks. It may be easier in dryer periods but on my visit I wouldn't have even attempted it without four wheel drive. In fact on our first unsuccessful attempt, unfamiliar with the road, we unfortunately came in a minivan. A decision quickly met with disappointment as we turned around and headed back. Thankfully we decided to give it another try in an four wheel drive SUV the following day. And while the drive was still very unnerving, after seeing and getting up close to Bearden Falls, it was completely worth it.
|A few pics from the dirt road leading to the trail.|
Once reaching the trail most of the actual hike is a breeze. An old flat and simple ATV trail followed by a shorter narrow footpath will take you all the way to the base with several simple creek crossings along the way. It is a pretty uneventful walk with a few significant cascades, but for the most part there isn't much to see. The coolest part was actually the many colorful mushrooms that lined the trail along the way. Which for some reason I spent way too much time snapping pictures of.
Reaching the base is when the fun begins. Keeping left of the falls you can hike the steep trail all the way up to the very top while swinging back towards the falls for some awesome views along the way. Getting up wasn't too difficult just be prepared to climb through trees, underbrush, and many thorns along the way. Now getting down, that was a bit of a challenge. You are either sliding down on your butt or reaching and grabbing for anything you can hold onto. Mostly I just stayed closed to the ground, slid and grabbed trees or took a seat whenever I began to tumble. Basically whichever stopped me from tumbling down the mountain.
Just before reaching the top of the falls are paths taking you up to the first main drop. Here you get the great up close view seen in the second picture at the top and then another close enough to reach up and touch the top of the waterfall. Here are two videos I shot from the main drop.
Once above the main drop you have reached the very top of the falls. Up here is a beautiful view of the mountains on the horizon and a nice cascade signifying the origin of Bearden Falls. Standing on the rock at the edge of the waterfall gives you a glimpse 200 feet down to the bottom of falls. That very moment is what makes this hike so enjoyable. As you stare ahead at the huge mountain tops in the distance and the rushing water falling deep down below you are rewarded with an unforgettable view of nature.
Bearden falls is a very impressive waterfall that offers great views from the top and bottom of the falls. Seeing the falls from both perspectives really make this a special and beautiful place. While not the best or most scenic hike, it is at least pretty secluded and very fun when it climbs up beside the falls. And most importantly, the actual waterfall is amazing After failing on our first attempt to see Bearden Falls, I was very happy we came back and tried again.
|Cascade above Bearden Falls|
Pics at the top
Pics from the hike: