As you’re driving along the Richard B. Russell Scenic Byway (Georgia Route 348), you’ll come across several great hiking opportunities. The most popular is likely the Raven Cliffs Trail, a 5-mile round-trip to a waterfall that pours through a narrow crack in a rock wall. I didn’t make it all the way to the end of the trail, but I did go far enough to visit one of the prettiest waterfalls I’ve ever photographed: Dodd Creek Falls, about 1.5 miles in.
Let’s start at the beginning…
… at this dirt road, just off Route 348.
There’s a trailhead here…
… and it’s easy to spot the start of the Raven Cliffs Trail. Plunge into the woods…
… and you’ll find a well-maintained and easy-to-follow path that follows Dodd Creek. Some of the trail is flat, but parts of it require an uphill climb.
Watch for some fun fungus along the way…
… and create a few cairns with river rocks, along the banks of Dodd Creek.
It’s a peaceful, relaxing walk through the woods, densely forested, but with a few wide-open spots like this one.
You’ll pass some small, picturesque rapids, but the big attraction is still ahead!
About a mile and a half into the hike, I came upon Dodd Creek Falls. What an impressive waterfall!
The waterfall has a tall upper cascade, followed by some smaller drops and tumbles down a rocky slide.
There are plenty of different ways to photograph it — just bring a tripod and wander around for a while. You will have to climb down a slope from the main trail, but the path is rather obvious and only a little difficult.
Since it was getting late in the day, and the forest was already growing shadowy and feeling lonely, I decided not to hike on to Raven Cliffs. From the photos I’ve seen, I don’t think Raven Cliffs Falls can be easily photographed. It also helped to know that I had already shot one great waterfall on this hike.
By the time I returned to the parking lot, it was empty, except for my car. If I had continued on to Raven Cliffs, I would have been all alone.