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Date Hiked: 5/29/88
Length: 2.6 miles
Main Features: Panther Falls, Angel Falls, other cascades
Location: Rabun Beach Recreation Area, Georgia
Access to the Rabun Beach Recreation Area is from US route 441 north of Tallulah Falls. (Tallulah Falls is about 11 miles south of Clayton and about 7 miles north of the highway 17 junction with 441.) Travel north from Tallulah Falls on highway 441. Less than 2 miles beyond Tallulah Gorge Park is a series of 3 bridges. Turn left directly before the third bridge. Go 2.5 miles and turn left just past a bridge. After 4.8 miles there is a rock Forest Service sign on the right that says "Rabun Beach Recreation Area". Turn right just past this sign and bear right at the intersection. Continue on what seems like the main road through the campground. After less than 0.2 miles park in the grassy parking area on the right near the sign that says "Parking Trail". The trail begins past the sign and across the road.
The atmosphere and beauty along this trail are delightfully refreshing. Several sections wind through dark rhododendron thickets where the air is cool and moist. Moss covers the trailside debris and ferns are abundant. (The temperature was nearly 20 degrees Fahrenheit cooler here than out in the sunlit campground.)
The first stream-crossing occurs a few feet from the trailhead. Looking upstream from the bridge is a scenic view of the creek sliding down a rock stairway. The trail gently ascends as it roughly follows the creek bed. Twice, small feeder streams disappear underground beside the path and reappear on the other side. Other crossings include three bridges and one place where you use a large stepping stone crowded by a rhododendron tree. Patches of wildflowers and songbirds are added attractions.
Panther Falls and Angel Falls are the highlights of this trail. The first falls, Panther, has a large flat boulder at the base from which you can view the falls. A sign here says that Angel Falls is 600 yards farther. A steep ascent takes you to the top of Panther Falls where you enjoy a different view. The trail narrows and climbs the rest of the way to Angel Falls. A wooden bridge across the stream at the base of the falls serves as an observation deck. The small volume of falling water is compensated by the beauty of the falls and the cool breeze blowing across the bridge.
This trail is not blazed, but it is very easy to follow. The only decision point is a fork at the second falls. Either way is correct.
Note: There is poison ivy along the trail. A few steep sections are slippery due to leaves on the trail.
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