Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Mud Creek Falls, Georgia

Out wandering around the far northeastern tip of Georgia in Rabun County I went to see a waterfall on a late summer day. There was no hiking through a forest or up a mountain, this was a waterfall for a lazy walk. Mud Creek Falls, sometimes referred to as Little Estatoah Falls, was the perfect waterfall for the moment.

X marks the spot.

The waterfall is located in what was Sky Valley Ski Resort, the only snow ski resort in the state. Fifteen years ago it became Sky Valley Resort dropping the snow skiing altogether, apparently a snow ski resort in Georgia was not profitable enough. It was a place I remember hearing about as a kid and seeing on the evening news when the local Atlanta television stations went looking for a "snow in Georgia" type story.

September 2018. Photo by me.

Out of the 57,513 square miles of land that Georgia has, Sky Valley is one of my favorite scenic places in the state.

On the far reaches of the resort on Tahoe Road and behind Spring Lake is where you will find the waterfall. It is open to the general public, there is no fee to visit and there is no entrance gate to hassle you.

After you park on the rather steep and narrow parking area there is Mud Creek. To your left is the 100 foot waterfall, which you will hear before you see it. If you are so inclined and not concerned with your safety, you can climb all over it. I do not recommend climbing on slippery large rocks with water pummeling you from above, but some people will do it anyway.

If you wish you may also hike to the falls. I would like to return and do that one day. There is a hiking trail that begins on Highway 246. It is roughly a two mile hike one-way that approaches the waterfall from the northwest and parallels Mud Creek. The trailhead is located on the right side of the road just beyond the Sky Valley overlook. There is a small pull off area for parking. The trail may at times have a closed gate, but you can disregard that and walk around it without worry.


September 2018. Photo by me.

The dull name, Mud Creek,  does not do it justice.

 

September 2018. Photo by me.

 

A closer look at the top of the waterfall. It has a nice misty spray for those hot days.

September 2018. Photo by me.

September 2018. Photo by me.

September 2018. Photo by me.


It is a green, cool and shady spot around the waterfall in the summertime. There are ferns growing among the rocks of the waterfall and the creek. This is what I believe to be an eastern hay-scented fern in the second photo above. I am not positive on the identification, but these are common ferns in this type of environment next to a Georgia mountain stream. The UGA Extension service is a wonderful resource for identifying plants and trees in Georgia has a list for identifying ferns here.