Friends of Amicalola Falls Create An Unforgettable Hiking Experience

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Containing the largest cascading waterfall in the Southeast as well as miles of scenic trails, it is clear why Amicalola Falls is one of Georgia’s most popular state parks. Maintaining their trails as well as providing trails with a wide range of difficulty is important to the Amicalola Falls staff and volunteers which is why, in 2010, the Friends of Amicalola Falls took the initiative to make necessary repairs and improvements to the West Ridge Trail.

This 1.3 mile trail is also an ADA trail which explores the west ridge of the Amicalola Creek Watershed between the Appalachian Trail long-term parking area and the ADA parking area. With access to the falls as well as being an ADA trail, this popular trail welcomes many visitors who are ready for a period of relaxation as they stroll through this gorgeous Georgia park while still enjoying some healthy exercise. However, with some of the areas of the trail collapsing and sagging due to washouts, in addition to wearing from the number of visitors on this trail, it was clear that immediate action was necessary to make repairs to this high-volume trail.

Through a period of several work days, all the dangerous areas of this recycled rubber trail were removed and a local company newly installed recycled rubber materials to the path. With the efforts of Friends volunteers matched with funds awarded through the 2010 Friends Matching Grants Program, the Friends of Amicalola Falls accomplished a terrific feat at their favorite park. Approximately 170 feet of repairs were made and the West Ridge Trail is now welcoming many guests to explore the falls.
Friends volunteers also worked hard improve and repair drainage areas along the trail to prevent new damage. A 35-foot drainage ditch was dug by Friends volunteers to direct water to an existing drainage pipe. In yet another area, drainage pipe repairs were needed under the trail and were repaired by the Amicalola maintenance staff.

Together, Friends volunteers and maintenance staff workers were able to repair a severe washout and drainage problem by cleaning out drainage pipes, re-digging ditches, and installing a water diversion. A new, rubber path was installed and ready for guests. The tireless efforts of these Friends volunteers are once again not only needed, but greatly appreciated by all. Assistance and supportive collaboration with park staff makes projects such as these possible. Not every project completed is always obvious to the visitor’s eye, but these efforts are clearly vital to not only the beautification of our parks, but to the preservation, safety, and protection of Georgia’s greatest places.