We started our hike to Panther Falls and Angel Falls in a little bit of a fern glade. This is a two-mile trail that’s really a nice short hike with a few ups but mostly one that is full of really beautiful views. The trail begins near historic Lakemont and nearby Lake Rabun Beach Campground (in Rabun County). Google for directions.

Most of the time, we had the trail to ourselves and since the governor of Georgia is still allowing hiking, we took full advantage of it.

But there’s evidence of plenty of others passing this way! What makes people want to carve their names into something like a tree?

Afternoon sun lighting up the spring moss at the base of a tree always causes me to smile.

As you hike, the trail passes a historic, moss-covered stone bench at .3 mile, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1940’s. The spring is diverted now, but it once flowed through the stone channel below the bench and was the source of water for a nearby CCC camp. The men and women of the CCC also stored milk and butter here because it was a cool refreshing area. Mountain water that comes from ground springs is usually very cold even in the summer months.

There were plenty of roots and narrow pathways around. If we did see someone coming in our direction, we stopped and stepped off the trail and many would do the same for us.

The hike continues to climb with Joe Creek tumbling over a rocky creek bed on the right side of the trail. In fact, we passed one waterfall after another on the way to the two main falls. I’m so glad we choose this trail for a nice quick get-away!

And the greens of spring were brilliant!

The trail reaches Panther Falls at just under .6 mile, where Joe Creek cascades down a stair-stepped rock outcrop into a tranquil pool of water below. I’m still fighting with taking my tripod along with me—more weight even though it is a light one made for hiking. I used my monopod for this shot, and it’s just not what I needed.

Leaving Panther Falls,  the trail heads straight up a hill, but it’s still not difficult. This is the trail’s steepest stretch through a sharp switchback.

Anne helps to create a perspective on the steepness of the trail. After this point, you come to a trail loop; a turn in either direction leads to Angel Falls. Yellow Jackets were flying near the ground as we stepped quickly through the area of sun and water.

The trail ends at a wooden platform that overlooks Angel Falls. It is a super refreshing place and we had it all to ourselves for a few minutes. Again, I needed my tripod. We’ll see if I start taking it with me on these waterfall hikes.

This was an excellent hike and a great place to step away from the concerns of this world if only for a short period of time. What can be better than being outside in this beautiful environment? You can be inside for another full week, right?!


On the way back out, a pain of sadness filtered through me. My dog Cocoa was not hiking with me. She’s doing well and is at home these days. She’s 15 and keeps tracking with me for as long as she can.  It’s fun to look back. Below is what I wrote several years ago.

Here’s Cocoa from years ago! Doesn’t she look great?! She’s smiling and also looking at the camera!

On this Sunday we hiked to Angel Falls in Rabun County. This photo was taken at the base of the falls, which is located at the end of a moderately strenuous one mile in hike. We were all pretty hot and in need of water, but I thought Cocoa looked rather good considering she had to jump over at least two sets of fallen trees and tunnel under a couple more.

Oh, how ready I am to sing the praises of Dog School 101 again. What a perfect hiking companion she has become. She also had to hike back out another mile. At the end, she played in the water and helped me eat trail mix—minus the raisins! Cocoa gives this hike a definite four paws. This is moderate to doggie tough, but it is just flat out beautiful. We’ll be hiking it again in the future.