Hiking to the Edge of the World
(Because everybody needs an epic adventure every now and then!)
You don’t have to be a hobbit to make an epic journey to the Edge of the World, in fact, you don’t even need a wizard or a gang of dwarves, only a pair of shoes, a bottle of water and a little insider knowledge, but if you happen to have a wizard and gang of dwarves on hand, the more the merrier, right?
I stumbled across the Edge of the World (not over it, mind you), by sheer accident, as all best treasures are accidently discovered. I had been researching swimming holes in northern Georgia for our next vacation, as a previous waterfall hunting excursion had given us the added bonus of a neat swimming hole adventure. The very name, Edge of the World had an epic ring to it, and to top it off, it was only about an hours north drive from Atlanta. Who knew, the Edge of the World was located in north Georgia? (Certainly not Galileo!) Adventurers know that the best places are not easily accessible (that is what makes them the best places!) and the Edge of the World is no exception. It would take a hike. A hike to the Edge of the World. Sure you can hike anywhere, but hiking to the Edge of the World? Yeah, how could we resist the challenge?
There are no signposts for the Edge of the World, but there is a rather nice Amicalola River Trail leading from the Dawson Wildlife Management Area (Dawson WMA) gravel parking area near Dawsonville, Georgia. Follow the trail under the Highway 53 bridge. It ends before reaching the Edge of the World (it would, wouldn’t it?) And after that you are on your own. A Georgia Outdoor Recreational pass is required to park in the Dawson WMA parking lot. Get one before you go (see link below), as and there is neither a human being nor the internet connection to obtain one when you reach there either! The boardwalk follows the water, which can be a creek at times, or, due to rainfall, a raging river ( like when we were there!) Just as the roar of the river becomes deafening, the boardwalk ends. We followed the worn footpath from there to reach the Edge of the World.
The Edge of the World rocks class IV whitewater rapids, shallows for splashing in and lots of rocks for climbing (can be slippery). We did not see any rafters- heck, we didn’t see anyone when we were there, but apparently it’s a favorite place for adventure kayakers.
Hiking to the Edge of the World takes under an hour, but if you plan to stay longer, check your weather. We got caught in a storm! Though it doesn’t have a sign, it does have it’s own Facebook page! Check it out here! Bring a water bottle, as hiking is sweaty business, and even though it was beautiful, drinking from those cool rivers is not so cool. And packing food? Beware of bears (though we did not see any- but then again, you know me and bears!)
The Edge of the World is located 14 miles on GA hwy 53 west from hwy 400 (north from Atlanta). The road goes through Dawsonville- follow it carefully through downtown, as it can get confusing. Signs for Dawson Forest WMA at parking area over the Amicalola River bridge. A 2012 rule: A Georgia Outdoor Recreational Permit (GORP) is required for parking there. See their official site here for more information and to obtain a permit. Get one ahead of time- and you can stop at any of their 33 outdoor areas. This is NOT a Georgia State Park, so those state park passes are not applicable. However, the Georgia State Park pass is also handy and recommended for adventurer travelers, as you can stop at any State Park en route- and there are a lot of them! (We took a pause and long leg stretch at the scenic High Falls State Park off of I-75 just before tackling the Atlanta traffic!). Check out State Park Pass info at their website here.
GPS coordinates for The Edge of the World: 34.4266,-84.213
In the need for further adventures? Head up to Amicalola Falls State Park and climb to the top of the falls. If an overnight adventure is what you need, try the 5 mile hike from the top of the Amicalola Falls to the Len Foote Hike Inn, or just continue on to Springer Mountain and begin an Appalachian Trail Adventure!
More cool Georgia swimming holes: