Georgia Swimming Holes: Swimming Devil’s Elbow

The deceptive Devil's Elbow
The deceptive Devil’s Elbow

On our search for The Edge of the World in the mountains of North Georgia, we were directed by some lovely ladies at the local BBQ  house on HWY 400 (the one with the pig on the roof), to their local swimming hole: The Devil’s Elbow. We found this deceptively beautiful swimming hole- but the ladies had told us that an adult had drowned there a few weeks prior, trying rescue a drowning child, so we entered with caution.

A quick note on place names- if some place has the name “Devil”, “Satan”, “Hell” or “Death” included in it, there is usually a darn good reason. A group of elders didn’t sit around a camp fire and say “Hey, let’s call this Satan’s Armpit” for no reason what so ever. And this applied to the inviting Devil’s Elbow.

Located off GA 53 in the Dawson Wildlife Management Area, (Also a fee- Georgia Outdoor Recreational Pass-GORP tag needed area), we parked up and clambered down a red mud trail to the river below, where three teenaged boys were taking turns swinging from a rope swing into the icy river. There were places to dive, makeshift ladder’s nailed into trees- it was obviously a popular place.

“There’s a deep under tow at the river bend,” one of the boys told us. “You have to be very careful.”

With the summer’s constant rain adding to the river’s current, I directed the kids away from the elbow and we waded downstream instead, in search of gold and skipping stones. (We found the stones to skip, but not the gold!) It ended up as a pleasant stop off before we resumed the Edge of the World quest.

Upstream of the Devil's Elbow, Dawsonville,
Upstream of the Devil’s Elbow, Dawsonville, GA
Upstream of the Devil's Elbow
Upstream of the Devil’s Elbow

Thankfully, the water flows away from the Devil’s Elbow, so we were able to splash away in the shallows.



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  1. //

    How can I get here ?

    1. //

      A local secret…Take 19 north from Atlanta, turn left onto GA 53 W. Follow 53 through and past Dawsonville, then turn right onto Duck Thurmond Rd, a slight right onto Sweetwater Juno Rd, turn left to stay on Sweetwater Juno Rd, continue onto Juno Rd, take a left on Steele Bridge Rd, cross over the Amicolola Creek and Park up. (You need to pre-purchase a Georgia Outdoor Recreational Pass -GORP). Creek is nice for wading, but be wary of undertow at the actual Elbow- curve in the river.

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