A Must-See in the Georgia Mountains
End of the Line
Photos by Jimmy Jacobs.
Situated adjacent to Unicoi State Park in the northeast Georgia Mountains, the twin cascades of Anna Ruby Falls are a must-see when visiting the area. Draining the southern slopes of Tray Mountain, from the west Curtis Creek plunges over a 153-foot drop, while York Creek from the east drops 50 feet. At the foot of the falls, the streams combine to form Smith Creek that flows into the state park.
The falls are named for the only daughter of Col. James H. Nichols, a veteran of the Civil War who settled in the nearby Nacoohee Valley in 1870. The natural beauty of the cascades and the surrounding mountains today draw visitors from all over the region. Those cataracts also are the centerpiece of the federally-operated Anna Ruby Falls Recreation Area.
From the parking lot at the area’s Visitor Center, a paved and sometimes steep path leads along Smith Creek for just shy of half a mile up to viewing platforms at the base of the waterfalls. Along the way a number of informational signs are positioned along the trail, explaining the area’s history, culture and native vegetation.
But, before tackling that trek, walk out on the deck behind the center for a look at the demonstration pool on Smith Creek. Although no fishing is allowed in the recreation area, the pool holds brook, brown and rainbow trout that usually are visible in the crystalline water.
Additionally, the paved .15-mile Lion’s Eye Interpretive Trail runs along Smith Creek beside the parking lot. Specifically designed for wheel-chair bound and sight-impaired individuals, the trail has signs explaining the ecology of the area. The signs also are in braille and a hand rail guides the sight impaired along the path
The visitor center provides restroom, a concession area and gift shop, as well as more signage regarding the region’s flora, fauna and geology. A footbridge runs across the creek to a picnic area near the center, as well.