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According to the calendar, spring is here! Let’s get outside

Canoe Kids
The trail along the Amicalola River is a great place for a hike.

Canoe Kids
By Melissa Lowrie
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Photos by Melissa Lowrie

Melissa Lowrie

Spring has sprung in our neck of the woods—finally. It’s time to venture outside and we’re keeping it close to home with some fun in our Dawson County backyard.

Personally, when I think of entertainment in Dawson, my first thought is the outlet mall. Shockingly, the Canoe Kids would rather not tag along for a day of shopping. Alternately, there is an awesome corn maze, but it’s the wrong season ... the kids can’t drive yet, so the motorsports park is out, and while the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame is cool, the point of the day is to get outside. What to do?

Great options are all over North Georgia for hiking. We love the miles of trails in Big Canoe and  Amicalola Falls State Park, both with beautiful waterfalls and equally stunning views.

Today, however, we ventured up Highway 53 to another spot. In between Marble Hill and downtown Dawsonville you’ll find the Amicalola River Trail. There’s a gravel parking lot with signs designating it as a Dawson Wildlife Management Area.

Canoe Kids
The trail along the Amicalola is well-maintained and easy to navigate.

According to, this is a 2.9 mile loop trail that follows the river to the class IV “Edge of the World” rapids. There is a ramp for canoes and kayaks at the end of the lot, and on a nice weekend, it gets crowded as it’s popular with both anglers and hikers. About the rapids, the website states: “the impressive whitewater known as “Edge of the World Rapids” is created by the Brevard Fault Line, which runs from northeast to southwest across the heart of North Georgia. High water blocks the view of the river to canoeists, hence the name.”

We ventured out early on a Sunday before the crowds had time to stir. The trail is well marked and is elevated on a manmade path that meanders alongside the river. Benches along the way offer resting spots or a place to contemplate.

The kids found plenty to do off the trail but were most impressed when the wooden path ended and they discovered a beautiful place to play on the rocks in the middle of the river. It was a stunning place to sit and watch the water and the kids for a bit.

Both my kids thought this (free and easy) outing was “really fun.” The hike was non-strenuous and would be appropriate for all ages. Dogs on leash are welcome to join for a bit of exercise, too.

A hike makes a great outing for Canoe Kids and their adults. We’ve been blessed with plenty of options for trails in the area, so pick one and wherever you end up have a great time. Enjoy the beauty of spring.

Smoke Signals, April 2013

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