Last weekend, James had a bachelor party at a cabin in Cleveland (jokes about going to the Cabbage Patch hospital commence), so I decided to drop him off there and let him hitch a ride home with a friend. Since I was in in a great hiking area, I decided to make the best of it, despite the usual rainy weather. Fortunately, the rain actually let up around noon right when I dropped James off. I had 2 options nearby- Yonah Mountain or Raven Cliffs. As much as I like Yonah, I didn't feel like doing that by myself and thought Raven Cliffs would be better for a solo excursion. I stop every 5 minutes whenever I hike Raven Cliffs and take a million pictures, so it's kind of a pain to go there with me.
I've been to Raven Cliffs three times in the past 3 years (once in Fall, once in summer, and now spring). Previous post about my first trip can be found here and I never wrote about the second one (it was in 2016 during my sad, nearly post-less year). Spring, in my opinion, is the best time to visit. The trees are still somewhat bare, so it's easier to see the water and catch some of the smaller falls along the way to the main attraction. But some flowers are blooming already and everything starts to feel more alive after the grey-ness of winter. The weather is still cool (so maybe not ideal if you actually want to jump in the water) and on a rainy day, there are fewer visitors.
Just to summarize some basics, the Raven Cliffs trail is 5 miles long total (out and back) and mostly flat/easy to hike. The trail head has a developed parking area, pit toilets, garbage receptacles, and is extremely easy to access due to it being just north of Cleveland, in close proximity to several other recreation areas. All that adds up to a lot of visitors, so please please please LEAVE NO TRACE (specifically directed at the girl who left her black, lace Victoria's Secret panties on the trail). There were signs posted in the parking area advising of a $5 fee implementation this year, which I honestly have no problem with given the amenities and number of visitors. Other places nearby with such as Dukes Creek Falls charge a fee, so I think it's reasonable at Raven Cliffs as well.
Simply put, Raven Cliffs is probably my favorite place in the state of Georgia. If I had to choose my favorite places in states I have been recently, Raven Cliffs would be right up there with Sedona and Joshua Tree. There is just something about Raven Cliffs that is so magical. The leaves seem more green, the moss more vibrant, the water more clear, the trees more graceful. It's probably just my imagination, but everything just seems more heightened and vibrant. I literally feel like I'm walking through a fairy tale forest. I'm hardly a religious person, but Raven Cliffs is truly a spiritual experience.There are times when I want to leave the state of Georgia (most of the time, honestly) but then I remember we have places like Raven Cliffs. Now if only I could figure out a way to live in the forest full time...