We spent one night here and ended up leaving due to rain, but it really is a wonderful park. The mounds are mysterious and beautiful, the trails were great, and the view of the lake was terrific. I’ll say that the comfort station wasn’t all that well maintained. Plus there was still detritus from previous campers at our site when we arrived (and we arrived late). Nothing was filthy, mind: it just didn’t have that attention to detail we’ve seen at other state parks. Overall, however: a brilliant experience.
Amicalola Falls is well known for a reason: the view is truly gorgeous. But it is always insane with crowds of people. It makes for a really slow going making your way up, and there’s very little peace to be had when you’re there. It’s tough enough to enjoy under those circumstances, but when you note that many are also not wearing masks, you start to get skittish.
We spent a week in Fort Mountain and we can’t say enough about how wonderful it was. The sites are beautiful and feel very private. The facilities are spotless, and the staff at the visitor’s center/store were terrific. The overlooks were spectacular: absolutely beautiful.
First and foremost, Mistletoe is beautiful. It’s tucked away and the greenery is outstanding. The hiking is lengthy and gorgeous (if somewhat difficult to navigate) with an easy grade that’ll keep the huffing and puffing to a minimum. I wish the signage around the park aimed in both directions of the road. Navigating on your way in was easily enough, but getting out was tougher.
The staff at the visitor’s center were friendly, and the toilets and showers were kept very clean.
A fair warning, though: if you’re a tent camper who’s looking to enjoy some quiet time by the water, avoid the loop with the boat ramp. We stayed on site 30, and were surrounded by RVs and boats coming and going: between the sound and the lights, it wasn’t exactly peaceful. Add in the extraordinary winds that were coming in off the lake the weekend we were there, and certain moments of our trip felt very tedious. The Park can’t exactly do anything about wind and neighbors with boats, but we intend to camp further from the boat ramp next time. We got a look at the spots closer to the walk in sites, and think those might be more conducive to anyone who’s going for a more low-key tent experience.
This was my first camping trip with the girlfriend, and as far as first impressions go, Desoto Falls did a fine job. The sites are packed with dense trees and a stream that turned every corner of the upper loop into a white noise machine fit for a sleepy, woodsy king. The falls are beautiful: the walk to the upper falls was like a verdant Grimm’s fairy tale. Just with less death, I mean.
I’d recommend the upper loop specifically, if you have a choice, as there’s a much better chance to find the stream in your backyard; we spent mornings drinking coffee next to it. The lower loop felt absolutely cramped with daytime hikers and tourists.
The proximity to the road was the only overall downside to the location of Desoto Falls. We spent Labor Day weekend there, and apparently that’s the time every biker below the Mason-Dixon Line chooses to play out their Hunter Thompson Mint 400 fantasy, tearing ass up and down the breakneck curves of the mountain highway at any given hour.
This isn’t the fault of Desoto Falls, of course, but being that close to a major (majorish?) road can really tar and feather the illusion of being at peace with nature.
Beyond that, however, it’s a lovely spot: terrific for a weekend visit. We liked the Reece Farm and Heritage center up the road. We fed a donkey. We gave it a name, too, but it escapes me now.
I’d say that’s a positive, though. If you’re having such a nice time that you forget the name of a donkey you only recently learned that you’d take a bullet for, it must be a pretty good locale.