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• Accommodations • • Welcome • Kangaroo Conservation Center

Welcome to Dawson County With thousands of acres of forest and miles of trails, we are a true haven for outdoor adventure. If sitting on a bank casting a line sounds like heaven, you may want to

check your pulse when you see our abundance of streams with fish just waiting for your lure. Dawsonville’s racing history runs all the way back to moonshine “trippers” who souped up their cars to outrun police. Perhaps you’ve heard of our most famous resident – NASCAR legend Bill Elliott, better known as Awesome Bill From Dawsonville. We’ve also got global cuisine and world-class shopping. Whatever your pleasure, you’ve come to the right place. Enjoy.

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Attractions Hiking Biking Canoeing Fishing Waterfalls

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Maps Racing Shopping Dining Day Trips Accommodations Festivals

Dawson County Visitors Guide 2010

• Festivals • Moonshine Festival

Events in Dawson County Dawsonville’s calendar is full of exciting events throughout the year.

Spring Wildflower Festival – mid-April Free plant I.D. hikes, wildflower crafts, fun. $5 park pass. Amicalola Falls State Park, 418 Amicalola Falls State Park Rd., 706265-1969, www.gastate

Spring Fling- First weekend in May Artist market with plants, children’s areas, vintage cars, crafts, performances, and food. Bowen Arts Center and downtown Dawsonville, 334 Hwy. 9 N., 706-216-2787, Memorial Day Celebration – Memorial Day Memorial service to honor all deceased veterans. 3 p.m. Veterans Memorial Park, 445 Martin Rd., 706-265-6278

Sparks in the Park – July 3 Independence Day fun includes children’s activities, food, entertainment, and more. Gates open at 5 p.m. Fireworks start at dark. Rock Creek Sports Complex, 445 Martin Rd., 706-344-3646 Moonshine Festival – Fourth weekend in October Celebrate Dawson County’s bootlegging history. Live entertainment, car show, storytelling, moonshine still. Downtown Dawsonville. $5 parking. 706-216-5273, Veterans Day Celebration – November 11 Parade at 3 p.m. Formal ceremony, Veteran of the Year award at 4 p.m. Dawson County Middle School auditorium, 332 Hwy. 9 N., 706-265-6278

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• Accommodations •

• Attractions • Fun on Lake Lanier

Lodge Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge 418 Amicalola Falls Lodge Rd. Dawsonville 706-265-8888 Resorts Forrest Hills Mountain Resort 135 Forrest Hills Rd. Dahlonega 706-864-6456 Paradise Valley Resort 49 Valley Dr. Dawsonville 706-265-6110 (clothing optional)

Amicalola Falls Lodge

Cabins Amicalola View 26 Amicalola Ln. Dawsonville 706-265-8154 Mountain Home Rentals of GA P.O. Box 5 Marble Hill 770-894-4444

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Maps Racing Shopping Dining Day Trips Accommodations Festivals

Dawson County Visitors Guide 2010

Dawson County Dawson County is packed with unique attractions guaranteed to leave you with lasting memories and frameworthy photos. Enjoy the spray of the falls. Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge centers on the 729-foot falls that were named Amicalola, meaning “tumbling waters,” by the Cherokee Indians. This 829-acre park boasts

Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge

Attractions 12 miles of hiking trails, many of which lead to falls viewpoints. The Lodge features 56 rooms, 14 cottages (two are dog-friendly), convention facilities and the Maple Restaurant. 418 Amicalola Falls State Park Rd., Dawsonville; Lodge 800-573-9656, Visitor Center 706-265-4703, amicalola Hike the Appalachian Trail (or part of it). The A.T. is America’s longest marked footpath, stretching nearly 2,200 miles through 14 states. The A.T. is accessible by an 8.5mile approach trail leading from Amicalola Falls State Park. 304-535-6331, Launch your boat at Lake Lanier, which offers the best of outdoor activities: fishing, boating,

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• Day Trips • • • Attractions swimming and other water sports, picnicking and camping at War Hill Park. Lake Lanier glistens in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, has 690 miles of shoreline and more than 100 small islands. For more information call the Corps of Engineers at 404-945-9531, Around Back at Rocky’s Place is a folk art gallery featuring more than 200 regional artists. Open Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m. or by appointment. 3631 Hwy. 53 E., Dawsonville, 706-265-6030, www.aroundback Pick out your pumpkin. Bradley’s Pumpkin Patch grows pumpkins, daylilies and daffodils. Homemade soaps, food items and local honey are available. Family visits are free. Group rates are available for educational field trips. 25 Lawrence Dr., Dawsonville, 706-265-1447,

View from Chestatee Golf Course


• Accommodations •

www.bradleyspumpkin Take in a show. Bowen Center for the Arts presents performing and visual arts events and classes throughout the year. The Center houses three galleries and a gift shop. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 12-4 p.m. Saturday. Free admission. 334 Hwy. 9 N., Dawsonville, 706-216-2787, Play in the hay and marvel at the giant pumpkins. Burt’s Farm grows thousands of pumpkins up to 150 pounds, plus gourds, popcorn and more. Hayrides available September through November. Burt’s store features food items made by the Burt’s Farm family. Open September and October, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and through the second weekend in November, 9 a.m.-p.m. 4801 Hwy. 52, Dawsonville, 706-2653701,

Accommodations From resorts to quaint mountain cabins, Dawson County has accommodations to welcome any visitor. Hotels/Motels Best Western 76 North Georgia Ave. Dawsonville 706-216-4410 Comfort Inn 127 Beartooth Pkwy. Dawsonville 706-216-1900

Super 8 Motel 205 N. 400 Center Ln. Dawsonville 706-216-6801 Bed & Breakfast Lily Creek Lodge 2608 Auraria Rd. Dahlonega 706-864-6848 Len Foote Hike Inn 240 Amicalola Falls Rd. Dawsonville 706-867-6203

Tee off at Chestatee Golf Course, an 18-hole course designed by Denis Griffiths. Daily fees $59 to $89. 777 Dogwood Way, Dawsonville, 800-5208675, See exotic animals. Chestatee Wildlife Preserve houses more than 100 animals from

Dawson County Visitors Guide 2010

Len Foote Hike Inn

Lily Creek Lodge

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• Day Trips • Dahlonega (23 minutes) Strike gold in Dahlonega, the site of America’s first gold rush in 1829, 20 years before the California Gold Rush. Visit the Dahlonega Courthouse Gold Museum, tour gold mines and pan for gold. The Gold Rush Days festival the third weekend in October celebrates Dahlonega’s gold history with arts and crafts, entertainment, and food. For more information, call the Lumpkin County Visitors’ Center at 706864-3711 or visit www. Ellijay (40 minutes) Bite into a crisp, fresh apple or a sweet, gooey fried pie in Ellijay, the Apple Capital of Georgia. Several orchards can be found along Apple Orchard Alley, Hwy. 52 East, and their shops and other “apple houses” sell fried apple pies, cider, apple butter, and other delicious apple products.

Historic Helen


Ellijay Apple Store

The Georgia Apple Festival is held the second and third weekends of October in Ellijay. Hundreds of vendors sell apple-related items, arts and crafts, and, of course, apples. For more information, contact the Gilmer County Chamber of Commerce at 706635-7400 or visit www. Helen (54 minutes) Fill up on bratwurst and oom-pah music in Helen, Georgia’s Bavarian hideaway. Taste real German food, shop for authentic wooden shoes or hand-blown glass, and cool off tubing in the Chattahoochee River. Helen hosts several special events during the year, including the longest Oktoberfest in the South, held from mid-September through October, and a hot-air balloon festival the first weekend in June. For more information, contact the Helen Welcome Center at 800-858-8027 or visit

Dawson County Visitors Guide 2010

• Attractions • around the world, including rare Siberian white tigers. Open daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Adults $10, children 11 and under $5. Cash and check only. 469 Old Dahlonega Hwy., Dahlonega, Visit the Georgia Outback at the Kangaroo Conservation Center with the largest collection of kangaroos outside Australia. Visit www.kangaroo for visitor options, schedules and current prices. 222 Bailey Waters Rd., Dawsonville, 706-265-6100 Jump on the wagon! Forrest Hills Mountain Resort Dinner Wagon Ride features a horse-drawn wagon ride through the mountains, dinner cooked on the grill, bonfire, live entertainment and more. $50 per person. 135 Forrest Hills Rd., Dahlonega, 800-654-6313, Ride the trails. Laurel Ridge Farms offers guided trail rides and riding lessons. Trail rides are $40 per person for one hour, $50 for two hours. 7768 Elliott Family Pkwy., Dawsonville, 678-283-1741, Don’t miss the Old Courthouse, built in 1859, located on the Dawsonville

Kangaroo Conservation Center

square. This is the oldest working courthouse in the state and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tour old prison cells and former living quarters of the county sheriff at The Old Jail, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1881, it houses the Dawson County Welcome Center and Chamber of Commerce. Located just off the Dawsonville square. 706-265-6278. Get lost (temporarily) in Uncle Shuck’s Corn Maze, a 12-acre cornfield with 4 miles of trails. In October, the Haunted Maze takes visitors through the labyrinth at night. Uncle Shuck’s carries a variety of pumpkins, gourds and Indian corn. Corn Maze $9, Haunted Maze $12, Hayrides $5. Combo prices available. Children under 3 are free. Open Labor Day through the third weekend in November. 4525 Hwy. 53 E., Dawsonville, 888-OSHUCKS, www.

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• Hiking •

• Day Trips • Babyland General Hospital

Hiking in Dawson County Dawson County has enough hiking trails to wear out several pairs of boots. Below is just a sampling of our many wonderful trails.

Amicalola Falls State Park - 418 Amicalola Falls State Park Rd., Dawsonville • Creek Trail - .6 miles runs from Visitor Center to the Reflection Pool at the base of the falls.

Hike right up to Amicalola Falls


• Mountain Laurel Loop – 1 mile - runs along the ridge above Amicalola Creek. • Base of the Falls Trail – 1 mile - runs along the creek below the falls and climbs the falls corridor on a series of stairs. • Hike Inn Trail – 5.5 miles - is the only access to the Len Foote Hike Inn. Amicalola Riverside Nature Trail begins at the Hwy. 53 bridge over Amicalola River. Trail is ADA-compliant and the whole trail is handicap accessible. This trail provides easy river access and a view of the Edge of the World Rapids and has a fishing platform. The Appalachian Trail begins 8 miles north of Amicalola Falls on Springer Mountain. The A.T. stretches nearly

Dawson County Visitors Guide 2010

Day Trips There are several other exciting destinations within driving distance of Dawson County. Visit our neighbors for even more North Georgia fun, then come home to Dawsonville for a restful night’s sleep.

Brasstown Bald (1 hour, 25 minutes) See four states – Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina – on clear days

Brasstown Bald

from the 360-degree view atop Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s highest peak at 4,784 feet. The Visitor Information Center is open Memorial Day through mid-November. For more information, call the visitor center at 706-896-2556, the Blue Ridge Ranger district at 706-745-6928 or visit Cleveland (41 minutes) Adopt a “baby” in Cleveland, home to BabyLand General Hospital, the birthplace of the Cabbage Patch Kids. BabyLand General Hospital is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., except certain holidays. Free admission. 300 NOK Dr., Cleveland. For more information, call 706865-2171 or visit www.

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• Hiking •

• Dining •

Dining in Dawson Dining options in Dawson County are as varied as our population. Whether you find yourself traveling our winding country roads or speeding down GA 400, you are never more than a minute away from whatever it is you crave. For a true taste of the South, get your fingers greasy with some handpulled barbeque at Big D’s Barbeque. Got a taste for something a little more Continental? Savor the duck liver mousse or escargots at The Blue Bicycle, Dawsonville’s

Gourmet Treasures


favorite French bistro. Try Kobe beef meatloaf or house-smoked Georgia trout dip at Appalachia Grill, which features a seasonal menu and boasts house-made sauces, dressings, and desserts. Claim bragging rights for your chopstick skills at the artfully designed Kani House Japanese Restaurant. The Maple Restaurant at Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge serves buffet-style meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Restaurant guests enjoy a spectacular view of the North Georgia Mountains from the glass-walled dining room. For a complete list of Dawson County’s dining establishments, call the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce at 706-265-6278 or visit

Dawson County Visitors Guide 2010

2,200 miles through 14 states. It is accessible by an 8.3-mile approach trail leading from Amicalola Falls State Park. Dawson Forest Wildlife Management AreaEastern Wildcat Tract • Wildcat Creek Trail – 1.5 miles one way follows Wildcat Creek through the mostly flat valley. To reach the trailhead, take Steve Tate Road north. Pass Pleasant Union Baptist Church. Turn left on Wildcat Campground Road. The road deadends at a kiosk with trail information on the three area trails.

Hikers from around the country come to hike the Appalachian Trail

• Turner Trail – 1.7 miles one way - provides access to the upper Wildcat Creek area. Trailhead is located at the Steve Tate Road bridge across Amicalola River. • Windy Ridge Trail – 1.6 miles one way begins at mile 1 on the

Turner Trail and is a fairly strenuous hike to the summit of a 2,500foot ridge. Connect to the Rocky Ford Trail to see the Rocky Ford Creek Waterfall. Dawson Forest Wildlife Management AreaWestern Wildcat Tract From GA 400, take Hwy. 136 west to the county line. Turn south on Monument Road. Go 3 miles to the trailhead and information kiosk. These trails are very strenuous. • Tobacco Pouch Trail – 2 miles one way - follows an old logging road. • Fall Creek Trail – 3.3 miles one way - is reached by following Tobacco Pouch Trail to Fall Creek Trail. Hiking along the creek leads to Falls Creek Falls. • Rocky Ford Trail – 1.7 miles one way - starts 1.2 miles down Tobacco Pouch Trail. Rocky Ford Creek Waterfall is located off the trail, 25 feet east of the junction with Windy Ridge Trail.

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• Biking •

Biking in Dawson County Dawson County is a biker’s paradise with trails for all skill levels. Dawson Forest City of Atlanta Tract The Dawson Forest City of Atlanta Tract, originally the site of a proposed Atlanta airport, is now a popular recreational area with hiking, biking and horseback riding trails that crisscross the entire 10,130 acres. Six designated biking trails start at the trailhead on Dawson Forest Road. • Blue Trail – 9.4 miles – moderate - travels ridges, valleys and crosses the Etowah River and small creeks. • Orange Trail – 6.5 miles – moderate - offers lots of shade in summer. • Red Trail – 6.7 miles – moderate - various ridges and creek crossings.


• Pink Trail – 1.5 mileseasy - crosses some small creeks. • Green Trail – 1.4 miles – moderate - provides access to the Etowah River and Barefoot Falls. • Yellow Trail - 0.82 mile – easy - gravel road through the forest. From GA 400: Go west on Dawson Forest Road south of North Georgia Premium Outlets. Travel 4.5 miles to the forest’s south gate. Parking and information kiosk are on the right. Daily permits are $5 per rider, available at the trailhead. No charge for hikers. Call the Georgia Forestry Commission at 706-265-3707. Visit Northstar Bicycle (706-265-4397) or Pearl Izumi Factory Store (706265-6929) for biking apparel and accessories.

Dawson County Visitors Guide 2010

• Shopping •



For a productive and fun shopping day, head to Dawsonville, North Georgia’s shopping hub. Here shoppers will find everything from sporting goods to high-end brand names all within minutes of each other. Thrill the kids at Lollipop Toy Store, pick up a good book at Cover to Cover Used Books, and if you’ve bought so much you can’t fit it all in your trunk, stop by North Georgia Trailer Center to get something big enough to carry all that new loot home! North Georgia Premium Outlets The shopping spot every visitor must experience is North Georgia Premium Outlets, located on GA 400 just south of Hwy. 53. North Georgia Premium Outlets is a vacation destination in itself, as evi-

denced by the many different foreign languages you’ll hear on its sidewalks. Here you’ll find 140 premium outlets including Coach, Lucky Brand, Michael Kors, Coldwater Creek, Harry & David, Guess, Le Creuset, Williams-Sonoma, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Brooks Brothers Factory Store, and more. A playground and ATMs are available on site. Open seven days a week. Group tour discounts are available. North Georgia Premium Outlets 800 Hwy. 400 S. Dawsonville, GA 30534 706-216-3609 www.premium

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• Racing •

• Paddling • Georgia Racing Hall of Fame

Racing in Dawson County Booze and racecars don’t sound like two things that go together very well, but in fact, it was one that gave birth to the other. From Prohibition through the 1950s, Dawsonville had a reputation for fast cars and faster drivers. Bootleggers who began their careers with whiskey-loaded hot rods, outran the federal “revenuers” as they raced down Hwy. 9 to deliver moonshine to Atlanta. Many of those same drivers who honed their skills on “thunder road” changed careers with the changing times and stock car racing was born. Dawsonville Pool Room Owned by Gordon Pirkle, the Dawsonville Pool Room’s collection of Bill Elliott and bootlegging memorabilia


is sure to keep guests entertained long after they’ve finished their famous Bully Burgers and fresh-cut fries. 78 E. First St., 706-265-2792 Georgia Racing Hall of Fame The Georgia Racing Hall of Fame houses an impressive assortment of racing memorabilia, including the first NASCAR racecar driven by Bill Elliott, better known as “Awesome Bill From Dawsonville.” Also on site are moonshine cars, a car driven by Bill Elliott’s nephew, the late Casey Elliott, Raymond Parks’ car, and Gober Sosebee’s 1939 Ford. The Saturday Night Drive-In Theatre film explores the evolution of stock car racing. 415 Hwy. 53 E., Dawsonville, 706-265-3256, www.

Dawson County Visitors Guide 2010

Dawson County Welcome to Dawson County. With thousands of acres of forest and miles of trails, we are a true haven for outdoor adventure.

Dawson County’s Wild Water From smooth sailing to white-knuckle adventure, Dawson County’s two major rivers offer a range of canoeing, kayaking, and rafting possibilities. Amicalola River The Amicalola is Dawson’s County’s premier whitewater river. The upper Amicalola’s rapids range from Class II to Class IV. The river runs swiftly through a forested valley, with a series of ledges and falls guaranteed to excite any boater. The Lower Amicalola has Class II-IV+ rapids including the Edge of the World Rapids.

Paddling Etowah River The upper Etowah is a swift-flowing stream with mostly small, manageable rapids. Etowah Falls stretches nearly river-wide and drops more than 10 feet. Past the falls, an old tunnel bored through the river rock provides a few hundred yards of mysterious adventure. The lower Etowah, flows mostly through Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area. Lake Lanier, on Dawson County’s eastern border, is the perfect location for smooth-water canoeing and kayaking. The Outdoor World sells canoes, kayaks, whitewater boats and accessories. Certified whitewater instructors host guided excursions and teach lessons. 471 Quill Dr., Dawsonville, 706-265-4500, www.

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• Welcome • • • Outdoor Fun

• Maps •

More Outdoor Fun Fishing Dawson County attracts anglers from all over the Southeast. Trout fishing is popular in the Amicalola River and area trout streams. Lake anglers hook largemouth bass, crappie, catfish and other popular species in area ponds and lakes and in Lake Lanier. Geocaching “Cache” in on the fun. Families and groups love to find the hidden containers (or “caches”), using a handheld GPS unit. Visit www.geo for a full list of Dawson County caches and explore areas that few visitors ever see. Horseback Riding Clip-clop through Dawson Forest WMA’s miles of single track backroads and horseback trails.


• Laurel Ridge Farms – 706-265-7795, www. • Gold City Corral – 706-867-9395, www. Bird Watching From high country to lowlands, the Dawson Forest WMA is a birder’s paradise. • City of Atlanta Tract Primarily river bottoms rising to low mountain ridges, sees annual migrations of geese, mallards, wood ducks, and other colorful species. Also home to neotropical warblers, tanagers, orioles, and grosbeaks. Cranes, herons, kites and gulls are seen along streams. • Northern Wildcat Tract - Home to ruffed grouse, pileated woodpeckers, eagles, and songbirds during breeding, migration.

Dawson County Visitors Guide 2010

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• Welcome • Maps • •

• Waterfalls • Amicalola Falls

Dawson County Amicalola Falls The stunning, 729-foot waterfall was named Amicalola, meaning “tumbling waters” in Cherokee. Several viewing spots are easily accessible. 418 Amicalola Falls State Park Rd., Dawsonville, 706265-4703, www.gastate Edge of the World Rapids This Class IV rapids appears to fall off the “edge of the world” when seen from an approaching canoe. To view the rapids, take the Amicalola Scenic River Trail ½ mile downstream. Trailhead is beneath the Hwy. 53 bridge across the Amicalola, 6 miles west of Dawsonville. Fall Creek Falls Fall Creek Falls is a set of four waterfalls. Follow Hwy. 136 to the Dawson/Pickens


Dawson County Visitors Guide 2010

Waterfalls county line. Turn south on Monument Road. The trailhead is 3 miles on the left at the kiosk. Take Tobacco Pouch Trail 0.3 miles to the junction with Fall Creek Trail, then go 3.3 miles. Cochrans Falls Cochrans Falls cascades 600 feet vertically, descending from Frosty Mountain. Go west on GA 52 from Dahlonega 14.5 miles to the 2nd entrance for Wesley Chapel Rd. just inside Dawson County. Turn right on Wesley Chapel, then left on Dan Fowler Rd. Go 1.2 miles, turn left on Blackhawk Rd. and go about 2 miles. Disharoon Creek, Big Canoe Scenic jeep trail passes near upper and lower falls on Disharoon Creek. NOTE: Big Canoe is a gated community.

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• Maps •


Dawson County Visitors Guide 2010

• Maps •

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Dawson County Chamber of Commerce and CVB