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One Tank Trips: DeSoto Falls Recreation Area
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- WHAT: DeSoto Falls Recreation Area


- WHAT'S THERE: Camping, hiking, picnic grounds

- GETTING THERE: Take Ga. Highway 81 north to Loganville, then Ga. Highway 20 north to Buford. Take Interstate 85 to Gainesville, then U.S. Highway 129 north toward Blairsville. Watch for the sign on the left; it's about 100 miles


A short walk through the woods will reward you with two cool waterfall views at DeSoto Falls Recreation Area north of Cleveland.

A sign at the trailhead says that the area gets its name from a local legend of Spanish armor being found in Frogtown Creek at the falls. The armor was said to be from the expedition of Hernando DeSoto, who crossed through the area in the 1500s.

The trail starts in a National Forest Service campground. Turn left and follow the creek downstream to the lower falls, or go right and walk up the creek to the upper falls. The trail runs across from the campground for much of the walk to the upper falls. It’s a short, easy walk either way.

The day-use parking lot is south of the campground. Bring your lunch and sit out at the picnic tables beside the creek after your walk. Charcoal grills are there for a cookout and there’s a restroom, too. The day-use fee is $3.

The campground is popular, especially in the fall, and costs $12 a night. There are 24 campsites and the shower house has hot water.