ROAD TRIP TO: Clarkesville & Scenic Hwy 197

From Atlanta, GA – 85 mi
From Chattanooga, TN – 140 mi
From Asheville, NC – 112 mi
From Greenville, SC – 88 mi

Drive to the quaint city of Clarkesville and discover one of the most historic towns in northeast Georgia. Back in the early 1800’s, travelers got to the city by stagecoach and then tourists came by railroad .  The neighboring Tallulah Falls which was known for its spectacular waterfalls increased the area’s popularity as a summer destination.   At one time, the historic city was lined with hotels, which has now been replaced with quaint shops, galleries and restaurants for visitors.

Travel just down the road to  Scenic Hwy.197  and you will soon be on the off beaten path that winds by the Soque River.

The area has become “ A Must Destination” for viewing numerous galleries, fishing, lodging, and leading the way to Lake Burton and Moccasin Creek State Park.


Mauldin House – at the corner of E. Waters & Jefferson Street.  This large Victorian cottage and adjacent millinery shop date from the late nineteenth century.  It serves as Clarkesville’s Welcome Center and the beginning of a walking tour of the Greek, Gothic, Victorian, & Plantation style homes in this beautiful historical district.

Grace Calvary Episcopal Church   – built in 1842.  The building features over 42 hand-blown glass windows, straight-backed box pews, and a pipe organ which is the oldest working church instrument in Georgia.

The Gloaming Cottage  – was built in 1840 by Jarvis Van Buren, the first cousin of President Martin Van Buren, as his personal residence.  Included in the projects that he built in 1848 is the First Presbyterian Church on N. Washington Street.

Scenic Hwy 197

Sam Pitts Park  – beside the beautiful Soque River for walking trails, picnic, and playground.

Soque River – This winding drive follows the unique tributary of the Chattahoochee River and is over 28 miles long. Use caution as you travel, as at one point on Scenic 197 there will be a dip in the road (clearly marked by a road sign) where the river can  flow over the road, this is humorously known as a “Low Bridge”.  Many trout fisherman love this watershed, as the Soque River‘s cold temperatures are the secret to the large Rainbow, Brook, & Brown trout that inhabit it.

Batesville – has a General Store numerous galleries of regional handmade arts and crafts. Mark of the Potter is a scenic and historic grist mill was built in the 1930’s and is a must photo stop for the beautiful 25 foot falls from the Soque River that flow beside it.  Potters make their “mark” on the store and feature handcrafted pottery.  Many more local artists and stores are a must stop including: Hickory Flat Pottery,  Burton Gallery, stained glass, and other handcrafted artwork studios.

Lake Burton – This 2,775-acre reservoir and is one of the first lakes created to generate hydroelectric energy by Georgia Power.   Lake Burton’s name was derived from the former town of  Burton, which now lies below the lake’s surface. The town (and the lake) was named after local prominent citizen Jeremiah Burton. Many species of fish,  call this home, including bass, crappie, bluegill, sunfish, catfish, walleye, trout, and perch.

Moccasin Creek State Park  & Lake Burton Fish Hatchery  – Camp at one of Rabun Counties most popular State Parks on the shores of Lake Burton.  The park is relatively flat, offering easy navigation for large RVs, bicycles and wheelchairs and offers a fishing pier that sits above a trout-filled creek.  Lake Burton Fish Hatchery offers tours and  raises trout to stock for cold-water streams of North Georgia.

Hemlock Falls Trail – A two-mile trail begins just south to the entrance of Moccasin Creek State Park.  The trail is relatively easy and follows a stream where many small waterfalls are created by branches.  The trail leads to a wooden bridge that crosses the river where you continue a few feet to see Hemlock Falls.