Alan Cressler, www.alancressler.com
The evening air was cozy and crisp. The sound of rushing water in the distance invited me to nap beneath the canopy of stars that were showing off above us. But the thousands of fireflies winking at me from amidst the trees were a colorful reminder that napping was not what I came here to do.
Anna Ruby Falls in northeast Georgia offers a unique and animated nighttime hiking experience every May and June. While our tour guides were certainly adept, the myriad of fireflies lighting up the trails tended to lead the way.
As I hiked the half mile to the falls, our guides introduced us to a beautiful phenomenon called foxfires–a certain fungi that live in the wood of decaying trees. When the sun goes down, these fungi emit a vibrant and glowing green light.
So there I was, hiking up to the falls, taking in the vibrant scenery of fireflies dancing throughout the woods and the glow of foxfires illuminating the path. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any more magical, the trees cleared and gave way to the cascading falls. As the water roared down into the stream below me, I looked up at a sky full of stars that seemed to be nodding their approval of this quiet little spot on Georgia’s map.
Anna Ruby Falls only offers this nighttime hike experience on Thursday evenings. Because of high interest in the hike, registration is required. Call Anna Ruby Falls’ tour guide, David, at 706-878-1448 to secure a spot.
Where to stay:
Anna Ruby Falls is located within Unicoi State Park, which provides various accommodation options such as campsites, lodge rooms, or cottages. I opted for a room within Unicoi State Park and Lodge, which was the perfect spot for me to rest my head after the hike. Bright and early the next morning, I awoke to a stunning view of the valley and mountains within the park. And before hitting the road back to Atlanta, I made sure to spoil myself at the breakfast buffet.