Situated in a picturesque cove along the slow-rolling Chattahoochee River in Sandy Springs, Morgan Falls Overlook Park is a haven for outdoor lovers. The riverside park provides a buffet of outdoor adventures all year long, from picnicking and fishing to paddleboard yoga. Originally opened to the public in 2010, the 30-acre park is loaded with thoughtful amenities that cater to visitors of all ages and abilities. It has easy access to the Chattahoochee River for anglers and paddlers, picturesque picnic tables and porch swings, an artfully-designed playground, and a leafy hiking trail.
Here’s everything you need to know about what you can do on your next visit to Morgan Falls Overlook Park.
Spend Time on the Water
The park offers easy access to the spectacular Chattahoochee River and has on-the-water options for anglers and paddlers of all levels. Above the Morgan Falls Dam, the river slows and broadens, forming the tranquil expanse of water dubbed Bull Sluice Lake. Since there is no current to contend with, it’s the perfect paddling spot for a calmer outing. It’s ideal for family fishing trips or novice paddleboarders still perfecting the art of balance.
Part of the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area, this portion of waterway was designated as the Chattahoochee River Water Trail in 2012 and was the first national water trail in the country. It’s composed of Class I and II rapids and depending on the weather can sometimes bump to Class III.
Competitive paddlers can enjoy the annual Stand-Up for the Hooch Race, a competition hosted by High Country Outfitters. It draws paddleboarding enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels to participate in a two mile or six mile race.
For visitors to Morgan Falls Overlook Park, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) are seasonally available for rent from The High Country Paddle Shack (between April and October). The waterside outfitter also offers in-depth SUP demonstrations that showcase the latest gear and seasonal SUP Yoga Classes.
Enjoy Family-Friendly Adventures
From family-friendly paddling trips to riverside hikes that are perfect for young naturalists, Morgan Falls Overlook Park is loaded with kid-friendly adventures. The park’s 0.75-mile trail is ideal for young hikers, and provides plenty of opportunity to spot seasonal wildflowers and vociferous songbirds in the tulip poplar and white oak trees. For youngsters with energy to burn, the park’s state-of-the-art playground is loaded with engaging features, including slides, swings, climbing structures, and a massive rope web. The strategically-shaded playground also offers plenty of seating for parents and features a turf base, so there’s never a muddy mess. The park also provides picturesque picnic tables and conveniently-located restrooms.
Of course, the park is also an idyllic getaway for four-legged family members as well, and there’s plenty for trail-loving hounds to explore. For water-loving pups, The Paddle Shack allows polite pooches to ride along on kayak or SUP adventures down the Chattahoochee River. For the ultimate doggie day out, gregarious pups can head to the fully-fenced dog park at the Morgan Falls River Park, located less than a half-mile from Morgan Falls Overlook Park. If you are bringing your four-legged best friend, please make sure to follow park protocol and keep your dog on leash.
Cast a Line in Paradise
The southernmost trout stream in the country, the Chattahoochee River is annually-stocked and renowned for harboring a variety of trout. It’s not just the trout that lure anglers to its waters. The waterway also sustains 23 species of game fish, and offers anglers a chance to hook yellow perch, channel catfish, bass, and bream. Not only does the park provide easy access for fishing trips by kayak or canoe, but also offers plenty of secluded areas along its nearly 30 acres edging the river for anglers preferring to cast from the shoreline.
Birders and wildlife enthusiasts, rejoice! Home to everything from songbirds to waterbirds, the park is a hotspot for avifauna, and birdwatchers have the chance to spy a number of species, including belted kingfishers, American goldfinches, red-tailed hawks, and even bald eagles. The slender, secluded arteries feeding Bull Sluice Lake provide the perfect opportunity to hide out and watch the river for dive-bombing osprey and leggy blue heron trolling the shallows.
Creatures like white-tailed deer, river otters, and box turtles can be spotted while paddling the Chattahoochee River or walking the park’s waterside trail.
Beyond outdoor adventure, the park also showcases the region’s rich history. The Chattahoochee River Valley was utilized by Native American populations for centuries, and before the arrival of Europeans, the waterway served as the natural boundary dividing Creek and Cherokee lands. During the early 1800s, the riverside location now designated as Morgan Falls Overlook Park was occupied by the Powers family. The stone chimney adorning the park was once part of the Powers family’s pioneering homestead, which dates back to the 1830s.
The park’s namesake falls are historic too. At the beginning of the 20th century, the electrical output generated by the Morgan Falls Dam was used to power the streetcars that served burgeoning city of Atlanta and fed the growing demand for electricity.
A Place to Gather with Family and Friends
With the Chattahoochee River as a backdrop, Morgan Falls Overlook Park is an idyllic place to celebrate any occasion from impromptu picnic dates to unforgettable family reunions. The park’s riverside picnic tables and panoramic porch swings provide the perfect setting for an al fresco lunch or brunch. For larger gatherings, the open-air pavilion accommodates up to 100 people, and has grills, picnic tables, and a massive outdoor fire pit with expansive river views.
Written by Malee Baker Oot for Matcha in partnership with Sandy Springs GA.
Please note that not all services may be available to the public due to COVID-19 and that Georgia is still under a Public Health State of Emergency until July 12, 2020. For more information on guidelines and closures, visit the COVID-19 resource page from the City of Sandy Springs.