Twenty years before the 1849 gold rush in California, thousands of prospectors flocked into the Cherokee Nation in north Georgia, marking the true beginning of our country’s first gold rush. Dahlonega thrived and a U.S. Branch Mint opened in 1838, coining more than $6 million in gold before closing in 1861. Today, visitors can see a complete set of these rare coins, a nugget weighing more than five ounces, a large hydraulic cannon and nozzle used to blast soil from mountainsides, film and gift shop.
The beautiful Anna Ruby Falls are located in the Chattahoochee National Forest and are readily accessible with a little bit of hiking. The water cascading over the drop offs is created by two creeks. The Curtis Creek falls drop 153 feet and the York Creek falls are a much shorter but still spectacular 50 feet. The water at the bottom of the falls is then considered to be part of Smith Creek which flows into and forms Smith Lake – the centerpiece of Unicoi State Park.