WARNING: The RED trail goes through an area that is currently being harvested. There are no trail markers or blazes indicating the trail path through this area. Best to download the track from here and use it to make your way through.
I give this trail a 3 star rating because of the above issue and the fact that about 1/4 of the trail is on forest roads.
Be sure to check out the pump house and old bridge footings that are remains of the old Georgia Nuclear Aircraft Laboratory.
If you remember this as a nice trail through the woods that trail has been destroyed by deforestation. 50% of the trail has been logged and all trees knocked down. Don't waste your time with this trail if you want a walk in the woods. Go to the falls and take the trail behind the ranger station to the top.
After making my way from the visitor center, I walked up the first flight of winding steps to the bridge overlook, midway down the falls. There were plenty of cascades and vegetation on my ascent. After photographing the falls, I went up another (slightly steeper) set of stairs to the top of the falls overlook.
If you'd rather, you can take the car up the road to the top of the falls- But, that's not as fun.
The Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area has an extensive horse, bike, and hiking trail network consisting of a waterfall along the Etowah river, an abundant of wildlife, and a well marked trail system.
While the area itself is a fantastically thought out and efforted stretch of land, maintenance and cleanliness are a real issue here. On the day of my hike, I saw many, many Bud Light cans on and along the trail. There was also a strong sense of a manufactured experience here.
I have to mention the horses. They're everywhere, but all of the riders I met were very pleasant and friendly. It's the horse shit that you should keep your eyes on. It's also everywhere.
Besides the shit, the gun range on the edge of the area was a pretty constant downer. All. Day.
We did see a crane, a deer, and a pretty gnarly black snake. It was pretty and an all right experience, but I won't be coming back here.