|DeSoto Falls in Summer|
Actually a series of waterfalls along small streams that feed Frogtown Creek, DeSoto Falls gained their name after what was said to be a piece of Spanish armor was found there during the 1880s. The waterfalls were on the traditional route of the Hernando de Soto expedition of 1540 and it was logically assumed that the iron had been left behind by the Spanish conquistador.
While modern archaeologists don't put much stock in the claim, they also have never discredited it. In fact, no one really knows where the expedition crossed the mountains. A theory advanced during the 1980s by an anthropologist from the University of Georgia holds that the crossing took place far to the north in North Carolina. Recent archaeological discoveries in South Georgia, however, raise serious questions about his proposed route. Those discoveries have included 16th century Spanish artifacts like those found along known sections of the De Soto route, but far away from the path suggested in the 1980s.
In other words, Hernando de Soto might well have crossed west through Georgia and not hundreds of miles to the north. Or perhaps the crossing was somewhere in between. No one knows.
The story of the armor aside, DeSoto Falls is an absolutely beautiful place. Anglers fish for both native and stocked trout in Frogtown Creek as it flows through the recreation area and short hiking trails lead to observation platforms at two of the most picturesque falls.
To learn more about DeSoto Falls, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/gadesotofalls.