11 Fantastic Hiking Trails in Helen, Georgia

Helen, located along the Chattahoochee River in North Georgia, is known for its picturesque alpine village feel and beautiful scenery. Although the town is relatively small, it attracts tourists from all over to experience a taste of Bavaria in the southern Appalachians.

Downtown Helen, Georgia (Photo Credit)

11 Hiking Trails near Helen, Georgia

Suppose you’re looking for an active, outdoorsy mountain getaway with plenty of room to roam, waterfalls, and stunning views. In that case, plan a trip or weekend getaway to Helen because this is a great destination.

The hiking trails around Helen are famous for their beauty and the opportunity to see some of the region’s natural wonders, including several waterfalls.

There are many state parks, mountains, trails, and waterfalls. Most of them are within a 15 to 20-mile radius.

We’ve got you covered if you’re looking for a beautiful waterfall or scenic trail to explore near Helen, Georgia. Here are 11 of the best options, ranging from shorter hikes that are perfect for a quick excursion to longer treks that make for a tremendous full-day adventure.

1. Anna Ruby Falls

15 Minute Drive from Helen

Anna Ruby Falls is a waterfall located in Helen, Georgia. The falls drop 168 feet which is impressive! It’s a really short hike along Smith Creek from the visitor center.

Anna Ruby Falls Visitor Center: 3455 Anna Ruby Falls Rd, Helen, GA 30545

Anna Ruby Falls

2. Raven Cliff Falls

15 Minute Drive from Helen

Another short drive from Helen, this hike is a beautiful trail in the Chattahoochee National Forest! It’s not a 1.5-mile hike as suggested- it’s further and more challenging. Wear great shoes and give yourself at least 4 hours to go in and make it back out before dark – you’ll be totally worth it!

The trail follows the river for most of the way, so you’ll see the river and beautiful waterfalls below before reaching the final waterfall.

Raven Cliffs Trailhead: 3000 Richard B Russell Scenic Hwy, Helen, GA 30545

Raven Cliff Falls Trail (Photo Credit)

3. Dukes Creek Falls

10 Minute Drive from Helen

The hike to Dukes Creek Falls is definitely an adventure, but it’s one that’s well worth taking! Near the falls, several large platforms offer breathtaking views of the main attraction overhead–the 150-foot-tall drop of Dukes Creek Falls.

Unicoi State Park & Lodge Park Entrance & Parking: 1788 GA-356, Helen, GA 30545

4. Blood Mountain

35 Minute Drive from Helen

Blood Mountain is the sixth tallest mountain in Georgia. It’s one of many summits you can climb in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Bring plenty of water and small snacks because you’ll probably be hungry once you reach the top of the trail.

There are miles of trails to choose from in order to reach Blood Mountain. Several trails lead to the Blood Mountain loop trail, but the closest location to Helen is Byron Reece Trail at Neels Gap.

Byron Reece Trailhead: Byron Reece Memorial Trail, Blairsville, GA 30512

5. Yonah Mountain

11 Minute Drive from Helen

The Yonah Mountain trail is one of the most challenging hikes in the area but well worth the exercise. It’s a short 15-minute drive from Helen. If you’re able to hike to the top, you’ll be rewarded with great views of the North Georgia Mountains.

Mount Yonah Trailhead: GA-75, Cleveland, GA 30528

Yonah Mountain (Photo Credit)

6. DeSoto Falls

30 Minute Drive from Helen

This national park has well-maintained campsites and a creek through the property. The trail is easy to follow, and there are some inclines and stairs, but it’s definitely doable on a good day. It’s also beautiful, with two spectacular waterfalls to see. Bring $5 cash to pay for parking.

DeSoto Falls Recreation Area: 18365 US-129, Cleveland, GA 30528

7. High Shoals Falls and Blue Hole Halls

30 Minute Drive from Helen

The High Shoals Falls Trail follows the creek valley through a lush, mossy area to one of Georgia’s most beautiful waterfalls. The trail also has some prime backpacking campsites if you’d like to spend a night out in the mountains.

On this same trail, you can also see Blue Hole Falls, a smaller yet equally impressive waterfall.

High Shoals Trail Head: Indian Grave Gap Rd, Hiawassee, GA 30546

8. Hemlock Falls

32 Minute Drive from Helen

The main highlight of this hike is the magnificent waterfall at the end. The trail ends at a sheer cliff, and as you reach the falls, it cascades over in tendrils of whitewater into a clear pool below.

This Adventure follows Moccasin Creek upstream from Lake Burton to reach the waterfall. After plunging over the main attraction on this hike, the creek cascades through a rocky and boulder-filled valley framed by a lush green forest.

Hemlock Falls Trailhead: 59 Andersonville Ln, Clarkesville, GA 30523

9. Helton Creek Falls

The trail to these gorgeous waterfalls is really a short walk in the woods. These beautiful waterfalls are set in a secluded woodsy area with many rocks. You can even go swimming in the creek.

The trickiest part is driving there. It’s a narrow one-lane road with pull-offs to pass. Take Gainesville Highway to Helton Creek Road on your left–move slowly! The gravel road will become a dirt road but stay on it. Expect the drive to last about 20 minutes to get there if you’re driving slowly.

Helton Creek Falls Trail: 2641 Helton Creek Rd, Blairsville, GA 30512

10. Tray Mountain

37 Minute Drive from Helen

This hike is one of the most popular on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. It scales to the summit of Tray Mountain. This 5-mile route explores a valley terrain at the Indian Grave Gap before climbing a scenic ridge to the mountain’s summit.

Tray Mountain/Appachalian Trail: Tray Mountain Rd, Sautee Nacoochee, GA 30571

11. Brasstown Bald

46 Minute Drive from Helen

If you’re looking for a scenic drive, the Brasstown Bald Trail is a great option. It’s about 20 miles to drive to the Brasstown Bald Visitor Center from downtown Helen. You will drive along the Unicoi turnpike and then State Route 180.

The hike from the visitor center to the observation deck is about 1.4 miles but it’s steep and can take 45 minutes to an hour to climb. But you will be rewarded with the most breathtaking views!

Brasstown Bald Visitor Center: 2941 Highway 180 Spur Hiawassee, GA 30546

view of the mountains from Brasstown Bald

Conclusion: Hiking in Helen

The trails near Helen are well-maintained and offer plenty of scenic overlooks and natural features to explore in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Hiking is a great way to get outside and enjoy the natural beauty of Georgia. Helen is definitely worth exploring for anyone interested in an array of outdoor adventures including fantastic hikes, beautiful forests, campgrounds, waterfalls, zip lining, and river tubing.

Are there mountains in Helen, GA?

Near Helen in White County, the Blue Ridge Mountains offer a variety of outdoor activities, both on and off the beaten path. Visitors to Helen, Georgia can enjoy the surrounding mountains and available outdoor activities. The Blue Ridge Mountains run along the eastern border of Georgia, forming some of the highest peaks in the state. The ridges range from 1,600 to 4,700 feet in height.

How many days do you need in Helen, GA?

There are a variety of trails in Helen, GA, that hikers can take to enjoy the area’s natural beauty. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy maintains an extensive system of trails in the area, and hikers can explore these routes for various distances and purposes. Some trails are longer and more demanding than others, so it’s essential to consult a map or guidebook before hiking. A full day’s hike is typically about 16 miles, but some shorter hikes can be done in just a few hours.

How do I spend a day in Helen, GA?

There are a few ways to enjoy your day in Helen, Georgia. You can hike the many trails that ring the city and drive down Highway 541 to see the beautiful rolling hills of rural Georgia. Whatever you choose to do, take plenty of time for yourself and relax in this charming Southern town.

Is Helen, GA worth visiting?

Helen, Georgia, is a small town known for its annual Oktoberfest and nearby hiking trails. The trails are a great way to get out and enjoy the nature around you. There are many different trails to choose from, so there will be one that will fit your interests. The trails are also well-maintained, so you will not have to worry about them being in bad condition.

How big is Helen, GA?

Helen is a small town that’s only 2.09 square miles. The town is nestled in the Appalachian Mountains and has just over 500 people. If you’re looking for a peaceful place to spend some time, Helen is definitely the place to go.

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