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Hiking The Wilderness Trails Near Helen, GA

 

Beautiful North Georgia is a landscape full of wooded peaks beckoning visitors for a hiking adventure. When you chose to stay at a cabin on your North Georgia getaway, you have many hiking choices right outside your door. Are you hoping for a leisurely afternoon hike or a trail that requires more skill and stamina? No matter what kind of hike you're looking for the mountains near Helen can provide you an outdoor adventure.  

Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail begins in Georgia at Springer Mountain and continues north through the Carolinas, Mid-Atlantic States, the Northeast and ends in Maine. In North Georgia there are a variety of opportunities for you to go hiking. Helen hosts a plethora of wilderness trails, closeby, for hiking and mountain climbing excursions alike. The Andrews Cove Trail is a moderate two mile hike that follows an old logging road through Andrews Cove to the Appalachian Trail. The trail is populated by dogwoods which makes it immensely beautiful in April and May as the trees are in bloom. You can turn back at this point for a quick hike or you can continue on to the Indian Grave Gap Hike. This hike is more of a challenge and covers a 5.5 mile section of the Appalachian Trail. The first mile of the trail covers nearly 1,000 feet and ends atop Rocky Mountain. The views from the top are amazing and as you pass through Indian Grave Gap you'll understand the somber nature of the stacked rock piles designating the graves of Cherokee Indians buried near the trail. 

If you're hoping to backpack for a night on your mountain vacation, consider the 14 mile hike from Blood Mountain to Cowrock Mountain along the Appalachian Trail. Access is at the Byron Reece Trail on GA Highway 19, north of Cleveland. This is an ideal hike for an overnight adventure and provides some of the most pristine mountain vistas in all of North Georgia.

raven cliff falls in north georgiaRaven Cliff Falls Trail

Looking for a challenging waterfall trail for hiking? Helen is a great starting point for the Raven Cliff Falls Trail. Situated northwest of Helen this trail follows Dodd Creek through the Raven Cliff Wilderness Area. This is an out and back trail with the turn around 2.5 miles from the trail head. A total of five miles of hiking is highlighted by an abundance of bird life, beautiful expanses of wild flowers, and the Raven Cliff Falls at the turn around point. As you approach the Cliffs you'll first notice the noise before you actually can see the waterfall. The water flow is heaviest in the Spring months but the unique shape of the rocks produces strong falls through the year.

High Shoals Waterfall

Following a series of waterfalls, this hike is a popular, easy hike in the Chattahoochee Forest. At only 2.6 miles this short hike is perfect to pair with a longer hike or a great way to spend a morning on your North Georgia vacation. There are viewing platforms at various places along the trail so you can stop and enjoy the majesty of the waterfalls. Access to the trail is off of Forest Road 283 near Unicoi Road; not far from many of the cabin rentals in Helen.

Unicoi State Park

Located just outside of town, Unicoi State Park is home to several different hiking and mountain climbing trails. This variety ensures that there is the perfect hike for every visitor. The Frog Pond Nature Trail is a 1/3 mile loop and is perfect for beginning hikers or families unicoi state park and trailswith small children. The Lake Trail is longer but is mostly flat and is a great hike for viewing leaves in the fall. The Unicoi/Helen Trail is the most difficult hike at three miles one way.  

Hiking Safety and Etiquette

Completing a hike  is an incredible experience. As a visitor to the trails please follow basic safety and etiquette guidelines to ensure you're doing your part to maintain the majestic outdoors.

  • Always stay on the trail. Be careful not to venture off into unmarked land and avoid shortcutting the switchbacks.  

  • Enjoy observing and photographing, but don't collect or pick up items you encounter.

  • Walk quietly and travel softly. Remember that this is a home for living creatures and as a hiker you are their visitor.

  • Bring along a litter bag to pack out meal scraps or other waste.

  • Visit the ranger station or visitor center at the trail head to learn about current trail conditions and updates.

  • Dress appropriately and wear proper hiking shoes. Bring extra layers with you in case of rain or changing weather conditions.

  • Bring your own water and make sure to pack a small first aid kit.

There are many different opportunities for hiking and mountain climbing in the mountains near Helen. Which of these hikes are you looking forward to on your next North Georgia vacation?

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