This blog post is part of “YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE NORTH GEORGIA OUTDOORS” blog series.
Helen is host to a variety of activities, such as hiking and whitewater rafting, and is one of the most gorgeous wildernesses on the planet. If you're looking for some attractive places to enjoy some fresh air and relaxation, here are a few of the best of Georgia's Forests & State Parks in the area.
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4 Breathtaking Leaf Changing Views
What's more beautiful than the changing of the leaves in the north Georgia mountains?
Although Helen is known for its beautiful scenery throughout the entire year, autumn is a particularly special time. As the familiar greens of the trees begin to transform into brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow, tourists flock to the area for the chance to take in the fabulous views. Of course, during your visit, you'll have the luxury of enjoying the leaves from the porch or expansive windows of your vacation cabin. Also, there are plenty of hot spots in and around Helen, where you can take in the sights and capture some truly incredible pictures. To help you plan your trip, we've compiled this list of 4 of the best places to go to see the fall foliage during your trip to Helen this fall.
1. Unicoi State Park
Unicoi State Park and Anna Ruby Falls are located just a stone's throw from our luxury cabin rentals and the heart of downtown Helen. Unicoi State Park is famed for its beautiful lake and, of course, Anna Ruby Falls. These sights are worth seeing no matter when you choose to visit the area, but they take on a whole new appearance during the fall season. One of the most popular hikes during the end of September and through October is the 2.5 mile Lake Trail. This path offers a relatively easy hike and affords magnificent views of Unicoi Lake, the mountains, and the trees. You'll notice the breathtaking reflection of the colorful leaves across the waters, and will be able to see an array of red and orange trees for miles. You may also enjoy hiking to the park from Helen and back on the Unicoi/Helen trail. And you will not want to leave the park without making the easy trek to view the twin falls. From the viewing platform, you can capture beautiful pictures of the cascades framed by northern Georgia's fall foliage.
A high number of visitors are attracted every year to the miles of natural beauty at this park, conveniently located very close to Helen, Georgia. Standing out among the crowd of Georgia's Forest & State Parks, you will find many attractions and amenities:
Anna Ruby Falls - These falls are a real sight to behold. Accessible by a half-mile trail the twin waterfalls that comprise Anna Ruby Falls are created where two creeks meet, Curtis Creek and York Creek. Curtis Creek plunges one hundred and fifty feet, and York Creek drops fifty. Together they form Smith Creek which flows into Unicoi Lake. Situated in the Chattahoochee National Forest, the sixteen hundred acres around Anna Ruby Falls has been designated the Anna Ruby Falls Scenic Area. This is a great place to take family members or a significant other for some quality time and photo opportunities.
Smith Lake - This is the park's real gem. In addition to swimming and fishing, you can visit a small cove where you will find a beach house, picnic tables, and pedal boat and canoe rentals.
Hiking - Miles of short and long hiking and biking paths are found in the park, including a seven-mile mountain bike trail. As a bonus, your experience will change with each season.
Picnic Areas - Here, you will find not one, not two, but eight different picnic sites scattered around the park, from above the beach to just off the main road. Reservations can also be made in advance for small family get-togethers or large parties.
Camping - In the northeastern section of the park, you will discover several camping opportunities. Whether you have an RV or a simple tent, there's a place for everyone.
2. Smithgall Woods State Park
Enjoy hiking, fishing, and hunting amongst the colorful leaves at Helen's own Smithgall Woods State Park. This park protects more than 6,000 acres of land surrounding Duke's creek with plenty of spots for observing nature, getting some exercise, and even picnicking along the creek. Ash Creek Trail is an excellent pick for viewing the fall foliage. The 1.5-mile, one-way trail exposes hikers to a vast expanse of the Georgia woodlands and takes visitors across the creek where the colors are reflected. Martin's Mine Trail is also very popular, as it features a picturesque wooden bridge and a vertical shaft that is a remnant of the gold mining era. This makes for a unique habitat for bats. As the sun begins to set, you can spot these critters in flight through the changing trees.
Also very popular among Georgia's Forest & State Parks, Smithgall is home to a wide variety of attractions and things to do.
- Trout Fishing - Intended for pure enjoyment, visitors can partake in a "catch and release" fishing extravaganza; but don't forget your Georgia fishing license.
- Hiking and Bicycling - Enjoy an amazing 23 miles of trails for hikers and bikers alike.
- Guided Tours - If you really want to make the most out of your visit, a guided tour is the way to go. You'll not only see the beautiful scenery that the park has to offer, but you're also bound to learn something, too.
- Picnicking - Grab your basket, some cold fried chicken, and your favorite potato chips, and languish in the tranquility of the gorgeous state park.
The picturesque Dukes Creek which Southern Living Magazine called the holiest of holies in Georgia trout catching circles flows through the beautiful mountain retreat known as the Smithgall Woods State Park that boasts five miles of scenic trails and eighteen miles of roadways that allow visitors of cabins in GA plenty of photo opportunities among the mountain streams and wildlife. It is a site for making memories and is not to be missed.
3. Brasstown Bald
Want to experience autumn from a spot on top of the world? If so, you definitely want to plan a journey to the peak of Brasstown Bald - the highest point in the entire state. Even the trip to the summit is worth the effort. As you approach Brasstown Bald, you'll drive along the Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway which is lined with beautiful trees. When you reach the parking lot, you'll notice picnic facilities so you can enjoy the sights and crisp fall air while you fuel up for your hike to the top. If you prefer to ride, trams are available for a fee. Standing on the peak, half a mile above the valley's below, you'll view a sea of red, orange, and yellow leaves reaching beyond the edges of the horizon. During especially clear autumn days, you might be able to see the tall buildings of the Atlanta skyline and get a three hundred and sixty-degree view into four different states Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
With a summit of 4,784 feet, Brasstown Bald is located along the upper Brasstown Creek. The area surrounding was initially inhabited by the Cherokee who called the mountain Enotah. Settlers that came to the area confused the Cherokee word Itse'yi (meaning New Green Place) with Untsaiyi, the word for brass.
Photo by Darrell Cassell on Unsplash
4. Tallulah Gorge State Park
Located just 29 miles northeast of Helen, Tallulah Gorge State Park houses one of the largest and most impressive canyons in all of the southeast. The north and south rim trails will afford visitors some of the most incredible views of the changing leaves. Both of these trails are easy to moderate in difficulty and take hikers along the rim of the gorge with several different scenic overlooks. From here, you'll be able to observe some of the parks gorgeous waterfalls, the damn, and peaceful pools: all highlighted by the colors of autumn. Keep in mind that autumn is a peak visitor's season. If you wish to hike at the bottom of the gorge, you need to arrive early since only 100 permits are distributed each day. To ensure that you are issued a permit, be sure to wear proper footwear.
Top Helen, GA Mountain Views
There comes a time when you need to take time off from the daily grind and escape. You need this break whether it's for a personal fishing trip, a family vacation, or a romantic getaway to grow closer to a loved one. The spirit of adventure and romance still exists in the mountains of North Georgia, and with all the comforts of home plus a little more, north Georgia cabin rentals offer just what you need to create your own memorable getaway with majestic views of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountain ranges.
Chalet in the Sky, by Cedar Creek Cabin Rentals
Book a Mountain View Cabin
Cedar Creek Cabin Rentals has several great cabins, with terrific mountain views. Click here to see those mountain view cabins. Enjoy the abundance of wildlife as you explore the area's trails and admire the natural waterfalls.
Find a Fisherman's Paradise in the Mountains
North Georgia cabin rentals have what fishing enthusiasts are looking for. If you are searching for a beautiful view of the mountains and a spectacular fishing experience, stay at Fisherman's Paradise on the Toccoa River, one of the most popular destinations for trout fishing in the state. Fishermen can cast their lines for hooking an abundance of rainbow trout and brown trout. When not fishing or relishing the fresh mountain air, spend time soaking in the hot tub on the screened porch, watch movies on the satellite TV, or practice your pool or air-hockey skills.
Other Wonderful Scenic Views Around Helen, Georgia
Question: What does this north Georgia mountains area have that you would love to see? Answer: Everything! The north Georgia mountains region is bursting with beautiful scenery, friendly dining experiences, a healthy, growing wildlife population, and an exciting nightlife. No matter what an individual's thing is, they will be marvelously surprised at what is available.
Chattahoochee River Tubing or Water Slide
For the water sports lover, try the Chattahoochee water slide or plunking yourself down in a giant rubber tube and floating down the historical, magnificent Chattahoochee River. Helen, Georgia tubing establishments offer a one-hour or a two-and-a-half-hour float. The choices are for anybody, the beauty of the "Hooch" is for everybody.
The City of Helen, Georgia
One doesn't even have to leave the town of Helen to have a splendid day exploring the cultural diversity of Helen. A vacation could quickly begin and end in Helen with its offering of a delightful Bavarian village styled buildings, hot air balloon sightings, cobblestone streets, and over two-hundred import and specialty shops.
Alpine Mini Golf Village
One would be hard pressed to find a more perfect family activity than mini-golf. Everybody in the family gets a chance to shine and have some great fun and laughs while fulfilling competitive urging between siblings and spouses. What could be better than being in the Georgia sunshine, sipping a refreshing beverage and bonding with loved ones?
Chattahoochee Wildlife Management Area
Spend hours or days exploring 25,000 acres of abundant wildlife, picnicking, hiking, fishing, and bird watching in an area dedicated to remaining primitive and pristine.
Dukes Creek Mine
Feeling lucky? Want to get really rustic and discover what old-timers used to do for a living? Try panning for gold or screening for gems, like rubies and sapphires, at the Dukes Creek Mine. The Dukes Creek Mine was the spot of the very first major discovery of gold in America! It's a breeze to talk the kids into this outing! Who doesn't want to be rich? They'll be eager to get their feet wet here. Finally, a way to get them to help pay for the vacation!
Alpine Wedding Chapel
A pure delight to visit, this wedding chapel is gracefully nestled in the Alpine village of Helen. This enchanting treasure features crystal chandeliers with matching wall sconces, a 22-foot cathedral ceiling, lush foliage, and sweet-scented magnolias, as well as other fantastic flora. It's a delightful place to see and spend a few hours enjoying the marriage of nature and man-made beauty.
Georgia Heritage Art Association Gallery
Hobnob with some incredibly talented artists and enjoy the beauty of their works. From the whimsical to the wow, the Georgia Heritage Art Association Gallery has a fantastic array of beautiful art pieces ranging from local Native American jewelry and pottery to captivating wall accents.
North Georgia's newest, and dare we say most fun attraction, ZipNTime, is designed for the adventure loving soul. ZipNTime provides all the proper safety equipment so you can experience the thrill of free-falling while zipping from here to there. Cabin guests flock to zip line venues, as it's one of the cool things to do. Until a person experiences it, they cannot imagine the thrill. Guaranteed to get the kids excited and eager to zip, this crazy attraction will surpass their wildest expectations, and yours too!
As is evident, while the North Georgia Mountains are certainly a place for secluded hikes, relaxing fishing and the enjoyment of nature in its finest, there is so much more.
You marked your calendar and have waited all year to get away from the rush of day-to-day life. When you have locked your office, you head out seeking adventure in the great outdoors. Cabins in Georgia have a lot to offer to adventure seekers. Imagine, Georgia cabin rentals settled on the edge of the Chattahoochee National Forest next to the river where you can sit and watch a golden sunset over a beautiful mountain vista. There are some great places for viewing the beautiful scenery and plenty of photo opportunities to capture those memories you will carry with you for years to come.
Share Your Thoughts Below
Have you ever visited Helen in the fall? Where did you go to see the brilliant colors of leaves? Share your tips and suggestions with future users in the comments section of our blog.
This blog post is part of “YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE NORTH GEORGIA OUTDOORS” blog series.Topics: Helen Georgia, Things To Do, Nature, The Outdoors, Waterfalls, Hiking & Trails