This blog post is part of “YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE NORTH GEORGIA OUTDOORS” blog series.
Poets will tell you, and young couples will attest that there is nothing more magnificent or enchanting than a waterfall. Writers are inspired by them, sweethearts betroth their love by them, weddings occur by them, and solace seekers, philosophers and outdoor enthusiasts alike will seek them out.
Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock
The beautiful northern Appalachian foothills in and around Helen, Georgia hold the promise of several magnificent waterfall sites just like this. With an abundance of spectacular waterfalls to entrance and enchant you, it's no wonder that Helen is a hot spot for people seeking to connect with nature.
You don't have to travel to exotic locations to see some of the most stunning waterfalls in the world. Let's explore the following waterfall options, in order of closest to Helen first.
Within 10 Minutes Of Helen
- Dukes Creek Falls
- Anna Ruby Falls
- Raven Cliff Falls
More Than 10 Minutes From Helen
- High Shoals & Blue Hole Falls
- Horse Trough Falls
- Helton Creek Falls
- Dicks Creek Falls
- DeSoto Falls
- Tallulah Gorge State Park Waterfalls
- Amicalola Falls
Dukes Creek Falls
Distance From Helen: 3.3 Miles
Photo Courtesy of Cris Anzai
This waterfall thunders 150 feet down forming Dukes Creek and Dukes Creek Gorge and is located along the Richard Russell Scenic Hwy; just outside of Helen.
Hike for a mile along the manicured trail to reach one of the three observation platforms. The hike to the platforms is considered easy, as the park provides steps over steep areas. The 1.2-mile walk from the parking lot to Dukes Creek Falls takes you through the green ferns and deep forest of the Chattahoochee National Forest.
However, if you do not wish to take the hike to see the falls, there is an observation deck close to the parking area where you can see a view of the falls from a distance.
Discovered by Frank Logan or one of his slaves in 1828 when one of them found gold, Duke Creek Falls on Davis Creek is just minutes away from Helen in the Chattahoochee National Forrest. This waterfall is historically notable because it is part of the Georgia Gold Rush.
Explore Duke’s Creek Falls Further
Anna Ruby Falls
Distance From Helen: 5.2 Miles
Photo Courtesy of Cris Anzai
If one waterfall is an enchanting sight, two are doubly majestic. Anna Ruby Falls at Unicoi State Park is a jewel that is easily accessible from Helen Georgia.
The Falls were named after Anna Ruby Nichols, the daughter of John H. Nichols who owned the land around the falls in the late 1800s. Both Curtis Creek and York Creek flow from 4,430 foot Tray Mountain, Georgia's seventh highest mountain peak. They meet at Anna Ruby Falls where Curtis Creek plunges one hundred and fifty-three feet, and York Creek drops fifty feet. At the base of the twin falls they form Smith Creek which flows into Unicoi Lake. Anna Ruby Falls is a spectacular sight that makes it one of the top waterfall attractions in the state.
You'll find Anna Ruby Falls in the 1,600-acre Anna Ruby Falls Scenic Area, which is part of the Chattahoochee National Forest. However, you have to go through Unicoi State Park to access the forest. A simple half-mile hike leads you to the perfect sightseeing vantage point.
Explore Anna Ruby Falls Further
Raven Cliff Falls
Photo Credit, Award-Winning Photographer Bonnie Morét
Distance From Helen: 6.3 Miles
If you came to Helen looking for a more challenging hike than offered at the other waterfalls, make sure to visit Raven Cliff Falls. To reach the falls, you must hike the Raven Cliff Trail. The 2.5-mile trail is simple to traverse until you reach Bear Den Creek near the end. At this point, the path slopes upward toward the base of the falls. During the hike, you will see several small waterfalls, cascading whitewater, and clear pools.
As part of Dodd Creek, these falls are in the Raven Cliffs Wilderness (which is also called the “Mark Twain Wilderness Area”) and have a series of three drops—a 60-foot drop, 20-foot drop, and a 20-foot cascade. What makes Raven Cliff Falls unusual is that it is a double cascade that flows through a granite outcrop fissure. The extra effort will ultimately pay off in the form of a cool reward.
These falls, in White County, are accessed on a reasonably well-marked trail, but the terrain does get rough, at times. While the hike might be challenging, there are so many options on the way, that plan B is never out of the question. In fact, some folks never make it to Raven Cliff for the sheer fact that they lose all sense of time on a leisurely stop, along the way.
The total hike is about 5 miles and covers some more challenging terrain in the Mark Trail Wilderness Area; also off of Richard Russell Scenic Highway.
Explore Raven Cliff Falls Further
High Shoals & Blue Hole Falls
Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock
Distance From Helen: 11.9 Miles
Located in Towns County, Blue Hole Falls is situated on High Shoals Creek. The falls are just about a little over a mile hike. At some points, there is a steep trail, but the terrain is not dangerous on the way to the falls.
Named for its color, the pool below the falls is crystal blue and very inviting. We tell you this as reassurance that you are permitted to swim in the pool, despite the observation deck which appears to impede your path. It only takes a little extra effort to circumscribe the deck but is well worth it. However, when you reach the falls do use caution and common sense. Currents can sometimes be fierce, and debris may be encountered in the water. As always, be observant and study your surroundings; before entering the water.
Horse Trough Falls
Distance From Helen: 14.0 Miles
At the headwaters of the Chattahoochee River, you'll find Horse Trough Falls. As you peer up at the falls, you almost feel like you're peering into ancient Mayan ruins as the water flows and cascades down the rocks of Horse Trough Mountain.
Like Anna Ruby Falls, this waterfall is just a short walk from the parking lot, making it another ideal spot to take the family. The observation platform provides the best view of Horse Trough Falls so you can take in the power and majesty of the cascading water.
Helton Creek Falls (Upper & Lower)
Photo Courtesy of Cris Anzai
Distance From Helen: 16.6 Miles
For a shorter but still very romantic walk with your best girl or guy, look no further than Helton Creek Falls. Conveniently located near Helen, you will be wowed by lush plant life as you descend into a mountain cove.
As you continue down the trail, you'll encounter a boardwalk that will allow you to traverse across fragile river line zones. You also have the option of taking a set of stairs down to the bottom of Lower Helton Falls to capture a breathtaking view from the observation deck.
The trail continues on to Upper Helton Creek Falls which cascade down a fifty-foot drop. Both of these majestic falls create a fabulous romantic backdrop for your walk.
Explore Helton Creek Falls Further
Dicks Creek Falls
Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia
Distance From Helen: 19.8 Miles
Dicks Creek Falls, located in the Chattahoochee National Forest, in Lumpkin County, lies just below the point where Dicks Creek and Waters Creek converge. These falls have multiple tiers with swimming holes at the breaks, as well as up and downstream. The most popular swimming spot is at the base of the third, or last, fall. There is a large, sparkling pool of clear, cold water.
For the avid fisherman or woman, there is trophy fishing at the top and bottom of the falls. Especially popular is the top portion, to the left of the fork, up Dicks Creek. There are rocks on which you may lounge, calm pools in which to float, and jumping-off areas; but NO diving is recommended in any area of the falls. As with all North Georgia waterfall/watering holes, extreme caution should be exercised when walking on the rocks.
Explore Dick's Creek Falls Further
Distance From Helen: 20.6 Miles
Named after the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto, DeSoto Falls is the fourth waterfall you will find in the Chattahoochee National Forest. This 480-foot fall is formed by a series of three falls that run down Frogtown Creek: Upper DeSoto Falls (200 feet), Middle DeSoto Falls (90 feet), and Lower DeSoto Falls (35 feet).
You can reach the falls along the in-and-out, 2.4-mile DeSoto Falls Trail.
Explore Desoto Falls With This Link
Tallulah Gorge State Park Waterfalls
Photo by Darrell Cassell on Unsplash
Distance From Helen: 30.5 Miles
A three-mile loop trail provides access to all but Bridal Veil Falls and crosses the gorge eighty-five feet above the gorge floor. On the other side of the bridge the trail circles around Tallulah Lake Dam. Tallulah Gorge State Park remains a top destination where you can admire Georgia's natural heritage.
Tallulah Falls in the spectacular Tallulah Gorge features a 150-meter drop created by a series of six waterfalls—Oceana (50 feet), Bridal Veil (17 feet), Tempesta (76 feet), Hurricane (96 feet), l'Eau d'Or (46 feet) and Lover's Leap (16 feet) Falls.
Hurricane Falls is the tallest of the cascading waters, and Bridal Veil Falls is often referred to as a smooth "sliding rock." At the bottom of the falls is Tugaloo Lake.
Tallulah Gorge is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia. The gorge through which the series of falls cascade is two miles long and has cliffs that are up to 1,000 feet high. Tallulah Falls Lake, which sits just above the falls, was created by the building of a hydroelectric dam.
Explore Tallulah Gorge Waterfalls Further
Amicalola Falls State Park
Image courtesy of Amicalola Falls Lodge
Distance From Helen: 44.4 Miles
North Georgia gives you access to one of the most majestic waterfalls in the Appalachians. Amicalola Falls is the tallest cascade waterfall in the southeast. It plunges about seven hundred and twenty-nine feet, giving Amicalola Falls State Park its status as one of the most popular state parks in the state of Georgia. People come from all over the world to stand in awe and admiration of nature's majesty. These falls are one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia.
Visitors take an easily accessible pathway to view the falls up close. If suited to the challenge, they can climb steep staircases to get a magnificent view from the top to qualify as a member of the Parks Canyon Climbers Club.
The word "Amicalola" comes from the Cherokee language and means "tumbling waters." The falls feature a reflecting pool at the bottom and paved walkways with viewing platforms that are perfect for taking pictures. When you reach the viewing platform that is about a third of the way up, you can continue to the top of the falls by climbing a series of steps.
Amicalola Falls has visitor parking near the bottom, top, and middle of the cascade, so it is simple to enjoy the view from any vantage point.
Explora Amicaola Waterfalls With These Links
Final Thoughts & An Invite To Share Yours
On your next trip to Helen, lose yourself in the magic and mystical waterfalls of North Georgia. As you watch the cascading waters, transport yourself back to the days when the only witnesses to these natural wonders were the animals and the trees. These living natural monuments will keep you coming back to explore the slow, steady, and yet ever-changing landscape of North Georgia.
North Georgia is home to several spectacular waterfalls. During your stay in Helen, which waterfall do you want to see first?
This blog post is part of “YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE NORTH GEORGIA OUTDOORS” blog series.Topics: Cabin Rentals, Nature, The Outdoors, Waterfalls, Hiking & Trails