Raven Cliff Falls Trail, In Helen Ga

Are you looking for adventure?

Outdoor and nature enthusiasts love hitting the many Helen hiking trails because they provide incredible views, access to some of Georgia’s most beautiful natural formations and wonders, and because they offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences for those fortunate enough to traverse the well-laid paths. Many visitors to the Helen area choose to start off by checking out the larger, more popular trails that are situated within the nearby state parks, but there are also some true gems elsewhere. Ravel Cliff Falls Trail is one of the area’s best-kept secrets, and is well worth the visit during your vacation in Helen.

Visiting Raven Cliff Falls TrailWhispering Waters Cabin

Planning Ahead

Before setting off to conquer one of the most beautiful Helen hiking trails around, it’s important that you make preparations for a safe trek. Although the terrain is relatively level and easy to traverse, the entire journey to the falls and back is 5.1 miles. As such, it’s important that you wear comfortable, sturdy hiking shoes or boots, and bring plenty of water to remain hydrated. If you’re bringing your dog along, make sure to pack a portable water dish for him as well. Though you may be shaded by trees for large intervals of time, it’s always in your best interest to apply a healthy layer of sunscreen, and you may want to wear a hat in order to block the sun’s rays and protect your scalp.

Getting Here

Raven Cliff Falls Trail is located in the 9,600 acre Raven Cliff Falls Wilderness Area. The trail head is situated approximately 6 miles west of downtown Helen, can can quickly be accessed from your cabin via the GA-75 N and the GA-348 W. Parking is plentiful, although it tends to be easier to score a primo spot during the morning hours, so early-risers may want to hit the trail early.

Hiking the Trail

From the Raven Cliff Falls Trailhead, you can expect to hike just over 2.5 miles before reaching the falls themselves. At the very beginning of your journey, you’ll experience a slight increase of elevation as the trailhead experiences a short incline, however, after a quarter of a mile, the trail will level out before it makes its downward descent along Dodd Creek. Although this descent is also rather slight, it does mean that you should expect a mostly uphill journey on your way back.

The trail faithfully follows alongside of Dodd Creek throughout the entire hike.  At various points throughout the path, you may notice some forks or side trails. If there’s ever any doubt about which path to follow, however, just stick with the creek and it will get you safely to your final destination.

helen ga cabinsAt one point, you will actually cross Dodd Creek. A large wooden bridge is constructed so that you don’t actually have to get wet. After this, the rail will lead you through a cool, peaceful, and mossy forest. All along the way to Raven Cliff you will cross several tributaries, pass several smaller falls (don’t be fooled – the real prize lays at the end of the trail), and multiple campsites.

Once you hit the 2 mile mark, you’ll notice a significant amplification in the sound of rushing water through the creek and valley. With every passing step, you’ll see that the lower half of Raven Cliff Falls is growing increasingly visible. Finally, the trail will turn northwest in its final approach of the enormous Raven Cliff laying before you. Finally – the big payoff – a magnificent and highly unique 400 foot cascade which, throughout the years, has sliced the enormous cliff rock in half.

After reaching the falls (and, of course, taking some excellent pictures as proof that you visited one of the most incredible Helen hiking trails) and are ready to depart, you will simply turn around and follow the same path back to the trailhead and parking lot.

Points of Interest

In addition to the falls themselves, Raven Cliff Falls Trail features other points of interest. You’ll find that at one point, a side trail will come into view which forks off to the right. This trail leads to a campsite along the creek’s bed, but it may be worth being sidetracked if you’re interested in checking out a swimming hole. The waters here are about 4-5 feet deep, and are a welcoming sight for a pup on an especially warm summer day, or even for a particularly adventurous human. And once you reach Raven Cliff, you’ll notice a massive fissure at the base, which splits entirely through the towering granite slab, creating an incredible sight.

Which Helen hiking trails do you plan to visit after checking out Raven Cliff Falls? Let us know which trails have captured your interest, and we’ll be happy to provide you with more information.