Camping

Camping is one of the best ways you can do to enjoy your visit to North Georgia. We have laid out the best campgrounds whether you want the primitive or developed ones!

camping in north georgia

Free Campgrounds

If you want privacy and solitude, undeveloped or dispersed camping is the way to go.

Pitch your tent in the free trail shelters on the Appalachian Trail. It is a scenic 76-mile section of wilderness hiking trail. There are 13 shelters with water source and some porta-potties. Just a note that in March and early April, the shelters are usually crowded.
Address: Hiawassee, GA 30546, United States

Ball Field Dispersed Camping Area. No amenities and approximately 1 mile from Lake Conasauga Recreation area.
Address: Chatsworth, GA 30705, United States

Dawson Forest. It covers 10,130 acres and has no services.
Address: Dawsonville, GA 30534

Developed Sites

Developed campgrounds have amenities and fees. Some places may require a reservation. Facilities may include parking areas, entrance signs, picnic tables, grills, trash receptacles and vault toilets. More highly developed sites may also include showers, electricity, flush toilets, sewer, and water.

Low Gap Campground. A 13-site developed campground. Located only a few miles from the state's much loved vacation destination, Helen, Georgia. It is open seasonally from March to October.
Address: Helen, GA 30545, United States

DeSoto Falls Recreation Area. A wonderful scenic spot with easy access to the falls. Reservations required to camp in the campground.
Address: 18365 US-129, Cleveland, GA 30528

Andrews Cove Campground. Just 15 minutes from Helen, this campsite provides a peaceful atmosphere and a cool mountain stream. Open seasonally from March to October. First come, first serve basis.
Address: 15000 Hwy 75 North, Helen, Georgia

Payne Campground. Enjoy water activities in the green rolling hills of Georgia. It has 57 reservable campsites, drinking water, and amenities such as showers.
Address: 2495 Kellogg Creek Rd, Acworth, GA 30102

Frank Gross Campground. Offering camping and trout fishing, this is located along the banks of Rock Creek.
Address: Rock Creek Rd, Blue Ridge, GA 30513

Hiking

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Helen, Georgia and its surrounding areas feature hikes for all skill and ability levels. In fact, hiking might as well be the state sport. Here are a list and deep dive into all the areas we've curated for your outdoor walking expedition.

Raven Cliff Falls

One of the most interesting hikes, Raven Cliff Falls, is a short ride from most of Cedar Creek Cabin Rentals’ properties.

The trail is a moderate hike due to the final leg of the trail where the elevation substantially increases as you climb the last 600 feet. The increase is in short spurts so even a beginner could manage the climb without much effort. The trail is about 5 miles and the falls come into view around the 2.5 mile mark. When you reach the source of the falls you’ll be greeted by a gorgeous cascade of water which flows through a split in solid granite rock.

Blue Ridge Mountains

The trail offers gorgeous Southern Appalachia views. Rolling pastures, gorges, blue-misted mountains, and waterfall greet hikers of all skill level. If you want to know more of the area, you can check here.

DeSoto Falls Trail

Located just outside the nearby city of Cleveland, DeSoto Falls Trail is one of northern Georgia's best kept secrets. If you want a quieter trail, this is the way to go. It is surrounded by beautiful flora and fauna and waterfalls. It is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for camping, nature trip, and walking. Accessible all throughout the year. If you have a dog, bring your furry friend!

Tallulah Gorge State Park

Tallulah Gorge is one of the most dramatic canyons in the eastern US. The state park is open all year round. There is more than 20 miles of trails. For families with young children, the paved Shortline Trail is a good trail. It follows the scenic river.

Brasstown Bald

A steep and paved 1/2 mile trail, Brasstown Bald is Georgia's tallest summit. Climb through a mossy forest to a stunning 360-degree views. There is a large viewing platform at the summit. It is a favorite spot to soak up some golden rays and catch a sunrise or sunset.

Unicoi State Park

Located just outside of town, it is a home to several different hiking and mountain climbing trails. This variety ensures that there is a perfect hike for every visitor. The Frog Pond Nature Trail is a 1/3 mile loop and is ideal for beginning hikers or families with 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 challenging hike at three miles one way.

Anna Ruby Falls

The trail is paved, making it ideal for those who aren't fond of rugged paths, or for individuals with handicaps. Ultimately, the trail will take you to two observation decks that will provide you with excellent views of the falls. If you're up for more of a challenge, you can also continue along the trail that proceeds deeper into Unicoi State Park.

Appalachian Trail

Starting up in Maine, the historic Appalachian Trail winds through 14 states and covers more than 2,000 miles before reaching its southern terminus in northern Georgia at Spring Mountain in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. The trail includes nearly 80 miles in Georgia.

Serious and dedicated hikers can start their Appalachian Trail trek here and head north. Curious onlookers can reach the trailhead via Forest Service Road 42 near Amicalola Falls. Those in between can hike about nine miles from the Amicalola Falls visitor center to the Springer Mountain site.

You can also refer to this guide for a comprehensive list of trails in North Georgia.

Mountain Climbing

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Mount Yonah

Mount Yonah, more correctly Yonah Mountain, is named for the Cherokee word for "bear." The 3,166-foot, granite mountain is popular with climbers year round, but the summit and climbing routes are particularly beautiful (and uncrowded) in the winter months. January, February, and March are the perfect times to go.

Rock Town

The massive sandstone boulders have excellent handholds but will present a challenge for climbers of all levels.

Curahee Mountain

It is the last mountain of the Blue Ridge chain that rises more than 1,700 ft. above sea level. It offers excellent opportunities for mountain climbing in north Georgia with top-roping, where rope anchors are preset and exposed lead climbing.

For more info on mountain climbing in North GA, you can refer to this post

 

Biking

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Smithgall Woods State Park

Smithgall Woods offer biking trails. It features 23 miles of roads and trails with different degrees of difficulty. Visitor Center Loop Trail is an easy 3 mile trail. A short half-mile trail, Cathy Ellis Trail goes downhill to a gorgeous waterfall. There are plenty of trails in the state park. 

Blanket’s Creek

For beginners and intermediate bikers, it is close to the metro area. there are 7 miles of trails that can be challenging. 

Stonewall Falls & White Twister

For intermediate bikers, it is a 7.8 mile mountain bike loop which is comprised of a mixture of old US Forest Service roads, old logging roads, and single-track. 

This guide has more trails you can go to for biking in North Georgia. 

 

Tubing & Rafting

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Tubing and rafting are two of the most common activities during summer in North GA. 

Helen

The Bavarian town of Helen offers some of the most popular tubing adventures in the state. There are water slides in the middle of the town.

Find cabins in helen ga

Tallulah River

The river has rugged white waters and falls as well as placid sections. Make sure that your raft is in a good repair if you go for tubing.

 

Fishing

If you are planning on fishing on your next trip to north Georgia, you'll find an abundance of hot spots to catch a variety of fish. North Georgia is home to some of the best fishing in the state. We've put together listing of our top locations to consider for your upcoming fishing trip.

fishing in helen georgia

Chattahoochee River

A trout haven, the river is open to fishing all year round. It has about 38 river miles of designated trout water where you can find two types of trout, brown and the rainbow trout. The Trout Unlimited, a national advocacy and conservation group, named it one of the top 100 streams in America.

Tip: Best fishing occurs from late autumn to early winter when the river flows are more predictable.

You'll also find walleye, bream, catfish, crappie, gar, and striped bass. What you just need to bring with you is a Georgia fishing license and trout stamp. You'll get more information here.

Soque River

A tributary of the Chattahoochee River, portions of the river run along State Route 197. It has gained fame in trout fishing circles for producing trophy rainbow and brown trout.

Many sections are wadable and all are absolutely full of fish. This is an exciting and fun way to spend an afternoon in the North Georgia Mountains whether you're a beginner or an avid angler!

Duke’s Creek

Duke’s Creek runs through the Smithgall Woods State Park. You can fish in the stream anytime of the year but spring is the best time because of the hatches. The trout in Duke’s Creek are wild rainbows and browns that have not been stocked by local hatcheries.

At “Duke’s Creek Scenic Falls Area” the stream flows through a gorge that may be a challenge to access, but it has some of the best fishing spots for rainbow trout that can be as big as five to twelve inches. It has waterfalls or cascades.

Lake Chatuge

The 132 miles of shoreline makes it a perfect place for fishing. Bass is predominant with varieties such as largemouth bass, white bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, and hybrid striped bass. There are 32 species of fish found in the Chatuge Reservoir. The prime fishing season is from March through November.

Lake Lanier

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A man-made reservoir, you'll find different species of fish here. It has no vegetation issues. Bass fishing is common.

Carters Lake

3,220 acres large, it is close to Ellijay, Georgia. Best season to go fishing is February through November. The area is scenic with sparkling waters and rugged shoreline. There is a full-service marina that offers boat docks and boat rentals.

Explore more on fishing here

 

Horseback Riding

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Whether it's your first time on a horse or you are a seasoned rider, the stables in and around the north Georgia's forests have the right horses for you. You'll see the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in a completely new way from horseback. All of these stables are within a short drive from the helen ga cabins

Appalachian Trail Rides

A full service experienced trail riding facility, it offers a variety of packages to make your time in the Appalachian Mountains. Enjoy the creeks, lakes, and mountain views. 

Visit their website

Sunny Farms North

Open all year round, you can enjoy riding by yourself. The horses are ready to ride every weekend but weekdays can be accommodated. For more info, check their website

Sunburst Stables

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Located just a few miles down the road from our rentals and several state parks, the stables have a wide variety of trail tours for riders of all ages and experience levels. Even little ones (under age 7) are free to double up with Mom or Dad and come along on the journey. You can customize your trail ride based upon any time restrictions that you may have, or based around your primary interest. Thousands of acres available for horseback riding!

Blue Ridge Mountain Trail Rides

Enjoy the view of the Cohutta Mountains! There is a woodlands stream. Whether you are a beginner or an expert rider, there is a package for you.

Fort Mountain Stables

Enjoy 37 miles of scenic horse trails in the north Georgia mountains. They accommodate your preference in horse, horseback riding level, and the time and duration of the ride.

Chattahoochee Stables

Located in Sautee, the guided trail rides that are offered there provide spectacular views of the Sautee-Nacoochee Valley, and all of its rich heritage. Regardless of your experience level, you're sure to feel comfortable when riding the stable's horses, as they are continuously trained throughout the year to work with riders of all skill levels. Your 3.5-mile tour will take you through the luscious valley, along the Chattahoochee River, and past stunning mountain views.

Canoeing, Kayaking & Paddle Board

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For those who love canoeing and kayaking or paddleboarding, North Georgia offers waterways, rivers, and lakes.

Ellijay River and Cartecay River

Offering intermediate and novice paddlers moderately technical flat-water to class III whitewater rapids with plenty of areas to play in between, Cartecay River is only 20 mins away in nearby Ellijay. Ellijay has some whitewater areas and a "lazy river" that can be right for beginners. Cartecay is good for teens and adults.

Ocoee River

Mostly Class III rapids, the Ocoee River was used for the 1996 Summer Olympics kayaking events. It is a paddler's paradise and offers challenging whitewater rapids. if you like legendary rapids and big waves, Ocoee River is a great place for it. It's only an hour away from downtown Chattanooga.

Chattooga River

A scenic river, the river is located in the heart of Atlanta. Kayaks and SUPs can be rented as well as tubes. Known for its beautiful scenery, there is much diversity you see while you're there. It has some wild whitewater action Class III and IV.

Chestatee and Etowah Rivers

Offering Class I and Class II rapids for kayaking or canoeing, it is located less than an hour from southeast Ellijay. 

Lake Burton

If you want to do paddling, it's best to do it in the morning. The lake is quiet and offers beautiful views. There is also a picnic area and beach.

Lake Rabun - Lakemont

A 835 acres, the peaceful lake is great for kayaking. It offers frontage views of homes and a variety of twists and turns as it meanders along.

Tallulah Gorge

The rapids here are for those with advanced kayaking skills as it provides Class-V challenges. It is also the site of whitewater rafting.

Altamaha River

A great place for paddling. Paddle through freshwater wetlands, preserved woodlands, and scenic salt marsh on trips.

If you're looking for helen ga cabin rentals, Cedar Creek Cabin Rentals has different types of cabins that would suit your needs.

 

Ziplining

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Breath taking views while flying through the trees, these are the perfect places for ziplining:

Zipline Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge

A 165 acre property, it offers a half of mile of cable with seven multiple ziplines ranging from 150-550 ft in length. There is also a 2-hr zipline tour that features one mile of cable with 13 multiple ziplines from 150-1,000 ft. in length. Once you zip into the valley, soar over pastures and cross over the Fighting Town Creek. This is one of the best zipline courses in North Georgia.

Historic Banning Mills

Featuring the fastest and longest zips, this is perfect for the adrenaline junkie! There are four different kinds of ziplining you can choose. The zip tours are guided. Reservation is required before the tour.

Unicoi Aerial Adventure Park

Their zipline and aerial adventure park offers zipline canopy tours, nature trek in the tree tops, birds-eye-view of the North Georgia Mountains, and family friendly challenge courses. The views of the lake is amazing.

Nacoochee Adventures

There are different zipline packages they offer. If you're going for the basic and most popular tour, prepare for a series of zip lines through the forest starting low and slow then gradually building up. The highest platform is 70 ft.

Visiting Vineyards

If you like wine tasting, there are plenty of vineyards in the North Georgia area.

vineyards in north georgia

Habersham Winery

It is one of the oldest wineries in the state. When you enter the winery, you'll be greeted with the sweet aroma of muscadine grapes. The winery has been operational since 1983 and produces award-winning (over 150 national and international awards) Georgia Wines.

Tiger Mountain Vineyards

Nestled on a hillside in Rabun County, this small farm winery specializes in hand-crafted wines using traditional European methods. The vineyards produces white and red wines from 100% Georgia-grown grapes.

Visit the website here

Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery

The wine library and cellar displays an array of 19th century French wine artifacts which also acts as a beautiful backdrop for wine tasting. Tours are every Saturday and Sunday.

Yonah Mountain Vineyards

Journey into the heart of the north Georgia mountains by making the short trip to the Yonah Mountain Vineyards in Cleveland. This 200-acre estate is home to seven varieties of grapes, including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and others.

The peaceful rolling hills that surround the vineyards provide a relaxed, romantic atmosphere. Enjoy the flavors of The Yonah Mountain Vineyards daily in their warm and inviting tasting rooms.

The Cottage Vineyard and Winery

The place offers wine slushies and a great selection of wine including one made of blackberries. 29 acres, the place is just a fifteen minute drive from Helen, Georgia. A nice area to spend an entire day or celebrate an occasion with your loved ones.

 

Swimming

There are swimming pools, creeks, waterfalls, rivers, and lakes you can swim on in North Georgia. Nothing better than dipping in cool water especially during the hot weather!

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Swimming Pools

  • Northside Swim Center
    Address: 501 Kingston Ave NE. Rome, GA 30161
  • West Gwinnett Park Aquatic Center 
    Amenities include an indoor 25-yard by 25-meter competition pool, outdoor leisure pool with zero-depth entry, and an instructional pool
    Address: 4488 Peachtree Industrial Blvd, Norcross, GA 30071
  • Kelley Cofer Pool
    Address: 4259 N Park Dr, Tucker, GA 30084

Creeks

  • Blanket’s Creek
    There are various trails you can choose and also streams you can go for a dip.
    Address: 2261 Sixes Rd, Canton, GA 30114
  • Wildcat Creek
    A primitive campground where you can do rock sliding. There is also a swimming hole.Address: 2726 West Wildcat Rd., Clarkesville, GA
  • Holly Creek
    It is tucked at the edge of the Cohutta Mountains and bordered by national forest and has two pristine mountain streams. 

Waterfalls

  • Anna Ruby Falls
    In the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest, the water flows over the rugged cliff face.
    Address: 3455 Anna Ruby Falls Rd Helen, GA 30545

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  • High Shoals & Blue Hole Falls
    The pool below the waterfalls is crystal blue. The walk going there is about 2.4 miles.
    Address: 1333 Indian Grave Gap Rd, Hiawassee, GA 30546
  • 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. Address: Chattahoochee National Forest, Helen, GA 30545

If you want to know more of the waterfalls in North Georgia, you will find the complete guide here

Rivers

  • Edge of the World, Amicalola River
    One of the best natural swimming areas in the state. Wade in the water and hang out on the rocks. It has natural water slides and chutes to enjoy! 
    Address: 7000 GA-53, Dawsonville, GA 30534
  • Conasauga River
    A great place for a swim or snorkeling. The water is very clear.

Lakes

  • Lake Trahlyta
    A reservoir in the Union County, Georgia, it is one of the first two original state parks in the state. Aside from the gorgeous mountain lake, the views of the Blood Mountain are iconic.
  • Lake Chatuge
    A man-made reservoir, there are several private coves for swimming.
  • Lake Blue Ridge
    Boasting 65 miles of shoreline, this is one of the most well known lakes in the North Georgia Mountains. Other than swimming, you can also enjoy trout fishing.
  • Grandview Lake & Lake Tamarack
    Twin lakes and both are reservoirs. It is just northeast of Jasper.
  • Lake Lanier
    One of the largest man-made lakes in the southeast.
  • Lake Burton
    A quiet lake and a popular spot for anglers. You can swim or spend your day fishing for sunfish, bass, and sunfish.

 

Hunting

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North Georgia Quail

A hunting preserve in Georgia where you can go for quail hunting.
Address: 89 Berry Patch Ln, Cleveland, GA 30528

Noontootla Creek Farms

Near the city of Blue Ridge, Noontootla Creek Farms is situated in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Consisting of over 1,000 acres, it is a privately held farm. It features sporting clays course and quail hunting. A reservation is needed. 
Address: 3668 Newport Rd, Blue Ridge, GA 30513

South Fork Hunting Preserve, LLC

Providing hunters "The Best Bang For Your Buck" since 2013, it is located in the scenic foothills of the North Georgia mountains. A 215 acre lot, you can hunt pheasants, chukars, and flying bobwhite quail.

 

Scenic Tour

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If you're after beautiful views, North Georgia has a lot to offer. Here are four major places you can go:

Brasstown Bald

Known to the native Cherokee people as Enotah, it is the highest point in the U.S. state of Georgia. Located within the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests, the area is owned by the US Forest Service. If you go to the Brasstown Bald Visitors Center and Recreation Area, you will see a picturesque 360-degree views. It's also a great place to see fall foliage.

Unicoi State Park

Near the downtown Alpine Village of Helen, it is known for its Anna Ruby Falls and beautiful lake. It is very popular especially in October, when the autumn leaves in the forest change colors. Watch the magnificent Unicoi Lake views, trees, and the mountains.

Find vacation rentals near Unicoi State Park

Tallulah Gorge State Park

A 2,689 acre Georgia state park, it is adjacent to Tallulah Falls. It has one of the most spectacular canyons in the eastern US. You can explore waterfalls, serene river banks, and steep-sided canyons.

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 fall.

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. Regardless of your interests, you'll find a wide range of opportunities for fun and exploration while paying a visit to this 5,664-acre park facility.

For more scenic tour, visit this link