There are more hiking trails in the area than you’ll be able to tackle in just one visit. That’s just one reason why you’ll want to spend several days here and plan to come back again. There are trails for every skill level and of course they look like a totally different place during the different seasons.
If you’re looking to be challenged, Tallulah Gorge won’t disappoint. This isn’t for the faint of heart and you should be prepared. The first thing you should know is that you need a permit to hike the gorge floor. There is a limit of 100 permits given out per day. Arrive at the park early and be 1 of the 1st 100 people in line.
https://gastateparks.org/TallulahGorge has some of the most incredible scenery in the state, a sliding rock where you can plunge into the water below, and a great physical challenge. Be prepared to make a few water crossings. A dry bag will be helpful in keeping your essentials from getting wet, along with an extra pair of socks. A plastic whistle is also an indispensable tool for any hike. If you find yourself needing help, 3 short blows of the whistle is the universal call for help.
If this seems daunting to you, but you still want to take in the beauty of Tallulah Gorge, you can walk to the bridge without a permit and overlook the river. You may still get winded-you’ll walk down and back up over 1,000 steps, but it’s worth every step!
Mount Yonah is another incredible hike that can be somewhat challenging, but doable for most skill levels. While there is elevation, there are plenty of places to stop and catch your breath along the way. Yonah is also a training location for the Army Rangers. They train there once a month, and it’s pretty cool to see them in action. The views from the top are some of the best around. If possible, it’s best to do this hike during the week. If you go on the weekend, plan to get there early. The parking lot fills up quickly, and you’ll find yourself taking an additional “hike” just to get to the trail. During the week, there are usually only a couple of cars in the parking lot.
Minnehaha Falls is a great trail for anyone who doesn’t consider themselves a hiker, but wants to see an amazing waterfall. The drive there is serene and beautiful. You’ll pass Lake Burton and some stunning homes along the way. It’s off the beaten path and marked by just a small sign. It’s only a short walk to the falls and there’s a pool at the base of the falls where you soak your feet or walk in and cool off on a hot, summer day.
https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/georgia/unicoi-to-helen-trail is a pretty easy trail that starts at the conference center at Unicoi State Park and Lodge. There aren’t usually many people on this trail and you get to enjoy the sights and sounds of the river along much of the trail. It’s a great place to take off your shoes and dip your feet in the icy, cold water for a few minutes. When I take this trail, I like to walk into town and get some ice cream or eat lunch before heading back. My dog, Koko, enjoyed this trail and there are lots of dog-friendly places in town where we would go together.
Dukes Creek Falls is an easy trail with some of the most captivating waterfalls in the area. It’s only a couple of miles and you’ll see lush, moss-covered forest land. This is a great trail for small kids or those who are more accustomed to walking instead of hiking.
There are many more incredible trails near the cabins. It’s so hard to choose a favorite. Each trail has something unique. The Helen and North Georgia area a plethora of trails that will want you coming back for more.