Helen, Ana Ruby Falls, and Unicoi Park – Scenic Walking and Hiking
The Alpine Village setting of Helen, located near the Chattahoochee National Forest, is North Georgia’s biggest tourist town. The Chattahoochee River originates just a few miles north of Helen and ambles along the edges and through town. Helen is famous for German food, Bavarian atmosphere and crowds. There are good restaurants, shops, abundant lodging, musical entertainment and a leisurely pace everywhere. Horse-drawn carriage rides are available. Helen is a must-see visit, at least once, for any North Georgia trip.
Anna Ruby Falls Park, about 3 miles from Helen, provides a great hiking and walking trail and a wonderful view of the falls with many photographic opportunities. About a mile further is the Unicoi Lodge and State Park with fine accommodations and excellent buffet dining. A hiking trail to Helen starts near the lodge.
Hiawassee, Rabun County, Toccoa, Clayton and Mountain City
Hiawassee is a beautiful mountain town of the Lake Chatuge area. Multiple small eateries and chain restaurants are in town, and there is good lodging. The Anderson Music Hall for Country and Western music features artists throughout the year.
Rabun County displays its scenic mountain and lake vistas, waterfalls and has many activities. This Blue Ridge Mountain area was inhabited by Cherokee aboriginals over 10,000 years ago, and names like Nacoochee, Tallulah, Terrora, Cherchero, Stekoa, remind all of that influence. This region was settled later in the 1700’s by people from North Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Terrora Park (maintained by the Georgia Power Co), and the Toccoa River are beautiful to see and photograph. Nearby is Tallulah Gorge – where the great Carl Wallenda of the Flying Wallendas, balanced on a tightwire stretched across the gorge’s width of some1200 feet. At age 65 he did a headstand twice on the wire suspended some 150 feet above the gorge’s bottom. He lived to die another day.