The Chattahoochee National Forest is home to many waterfalls. Some require long hikes on faint trails or trail-less woods to reach; others can be accessed by short, easy paths. The two waterfalls on Helton Creek fall into the latter category, as very little effort is needed to see these two impressive waterfalls. The groomed path to the waterfalls is well-established, with staircases and an observation deck. Keep in mind that during the hot season, the ease of access - along with the perfect swimming hole at the falls - leads to great crowds. This hike occurred on Saturday, February 11th, 2017. My plan was to hike the Helton Creek Falls Trail out and back to the upper waterfall on Helton Creek, with a short side trip to the lower waterfall on Helton Creek along the way.
R/T Length of Trail: 0.3 Miles
Duration of Hike: 0:20
Type of Hike: Out and Back
Difficulty Rating: 1 out of 10
Total Elevation Gain: 100 Feet
Pros: Ease of access for beginner hikers
Points of Interest: Lower Helton Creek Falls - 4 stars; Upper Helton Creek Falls - 9 stars
Trail Blaze Colors: Helton Creek Falls Trail - Lime Green
Best Seasons to Hike: Winter
Beginning Point: Helton Creek Falls Trailhead on Helton Creek Road
Directions from Suches, GA: From the intersection of GA 60 and GA 180 in Suches, follow GA 180 East for 11.1 miles. Then, turn right onto US 19/129 South and continue for 1.5 miles, before turning left onto Helton Creek Road. Follow Helton Creek Road for 2.2 miles to the trailhead parking area at the right. The road turns to gravel but is in excellent shape; it is passable by all passenger vehicles.
Click here for more information and to download this trail map to view in Garmin Basecamp.
After completing a lengthy shuttle hike along the Appalachian Trail earlier in the day. my plan was to visit a waterfall on Lost House Branch. However, I finished my main hike slightly later than I had expected to, and as a result, I no longer had time to bushwhack to Lost House Branch Falls. Instead, I decided to get a few pictures of Helton Creek Falls, which I hadn't visited in many years.
The short trail to Helton Creek Falls begins at the west end of the medium-sized gravel parking lot. A sign and a lime green blaze mark the trail, as it descends a set of wooden steps. In winter, there is a really great view through the trees of both waterfalls on Helton Creek to the left. From this vantage point, the double falls appears to be very tall! The well-groomed path gradually descends to the creek, passing over more stairs along the way. At 0.1 miles, a very short side trail leads left down a staircase to Lower Helton Creek Falls. The lower falls is a pretty sliding waterfall that is about 35 feet high.
To reach the upper falls, continue following the main trail up a staircase and along Helton Creek. The trail ends at an observation deck at Upper Helton Creek Falls at 0.15 miles. The upper falls is a beauty. It is a steep sliding waterfall about 80 feet high (although it seems like the uppermost portion of the falls isn't visible from the base). A large pool is at the base of the waterfall. It is possible to follow a goat path to the pool from the beginning of the observation deck to get a closer view of the waterfall.
From Upper Helton Creek Falls, simply retrace your steps back to the trailhead, concluding at 0.3 miles this short stroll to two really great waterfalls.
0.0 - Helton Creek Trailhead
0.1 - Lower Helton Creek Falls
0.15 - Upper Helton Creek Falls
0.3 - Helton Creek Trailhead
There are many other longer hiking trails in the area. Some options that can be considered are hiking to DeSoto Falls, Raven Cliffs Falls, Dukes Creek Falls, Blood Mountain, and/or Cowrock Mountain.
Year 1: 540.0 Miles
Year 2: 552.3 Miles
Year 3: 518.4 Miles
Year 4: 390.5 Miles