We’re thankful for a lot of things here around the winery. We get to make (and taste test) wine for a living. We get to live and be active participants in an amazing community in Helen and the Sautee Valley. We get to pass creeks and streams on the way to work. We get to fish, hunt, swim, kayak and ride bikes all over the area. All of these things are amazing and we count our lucky stars every day that we’re able to live in this little slice of heaven called North Georgia.
But our “give thanks” list would never be complete without us talking about the hikes and waterfalls that are in our backyard. The winery being located where it is at gives us dozens of places only a few miles from the tasting room, offering us tons of variety and loads of beauty. So we thought we would compile a small list for you of our favorite hikes and waterfalls within a 15 minute drive of our winery so that the next time you come and taste wine with us, you can make a day of it and experience a little bit of the magic we are so luck to be a part of.
Anna Ruby Falls: The closest waterfall to the winery is also the easiest in terms of the hike. Anna Ruby Falls is located a short 10 minute drive from downtown Helen, near Unicoi State Park. Anna Ruby Falls offers scenic views without a whole lot of work. The hike itself is only .9 miles long and is complete with a paved path for the entirety of the hike making it a great all ages adventure. The path does have a slight incline but they have plenty of benches and resting spots along this short hike.
Dukes Creek Falls: The next two are mere minutes from each other on the scenic Richard B. Russel Highway. Duke’s Creek Falls is the easier and shorter of the two hikes. The length of both may push the limits for older folks and younger kids. Duke’s Creek clocks in at 2 miles round trip and begins with a wooden boardwalk that is about a quarter mile long before opening up to a dirt and mulch trail. From here you turn left and go three fourths of a miles where you ultimately end up at a viewing deck to take in the falls and Davis Creek and Dukes Creek as they converge into one.
Raven Cliff Falls: This is the longest hike on the list and definitely the most moderate in difficulty of them all. The trail itself is relatively flat the entire way outside of the first and last quarter miles. In the middle it is gorgeous as the trail hugs the Dodd Creek most of the way offering you multiple places to stop and take breaks or to have a picnic lunch beside the trail while enjoying the rushing waters. Be sure to wear proper shoes for this one and bring plenty to stay hydrated with, especially in the summer.
Brasstown Bald: Brasstown is the highest point in the entire state of Georgia offering 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains. There is a great all ages interpretive center at the top that has great information about the area and it’s past along with an education video that plays on loop in the theatre. This location can either be the easiest thing in the world or the hardest, depending on what path you take. The easiest way is a free shuttle bus that leaves from the Visitor’s Center for a short 3 minute van ride to the top. This will save your legs and keep you cool. It is a glorious and recommended shortcut. The harder way is an actual hike. The hike itself is only xxxx but it has a steep incline the entire way. It’s not impossible as the paved path makes it easier and our younger kids somehow seem to be able to run up it, but if we had to pick the route we would take, it would no doubt be the shuttle.
While these four hikes only scratch the surface of all that our area has to offer the outdoors lover, they are diverse enough that you can do just one or all four and have a completely different experience on each of them. For a full listing of area hikes, check out Atlanta Trails or our friends at Wander North Georgia.