Jen and I are in north Georgia, just outside of Helen and this afternoon we are hiking Anna Ruby Falls. Anna Ruby Falls is a very popular and very short trail that heads out to one of the best waterfalls you could ask for. Before we get into the full details of the trail, let’s go over some quick details.
|Anna Ruby Falls Quick Facts
|Just outside the city of Helen in North Georgia
|9:00am to 6:00pm every day – Open Year Round
|$3 Fee Per Person. It’s only for persons over 16. Under 16 are free
|Trail has it’s own lot that holds, I’m guessing a bit here, over 100 cars. Lot was only about 1/3 full at most the day we were there.
|Yes! Just keep your pups on a leash.
|0.8 miles (0.4 mile out and back)
|Easy – It’s a short trail. The entire trail is paved and other than one small incline about halfway on the way out, there’s relatively no elevation change. Took us about an hour and a half to complete including stopping multiple times to take in the sights.
|Location and Contact Info
|3455 Anna Ruby Falls Road
Helen, GA 30545
Hiking Anna Ruby Falls
The double waterfalls that comprise the Anna Ruby Falls
When you enter into the park, it’s a long winding road in through the park. You’ll make a quick stop at a guard shack on the way in to pay your $3 per person fee. Don’t worry, no extra charge for your pups! The road will eventually run you into the Anna Ruby Falls parking lot. There’s plenty of parking, a gift shop and bathrooms.
There is a short (5 minute walk) trail called the Lion’s Eye that is built for people in wheelchairs and those with visual disabilities. It runs right along the water and has great info, braille is included on all the signage, about some local trees and vegetation. It’s just to the right of the gift shop and well worth checking out.
The hike to Anna Ruby Falls starts just to the left of the gift shop. It’s a completely paved, wide and well maintained trail. This is an extremely popular trail and you’re likely to be joined by a lot of people on the trail with you. The views of Smith Creek along the way are mesmerizing.
Not only do the views of the creek look like they should be one of those opening screens when you log into your computer, but we went before the leaves were back on the trees in mid-March. The most striking thing to me was the green moss that absolutely ‘popped’ off the gray logs and leaves.
After a short walk you’ll arrive at the falls. They’re really incredible. As I find with all great waterfalls the pictures really do not do them justice. There are two separate falls. One is a spectacular roughly 150 foot drop and the other, while about half as tall, is much wider. There are two separate wood platforms where you can take in the falls.
At this point you have two options, head back toward the start of the trail where the gift shop and parking lot are or continue on Smith’s Creek Trail. Smith’s Creek trail is a 10 mile round trip (5 miles out and back) hike.
Be aware that the trail at no point will take you back to the lot. The only way to do that is back the way you started so make sure you allow yourself enough time to get back should you decide to venture on.
We had no idea Smith’s Creek Trail existed (hopefully by reading this you won’t run into the same issue!) and since it was nearing park closing time we decided we should forego the extra adventure and make our way back. If you hike, or have hiked, Smith’s Creek – let us know how it is and we’ll include your insight here!
We really enjoyed hiking Anna Ruby Falls and know you will too. We don’t rate trails here, but this trail is great for “hikers” of all ages and abilities. It’s a short, easy walk that still envelopes you with nature and has a great payoff at the end. If you want to get out and enjoy nature with your whole family, Anna Ruby Falls is a trail with which to do just that.
More Nearby Hiking Trails
In addition to the Smith’s Creek Trail that we mentioned above that is literally attached to the Anna Ruby Falls trail, there are a couple other trails really close by you should check out. Also, if you’ve never been to Helen, GA you absolutely need to stop through and see Helen. They have designed their town to re-create a German village and it’s really cool.
- Dukes Creek Hiking Trail – A two mile easy to moderate trail that has an amazing waterfall of it’s own.
- Raven’s Cliff Trail – A five mile trail that sits roughly a half-mile away from Dukes Creek.
Finally, if you’d like to donate to the CFAIA (The Cradle of Forestry Interpretive Association in America), you can visit their donation page here