Anna Ruby Falls is one of the most easily accessible and family-friendly waterfall hikes out there…and it’s just up the road in Helen, Georgia. Spectacular Anna Ruby Falls lies in the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest in North Georgia.
It’s actually twin waterfalls, flowing into one and creating Smith Creek – the creek that fills the lake at Unicoi State Park. The falls are majestic, and the falls trail is short and easy. You simply cannot visit Helen without taking in this natural beauty and the hiking trail. In fact, I think it’s reason enough, alone, to make the journey from Atlanta.
Don’t miss a stop at the Visitor Center and Gift Shop, which butts against Smith Creek. Kids will love feeding the fish (bring a few quarters!) The trout literally jump out of the water for food if you are visiting early in the day. By evening, though, their bellies are full.
The main trail is a 0.4-mile footpath leads from the parking lot to the base of the falls and is less than a ½ mile to the top, the slope is not too steep, and it is a paved trail. My almost-two-year-old walked about half of the way to the top and almost the entire way down. I use a sling, but a stroller would work well here. There are stairs at the very top, but you could easily leave your stroller here for the final climb.
Anna Ruby Falls marks the junction of Curtis Creek and York Creek with a breathtaking view of the water from the bridge. Curtis Creek drops 153 feet and York Creek 50 feet to form the twin waterfalls known as Anna Ruby Falls. With boulders, lizards, wildflowers and other “distractions” the kids will enjoy the journey just as much as the waterfall at the end. Just a note about the water…if you follow us, you know that we LOVE to play in the water, but visitors here cannot enter the river at this location. I’m not sure if it is even permitted, but there simply are no safe entry points along the way. Plan to stay dry, but take in a spectacular view with a short and fun journey along the way.
The Lion’s Eye Trail gives people who are blind or have visual impairments the opportunity to experience the environment along Smith Creek. Braille signs interpret various features of the area. The trail features a cable hand rail to help guide you from one interpretive sign to the next. The signs are written in both regular text and in braille. The trail is paved and is 0.1 mile long.
Anna Ruby is not part of Unicoi State Park, though you drive into Unicoi to get here. It’s important to note this because your Georgia State Park Pass will not work. It’s $3 per person, and kids under 16 are free. It’s open year-round but closes early during the cooler months. There are also special hours on Thanksgiving Day, and it’s closed on Christmas.
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For more information visit the Forest Service webpage.
WHERE TO STAY NEAR ANNA RUBY FALLS
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