Smithgall Woods State Park in Helen is a gorgeous park along the river with 5 miles of trails in spectacular mountain hardwoods, trout fishing, 23 miles of paved roads for bicycling (no driving,) geocaching, and picnicking. The high elevation, thick forest, river, and large boulders make an environment like no other.
Smithgall Woods’ 5,600+ acres were granted to Georgia in 1994 as a gift-purchase from Charles Smithgall Jr. Dukes Creek/Dover Creek runs through this prime mountain property, with award-winning trout; it is a favorite for catch-and-release fishing. The mammoth forest trees, boulder and moss-lined creek, and diverse flora and fauna make this state park a (lesser known) gem in the Georgia mountains. Walking the trails of Smithgall, I felt as if I were in a fairyland of wonder and beauty. It has become one of my favorite places in Georgia for peaceful connection with Mother Nature.
Smithgall includes lush forests, rushing water, beautiful boulders covered in moss, and easy access to a striking waterfall. I urge families to make their way to Helen for this breathtaking state park, and to stay in the cottages if possible. Georgia has truly been blessed with this gift from Mr. Smithgall.
The best way to experience this park is by visiting for several days. The cottages here are luxurious and fully equipped, and within the heart of the forest. I highly recommend bringing the family for a long weekend or an extended family vacation.
This is Creekside Cabin, which is the cabin we enjoyed. The boys loved hanging out by the water in the day, and then listening to the rushing ripples from the deck at night. I even kept the patio door open that evening (in winter!) to listen to that peaceful sound.
Just down from the cabin is this fun bridge that leads to a hiking trail.
Just 1 mile from the cabin is Dukes Creek Waterfall….and you can see the snowfall from our winter visit.
Back at the cabin, we warmed up inside with cocoa and a fire. Here are some photos from inside the cabin.
Disclosure: My family and I were guests of Smithgall Woods State Park to facilitate a review on another website. I had to add it here, too! #KeepingItReal
After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.
Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.