Georgia’s Alpine Bavarian Village, located about an hour and a half north of Atlanta, is well-known for re-creating a small German village complete with cobblestone alleyways, Old World towers and buildings laced in gingerbread trim. The destination originated from forward-thinking leaders seeking to create a space attractive to those traveling through the Northeast Georgia Mountains. Charm is the key, Bavarian charm that is, and folks love it!
Aside from the grand hoopla that everyone loves about Alpine Helen, there are also picturesque mountain views, lovely vineyards and plenty of ways to escape the normalcy that is everyday life. No matter if it’s hiking or biking, you’re in search of or leisurely strolls, the trails and parks of Alpine Helen are where it’s at.
Pet-friendly Unicoi State Park is sprawled across some 1,050 acres just north-northeast of Helen within the Chattahoochee National Forest. Enjoy 53-acre Unicoi Lake on Smith Creek as well as fantastic trails leading to attraction points like Anna Ruby Falls—you’ll hear the rush of the waterfalls well before you ever see them. Seasoned hikers will be challenged by the 4.6-mile Smith Creek Trail that stretches between the base of Anna Ruby Falls to Unicoi State Park. Other pastimes at the state park include archery, zip lining and fishing. Also, important to note, there are plenty of accommodations onsite including the lodge and cabins.
The new Helen to Hardman Heritage Trail is a wonderful one-mile ADA accessible trail that journeys from the Chattahoochee River at Hardman Farm State Historic Site into Helen. You can bring your pet, learn some local White County and Chattahoochee River history (with a guided tour) and garner some vacation exercise walking at any pace you like. Peaceful, with lots of resting spots, this is the perfect trail for all ages and skill levels.
Smithgall Woods State Park is a Helen treasure where pets on a leash are welcome on trails. This little retreat is attracting more and more anglers and picnickers as visitors turn to outdoor activities to keep fit and enjoy the natural side of Alpine Helen. Prepare for 28 miles of trails, lots of resting spots and good fun.
If waterfalls, gentle streams and stunning views are your jam, then don’t miss the wooden Raven Cliff Falls Trail. Bring the pooch, a picnic and your camera.
In nearby Cleveland, the multi-use trail system within Yonah Preserve (1,000-acre property near Helen) is available for public use, Thursday through Sunday. Access the trailhead from Albert Reid Road and enjoy some 10 acres of walking space.
Other unique opportunities to explore on foot include a public footpath following over 2,100 miles of Appalachian Mountain ridgeline between Maine and Georgia known as the Appalachian Trail. It intersects GA75 and SR348 and offers parking at both locations. Also noteworthy is Andrews Cove Trail, which is actually an old logging road from Andrews Cove to the Appalachian Trail and Forest Service Road 283 at Indian Grave Gap. This trail is about two miles. Enjoy lots of room to roam in Alpine Helen, perfect for a time when distance means love.
For more information on Alpine Helen-White County including lodging options, restaurants and other attractions, please visit the website at www.HelenGA.org.