Anna Ruby Falls Trail
Hike the paved Anna Ruby Falls Trail to the beautiful, tumbling, rare double waterfalls near Unicoi State Park and Helen, GA. It's a fantastic kid-friendly, stroller-friendly and dog-friendly hike!
Anna Ruby Falls features a pair of beautiful waterfalls, cascading in tandem through a beautiful slice of North Georgia forest. The twin waterfalls spill from a towering cliff in wispy white tendrils before splashing, spilling and pooling over mossy boulders. Anna Ruby Falls is a great North Georgia outdoor destination in any season – and its proximity to Alpine Helen and Unicoi State Park make it one of North Georgia’s most popular waterfall hikes.
The hike is a relatively easy one, and though the outbound trek is mostly uphill, the trail is paved and just under a half mile. The trail is kid-friendly, stroller-friendly and dog-friendly (but keep dogs on a 6′ leash, per the park’s regulations). And while the twin Anna Ruby Falls waterfalls are clearly the main attraction, the trail itself is a beautiful one. The trail climbs to Anna Ruby Falls alongside a waterfall-filled creek, catching views of Smith Creek spilling and splashing through the boulder-filled forest.
Scenic beauty throughout the trail, a rare double waterfall, and relatively easy access make the Anna Ruby Falls Trail one of North Georgia’s most popular, and worth a visit.
Anna Ruby Falls Trail: the hike
The Anna Ruby Falls Trail departs the park’s visitor’s center, located just outside Unicoi State Park (view maps and driving directions). The paved trail climbs a ridge above Smith Creek under the canopy of tall trees, framed by shorter, twisted, gnarly-branched rhododendron. Angled rock outcrops, covered in green moss, frame the trail’s left side as Smith Creek loudly tumbles through the forest to the right.
The Anna Ruby Falls Trail crosses a bridge at .15 miles, grabbing an up-close view of the creek. Smith Creek tumbles loudly over the boulders below the bridge, forming multiple tiers of short, cascading waterfalls.
The trail climbs steadily through the forest, with Smith Creek cascading over a rocky bed and tumbling in small waterfalls on the trail’s left. In the excitement of reaching the falls, don’t forget to keep watch for wildlife near the trail. And in warmer months, look for vibrant green mosses and colorful wildflowers along the sides of the trail. (But for your safety, and to preserve the beauty of the forest, please don’t leave the paved trail!)
The roaring tumble of the double waterfalls ahead becomes louder as the falls become visible through the forest’s trees. The trail levels briefly at .25 mile, passing several enormous tumbled boulders before beginning its final climb to Anna Ruby Falls. The trail reaches the first of two wooden viewing platforms at just under .4 mile, catching extensive views of the twin falls.
The waterfalls at Anna Ruby Falls are formed as two creeks, Curtis Creek and York Creek, tumble over a massive, towering cliff below the summit of Tray Mountain. The Curtis Creek waterfall, on the left, is the larger of the two, tumbling over 150 feet into the boulder-filled basin below. York Creek, on the right, spills 50 feet before joining Curtis Creek at the base of the waterfall. The joined creeks form Smith Creek, which eventually flows through Unicoi State Park to Helen, and joins the Chattahoochee River as it flows to Atlanta.
After taking in the falls from the platforms (and, of course, grabbing a photo or two!), the hike turns around, doubling back on the outbound trail to return to the trailhead. The Anna Ruby Falls Trail completes at .9 miles, the roar of the cascading creek fading in the distance.
Note: slippery rocks and fast moving water can be extremely dangerous! Please don’t climb, stand on, swim near, or jump from any waterfall.
Post-hike: more outdoor adventures near Helen, GA
After completing the Anna Ruby Falls Trail, extend your outdoor adventure in the Helen area. Explore a creek-filled forest and a glassy lake on hiking trails at the nearby Unicoi State Park – the park you drove through on the way to Anna Ruby Falls. (You’ll need to pay a separate parking fee to visit Unicoi State Park, though, since it’s a Georgia State Park. The US Forest Service runs Anna Ruby Falls.)
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