Dukes Creek Falls Trail: top waterfall hikes near Helen, GA

Dukes Creek Falls Trail

Hike to multiple waterfalls and through a lush, green forest on the moderate, kid and dog-friendly Dukes Creek Falls Trail near Helen, Georgia.

trail info

2 miles
(round trip)
moderate
Dog-
friendly

LOCATION:Chattahoochee National Forest near Helen, Georgia (maps & directions)

GEAR: REI Flash 18 Backpack w/ our favorite hiking gear list and Canon 6D Camera

OFFICIAL MAP: Nat Geo 778 Trails Illustrated Map

The Dukes Creek Trail hikes a moderate 2 miles out and back through a beautiful, mountain stream-filled forest in Georgia just north of Helen. The trail descends alongside a shallow, mossy stream, hiking to several large, cascading waterfalls that tumble at the convergence of Davis Creek and Dukes Creek. At the falls, several large wooden viewing platforms offer stunning views of the main attraction overhead: the exceptionally dramatic, multi-tiered, 150-foot-tall drop of Dukes Creek Falls.

Hike to a series of stunning waterfalls at Dukes Creek Falls in North Georgia

The trail’s relatively short length and moderate elevation gain make it a popular hike for families with kids – or a great stop-off for travelers in this ultra-scenic section of North Georgia. And the first segment of the trail is paved and accessible, allowing hikers of all abilities to catch a glimpse of the falls from the trail’s upper viewing deck.

Dukes Creek Falls Trail: the hike

The hike departs the Dukes Creek trailhead (view driving directions and maps) after catching a stunning view of nearby Yonah Mountain from a clearing in the parking area. Yonah’s uniquely shaped summit and enormous exposed rock outcrops make the mountain an iconic, easy to recognize landmark near Helen. (It’s a fantastic hike, too – though challenging!)

Catch stunning views of Yonah Mountain from the Dukes Creek Falls trailhead near Helen, GA

The trail passes the ADA-accessible viewing platform at .1 mile, departing the pavement and beginning a descent to the base of the falls. The hike drops elevation on a series of stairs and platforms before meeting a trail junction at .3 mile. A right turn at the junction hikes a short detour to Davis Creek, where cool, crystalline water flows over mossy boulders shaded by the high forest canopy above. (It’s a great detour for kids and dogs, especially on the mostly-uphill return hike from the base of Dukes Creek Falls.)

Hike the Dukes Creek Falls Trail through a waterfall-filled valley in North Georgia

The main trail swings a hard left turn at the trail intersection, hiking southwest and continuing to descend into the lush, green creek valley. The trail courses three sharp switchbacks over the one-mile hike to the falls, offering glimpses and ever-growing sounds of the towering, tumbling waterfall.

Hike the short, kid-friendly Dukes Creek Falls Trail in North Georgia to several stunning waterfalls near Helen

The trail reaches the trio of Dukes Creek Falls viewing platforms at 1 mile, providing excellent views of the waterfalls cascading from the towering cliff above. To the right, Davis Creek tumbles in small waterfalls and slides down the exposed rock face to the base of Dukes Creek Falls. And far above, Dukes Creek plummets from a tall cliff, dropping 150 feet into the clear, rocky basins of water below.

Hike the Dukes Creek Falls Trail to an enormous 150-foot-tall waterfall near Helen, Georgia

The base of the falls is a great place to relax, soak up some natural beauty, and enjoy a quick snack before beginning the uphill climb back to the trailhead. Departing the waterfalls, the hike retraces its outbound journey back to the trailhead, completing the adventure at 2 miles.

Nearby hiking at Raven Cliff Falls

In the area with daylight and energy to spare? Don’t miss the incredible waterfalls on the nearby Raven Cliff Falls Trail, a short drive north from the Dukes Creek trailhead. The five mile Raven Cliff Falls Trail hikes a beautiful, waterfall-filled valley to a massive waterfall that slices through a sheer, towering cliff at the trail’s end. While it’s more the double the distance of the Dukes Creek Falls Trail, it’s a moderate, gently-rolling hike – and the mile-after-mile of tumbling waterfalls make it well worth the while.

Note: slippery rocks and fast moving water can be extremely dangerous! Please don’t climb, stand on, swim near, or jump from any waterfall.

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Dukes Creek Falls Trail Map, Directions & Details

Dukes Creek Falls Trail Map
Dukes Creek Falls Trail Map
This map is not a substitute for official trail maps or topographic maps.

Driving Directions


Parking

Parking at Dukes Creek Recreation Area is $4 per vehicle.

GPS Coordinates

34.702063, -83.789413     //     N34 42.124 W83 47.365

Elevation Profile

Dukes Creek Falls Trail Elevation Profile
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Please Remember

Always leave no trace, tell someone where you're going, pack safety and wayfinding essentials, don't rely on a mobile phone to find your way, and follow these trail etiquette tips.

 
Eric Champlin is a writer and photographer who loves to hike, run, backpack, kayak and cycle the southeast. He’s the editor and founder of Atlanta Trails and Asheville Trails, online magazines that cover the South’s best outdoor adventures. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.
 
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