Hike the scenic Trahlyta Lake Trail at Vogel State Park, following the shore of the beautiful mountain lake to the stunning cascades of Trahlyta Falls and iconic views of Blood Mountain.
LOCATION:Vogel State Park near Helen, Georgia
Sunlight glimmers across the rippling surface of the water as a soft mountain breeze rustles the leafy canopy above. All around, the shady forest is alive with the sights and sounds of nature. Following a gently meandering shoreline, the Trahlyta Lake Trail offers beautiful views its namesake lake, catching the iconic reflection of nearby Blood Mountain from the lakeshore. And at the trail’s mid-point, a short spur trail descends through the forest to explore the spilling cascades of Trahlyta Falls.
This waterfall, lake, and trail are named for Trahlyta, a local Cherokee woman. Legend holds that she once drank from a fountain of youth located near Preachers Rock. After being held captive, her dying wish was to be buried in the mountains that she loved dearly, and her grave is located below the memorable stone pile north of Dahlonega at Stonepile Gap, just south of Woody Gap on the Appalachian Trail.
Trahlyta Lake Trail: the hike
The adventure begins near the Vogel State Park visitors center on the south side of the paved parking lot (view maps and driving directions). After crossing a small bridge, the trail ducks into the shady canopy of the forest, passing a covered picnic pavilion and grill area. The wide dirt trail hugs the banks of the lake, meandering through a tall hardwood forest filled with rhododendron, mountain laurel, ferns, and vibrant green moss.
The trail continues its northeasterly trek, crossing a wooden boardwalk at a quarter mile and grabbing serene views of the glassy lake through the trees. At four-tenths of a mile, the trail exits the dense cover of the forest onto an earthen dam. From the dam, the views across the lake back towards the visitor center are beautiful. The towering reflection of Blood Mountain appears to the south when the lake waters are calm and still.
Continuing across the dam, the trail reaches the intersection of a signed side trail. This short spur descends quickly as the sound of rushing water becomes immediately audible. The trail makes the last descent via wooden stairs to a large observation platform, scoring close-up views of the stunning tiers of Trahlyta Falls.
After soaking up the beauty, the trail retraces its steps, climbing back up to the dam.
After backtracking to the lakeshore, the trail continues over the dam before diving back into the cover of the forest. Trailing south-west, the hike tunnels through the shady forest before intersecting a paved roadway at just under one mile. The last stretch of the hike follows the paved road past the sandy swimming beach, group shelter, and several of the park’s guest cottages.
The adventure ends back at the parking lot, completing the hike at just over a mile.
Vogel State Park and nearby adventures
With more than 80 tent and RV sites, 18 walk-in campsites, and 35 cozy cottages, Vogel makes a great base camp for exploring the beautiful North Georgia mountains. The park offers 17 miles of hiking trails and a 22-acre lake for swimming and paddling.
Looking for a more challenging adventure in the park? Hike the Bear Hair Gap Trail through a beautiful forest filled with wildflowers and small tumbling waterfalls to views of Lake Trahlyta from a lofty overlook. Or hike the challenging Coosa Backcountry Trail, Duncan Ridge Trail, and Appalachian Trail to beautiful vistas from the summit of nearby Blood Mountain.
And the surrounding area offers some of our all-time favorite hiking spots in Georgia. Hike to the top of nearby Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s highest-elevtion summit, to outstanding sunrise views. Explore the beautiful cascades of Helton Creek Falls as it tumbles through a rhododendron-filled forest. Or hike a scenic stretch of the Appalachian Trail to outstanding views from Blood Mountain or Cowrock Mountain.
After the Adventure
Head north to Hiawassee to say hello to the Atlanta Trails crew at our new hiking outfitter store, Trailful Outdoor Co. We carry our favorite hiking, camping, and backpacking gear like tents, packs, and sleeping bags as well as our locally-made line of Atlanta Trails apparel. We also feature over 70 of our favorite trails throughout North Georgia and Western NC on our hike wall, and our crew is always happy to share tips on our favorite local trails, dining spots, and adventures. Come in and hang out, we’d love to see you!
Always leave no trace, pack out everything you pack in, and if you see trash, pick it up and pack it out.
Stay on the marked trail, tell someone where you're going, pack safety and wayfinding essentials, and don't rely on a mobile phone to find your way. Please always practice good trail etiquette. And before you go, always check the trailhead kiosk, official maps, and the park or ranger office for notices of changed routes, trail closures, safety information, and restrictions.
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34.766117, -83.923267 // N34 45.967 W83 55.396