We've done a number of hikes, so for anyone who is planning on staying at Helen and wants to enjoy a couple of hikes here are our top choices. We have narrowed it down to these few depending on what you're looking for.
Raven Cliff Falls is 5.8 mi out & back with an elevation gain of 5,64ft; it has little elevation change. This is more of a beginner level. Great for the whole family, with great views and an excellent area for pictures, the kids will get a nice workout! This is our second favorite of all the trails!
Dukes Creeks Falls is 2.3 mi out & back with a 337 ft elevation gain. This is mostly a paved path, so it's great for the whole family! It's excellent for kids, and the scenic waterfalls at the end will make for some awesome photos! If you want a challenge, skip this one.
(Matty’s Pick ) Smith Creek Trail is 9.5 mi out & back with a 1,679 ft elevation gain. This is more challenging; it's about a 3-4 hr hike. It provides an excellent workout. This will take you to Anna Ruby falls if you follow the creek it provides a nice payout at the end; very scenic and great for pictures). Bring your water and protein bars!
Unicoi Gap and Indian Grave Gap Loop is a 5.0mi loop with a 1,742 ft elevation gain. This one is also VERY CHALLENGING, very steep with 17-25% elevation gradients . Bring your cardio game for this one; it's also the farthest from the house at 20 mi.
Mount Yonah Trail is a 4.1 mi out & back with a 1,453 ft elevation gain. It's the #1 rated for all experience levels, the most scenic of all trails! Don't forget to bring your camera. There are some nice areas to take photos! It’s also 10 min from the house. If you are going to do one hike, this is the one to do. On your drive back home don't forget to stop by and grab some cinnamon rolls since it will be on your drive back home.
Unicoi Gap to Chattahoochee Gap is 7.6 mi out & back with a 1,958 ft elevation gain. Easier to start, but then you start to face a lot of elevation (4000ft) and a lot of climbing. ( part of the Appalachian trail). This is ranked lower on Matt's list due to not much to see but more of a workout.
Hardman Farm Trail is 2.0 mi out & back with a 95 ft elevation gain, and it's one of the easiest trails, right in town and only minutes from the house. You will see people fishing and just having a good time. All pathways are paved and great for having a morning run.
Andrew's Cove is 3.5 mi out & back and has an 1112 ft elevation gain with up to 29% elevation gradients. Also, one of our lower-rated ones is because of a lack of scenery and not very much going on but reasonably challenging.