Helton Creek Falls – North Georgia

I’ve heard so much about Helton Creek Falls that we made a trip of it after hiking at nearby Vogel State Park. The well-marked entrance is located on Hwy 129/19 just one mile south of Vogel.

However, we thought we were in the wrong place driving through a residential neighborhood of houses perched alonside a creek. Soon, the road turned gravel and a hand-painted sign announced the falls were just 2 miles ahead.

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The road seemed to go nowhere.

The most difficult part of the trip was the bumpy, rocky dirt road. In the distance, we saw the falls and came to a parking area. For such an out of the way place, there were 6 or 7 cars. The total loop to the falls is just 1/3 of a mile. We climbed down the path and the temperature was instantly cooler. When we reached to the falls, we took a left to descended down the wooden stairs to the base of the lower falls.

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The steps leading to the base of the lower falls.

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Lower falls at Helton Creek.

 

 

Afterwards, we climbed back up and continued to the base of the upper falls where there was a viewing deck.

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The decked area of the upper falls at Helton Creek.

 

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Along the trail.

 

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Upper Helton Creek Falls.

 

If you’re in the area, it’s worth the trip here. On the way home, we stopped by the historic Walasi-Yi Inn. It’s at Neel’s Gap where the Appalachian Trail crosses under a roof. Many AT hikers can be seen relaxing here as they get their mail, use the showers and visit before continuing their journey. The store offers outdoor gear, groceries and supplies.

 

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This is the only covered area of the Appalachian Trail.

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Walasi Yi Center at Neel’s Gap near Blood Mountain.

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View from inside Mountain Crossings store at Walasi Yi.

 

 

 


Arabia Mountain – Lithonia, GA

Springtime has come to Atlanta so hubby and I took the dog to Arabia Mountain for Monadnock Madness Month.

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We parked at the Davidson-Arabia Nature Preserve to use the restrooms, get a map and visit the nature center. The guide on duty suggested we walk the 1-mile path (mostly on a boardwalk along Klondike Road) to reach the mountain since parking at the mountain is usually at capacity on the weekends.

Starting on the Mountaintop Trail up the granite rocks, I felt we were walking on the moon. The ascent is only 148 feet so it’s much easier than Stone Mountain. Stone cairns led the way along the blue path for a while.

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The moonscape dotted with solution pools, resurrection moss and red diamorpha is surreal – especially since it’s near a busy road and under the flight path of Hartsfield Jackson Airport. I was surprised there were so many young pines.

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Afterwards, we decided to take the 1-mile Mountain View Trail and got lost a few times. The path led us along the base of the mountain so it’s an uncomfortable angle to walk – one leg is higher than the other and it was easy to miss the blue dashes on the rocks to mark the trail.

We had several views of the lake from the mountain base, but it wasn’t until the path veered into the woods that we really got to enjoy the view from other angles and away from crowds.

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Coming upon an old camper that was used as target practice, I was a little creeped out. Shortly, we could hear the cars on Klondike Road and came back onto the Mountaintop trail. We retraced our steps along the boardwalk back to the car. What we thought would be a 3-mile hike, turned out to be 6 miles according to an exercise app on my phone.

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On the way home, we stopped by the Monestary of the Holy Spirit just 8 miles away to buy bread. We walked around the quiet retreat center and stepped into the abbey just as the sunlight was coming through the stained glass windows.

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