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Dukes Creek Falls: A splashingly nice North Georgia hiking destination
By Tom Adkinson
June 18, 2021

(Editor’s note: This is one in a series of travel stories spotlighting destinations and activities to consider in a time of coronavirus and to inspire safe outings elsewhere.)

duke creek falls
Dukes Creek Falls platform; image by Tom Adkinson

HELEN, Georgia – Tourists flock to the attractions, restaurants and shops of Helen, Georgia, a major destination in the mountains of North Georgia. Many of them, however, escape the hubbub of the tourist town for quiet destinations such as the trail that leads to Dukes Creek Falls in the Chattahoochee National Forest.

The trailhead is only 5.5 miles from Helen along the Richard Russell-Brasstown National Scenic Highway, one of fewer than 200 routes in America with that designation. Driving the scenic highway is a treat in itself, but even more enjoyable is taking the very manageable 2.5-mile round-trip hike along Dukes Creek. The first 0.1 mile of the trail is wheelchair accessible and leads to a viewing deck for waterfalls deeper in the mountains.

georgia waterfalls near helen
Georgia waterfalls near Helen; image by Tom Adkinson

The hike takes you past several cascading waterfalls and ends at a large wooden platform readymade for photographs of Dukes Creek Falls itself, which is a multi-tiered cascade 150 feet tall. The forest canopy keeps the trail shaded, making this especially popular with family hikers. A bonus on this hike is a clear view of Yonah Mountain, whose profile makes it one of Georgia’s most identifiable peaks.

It’s entirely possible you’ll remember the cool air, the mist of the waterfalls and the pleasant exercise you get from this hike even more than the manmade attractions of Helen.

Trip Planning Resources: and

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s newest book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available at

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