Helen, GA

Heaven in Helen

by Joel H.

Editor’s note: This trip took place in 2016. To help scratch that travel itch and fuel your daydreams, we’ll be republishing some of our favorite Travelogues from the past.

3 people, 270 miles, 3 days

Georgia has three landscapes: the country, the city, and the mountains. I grew up in the country, then moved to the city of Atlanta, but never experienced the rich culture and natural beauty of Helen in the North Georgia mountains. So I grabbed my two best friends, Hannah and Jeremy, packed up the 4Runner, and hit the road headed north!

As you cross into Helen’s mountainous city limits, you’re swiftly greeted by the Chattahoochee Ruby Mine. Amethyst, quartz, and obsidian were abundant. The local miners believed these stones held good fortune and convinced us to purchase some red jasper for our trip!

Helen is a small town with German roots and it’s very evident in its architecture. There were no big stores or major outlets, just small family-owned shops. The people were friendly, the pastries were homemade, and the coffee was always fresh.

No trip to Helen is complete without taking a hike through the mountainous terrain. We drove six miles of winding roads before finally arriving at the local hiking trailhead.

We arrived at the base of Anna Ruby Falls to begin our hike. The path was well traveled and the ground was smooth. An easy hike. We made it to the falls but our thirst for adventure hadn’t yet been quenched.

So we took the hike off course and found the thrill we’d been looking for! The path was rocky and the beauty seemingly untouched. It was perfectly imperfect. We ran, jumped, and ducked as we maneuvered through nature. It was awesome.

The ride home to Atlanta was pleasant and we got a ton of compliments on Eric’s 4Runner. As we left Helen’s city limits, we paused to absorb the beauty one last time before our departure.