Best North Georgia Mountain Hikes: Smith Creek Trail

A view of Anna Ruby Falls, water cascading from above with a wooden staircase leading to the edge.Remember to pack your hiking boots! There are so many stellar hikes in the North Georgia Mountains that it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few of the very best. So we’re going to do a series of posts highlighting our favorite spots and what makes them worthy of your time. This week, we’ll start with one closest to Lucille’s Mountain Top Inn: Smith Creek Trail.


The Smith Creek Trail is one of several trails in Unicoi State Park, located at 1788 Highway 356, Helen, GA 30545. It’s an out-and-back trail that covers 8.4 miles and is accessible year-round. It will take you under 15 minutes from Lucille’s to drive to the trailhead. Parking at Unicoi State Park is $5 per vehicle.


If you like having a “destination” to motivate you through your hike, you’re going to find that on Smith Creek Trail. At the midpoint of this out-and-back hike is a spectacular sight: Anna Ruby Falls. These twin waterfalls are the culmination of two creeks, Curtis Creek on one side and York Creek on the other. Both cascade down into a beautiful gorge and flow through a mossy stretch of boulders.

But don’t worry, the journey is as exquisite as the destination. The hike will take you across gentle slopes and a few spots where you will need to cross creeks. The path follows the Sautee Ditch, a waterway used for gold mining long ago and boasts a quiet, easy-to-follow path through the beautiful Georgia pine forest. You’ll find a few footbridges and stairs along the way, as well as breathtaking views of the rich, lush foliage that the Georgia mountains are known for.

The difficulty of this path is in its distance. If you can do a 9-mile hike, you won’t want to miss this one. If that long of a hike isn’t something you want to do or you are short on time, try the Anna Ruby Falls Trail which is much easier, quicker, and will still get you those truly magnificent waterfall views.

Stay with Us!

We absolutely love sharing the beauty of the mountains with our guests, and there’s truly nothing like a Georgia waterfall hike. So book a stay with us today so you can start on your grand hiking adventures!

A Lucille's Mountain Top Inn mug sits on a table near a window overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains.