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    Smithgall Woods State Park Trails

    Helen, Georgia

    Smithgall Woods State Park Trails

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    Snellville, GA
    Explorer | 55 pts
    4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
    10/15/2011
    My husband, son and I (and dog) hiked this trail and really enjoyed it. The trail was pretty well marked and very traveled. We were there on a Saturday morning and a lot of people were on the trail which made it seem a little crowded. Very pretty scenery and a nice little workout. Particulary coming back since the last 2 miles is pretty much up hill. The only thing I didn't like about the trail is the fact that it's out and back unless you have a car on the otherside which we didn't. There were quite a few campers just off the trail. It looks like it would be a great overnight place to stay.
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    Atlanta, GA
    Adventurer | 451 pts
    4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
    2/19/2011
    We did the 7 mile version (switchback the way we came). Moderate traffic on the trail. The first mile is downhill, so it's uphill on the way back, the other 2 miles were fairly flat. Beautiful falls - a great weekend hike that I would do again
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    Fayetteville, GA
    Explorer | 30 pts
    4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
    4/18/2010
    The trail was great . Alittle busy but it was sat. Even on a hot day this trail is nice because there is nice cover from the trees and you are always by the creek . One of the best trails in Ga.
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    Woodstock, GA
    Pathfinder | 140 pts
    5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
    7/4/2009
    Great trail. Not to many hills on the trail, which worked out great for me, with knee issues. Only hiked to to the falls. Nice views of the creek along the way, some pretty areas with ferns growing along the trail and some nice picture ops. Really enjoyed it.
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    Rockville, MD
    Adventurer | 390 pts
    4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
    1/15/2009
    We did that after reading Backpacker Magazine's review. It was voted best trail in GA. The start was a little disappointing. You have to hike under the overpass. Trash is a serious issue in this area. The creek is very loud, but the trail is elevated high above it, so there are no views. after a while you find yourself creek-side, and things really get picturesque from there. Camping areas are everywhere, all along both sides of the creek. The waterfalls is indeed one of the best I've seen. We went in the middle of the week in january, so we got the place all to ourselves. We set up camp right at the base of the falls. All in all it was a great trip.
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    Atlanta, GA
    Pathfinder | 80 pts
    4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
    12/7/2007
    Water is down, but still flowing. There is a camp fire ban in effect, and the trail is in need of a bit of maintenance. Otherwise, beautiful as always!
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    Doleway, AL
    Trailblazer | 5056 pts
    4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
    9/22/2003
    Panther Creek is a tale of two trails, one section easy, the other quite tough. The US441 to falls section is easy and heavily used. The heavy use is well deserved, as Panther Creek is quite beautiful with many shoals, large boulders, and many flat rocks for fishing. The trail begins by climbing up on the ridge above the river. Many side trails down to the creek can be found. Although high on the ridge, the beauty of the creek remains in sight. At mile 1.4 the trail descends to the creek and many well-established campsites can be found here and are frequent to the falls. The trail is easily followed to the falls, but at mile 1.0 you need to make a sharp left up through the rocks instead of continuing straight ahead. Look for well-worn double blaze on the rocks. At mile 3.2 the trail conditions begins to change. Rocky terrain becomes the norm with some narrow footing. Metal posts with chains are placed where more difficult footing exists. Be careful of the posts, some are loose. At the falls, mile 3.5, you have a moderately steep climb down to the bottom. The falls are quite impressive and much more than I anticipated. There is a wonderful pool at the base, and worth bringing a swimsuit in season. We then walked the trail to the Yonah Dam trailhead. This part of the trail was quite difficult as the rocky terrain and narrow footing continued. This section of trail is much less used, we did not see any hikers beyond the falls. Slippery rocks, poor footing, rocky out crops became frequent for the next mile. At this point the trail leaves the creek and you start a climb following a stream to a point to a crossing on a foot bridge. Here the trail sharply ascends for the next .2 of a mile. At the top the trail levels for a short distance before beginning the moderate descent back down to Panther Creek further downstream. We reached the trailhead and made the return trip back to US441 trailhead. The 11-mile roundtrip was a little tougher than I had expected.
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    COMMERCE, GA
    Adventurer | 403 pts
    3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars
    9/18/2003
    This was my second time to hike this trail. It is a fairly easy trail to hike. This is an excellent trail for beginners or to break in new equipment. There is one sharp turn to the left, that you must climb a rock and go between another rock to remain on the trail. This turn is easy to miss, must look close for the double blaises. Near the waterfalls you walk on some very narrow rock cliffs. There are post with cables to keep you from falling, but some of the post are very loose and dangerous. Very beautiful waterfall. Best hiked during the week. Lots of people on weekends.
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    Winder, GA
    Explorer | 20 pts
    4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
    10/13/2000
    We took 18 boy scouts and 6 men on this trip. It was our frist outting with the boys ( new troop) the boys ranged from 10 to 13 (one 8) years in age. We all had a ball we let the boys lead us in they missed one of the trail markers ( we knew they would) had to break out some ropes and drop down about a 6 foot drop. It helped them to work as a team. At the falls we all broke for lunch . They hiked back. Everyone had a great time and the view was great, the boys will remember it always. We are looking for our net adventure soon.
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    Trail Information

    Helen
    Nearby City
    Dog-friendly
    Accessibility
    3.8
    Distance
    Out-and-back
    Trail Type
    Easy to Moderate
    Skill Level
    1.5-2 hours
    Duration
    Year-round
    Season
    Smithgall Woods State Park, 61 Tsalaki Trail, Helen 30545; (706) 878-3087 or (706) 878-3520; www.gastateparks.org/info/smithgall/
    Local Contacts
    USGS Cowrock and Helen; page-size map of park with trails available from the visitor center
    Local Maps

    9 Members Completed

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