The Great Outdoors: Scenic places to visit in northeast Georgia


Living EditorWriter

Spring is here, which means bright sunshine and warm temperatures are soon to follow.

As the weather grows warmer, many students, as well as faculty and staff, may find themselves searching for something to do outside to enjoy the season. 

Some activities, such as white water rafting or going to Six Flags are often popular during this time of year. However, for those who want to enjoy the weather but find themselves on a budget, these activities may not be an option.

If you are looking for a way to enjoy the great outdoors on a budget, there are many options available in the surrounding communities.

Andrews Cove Recreation Area is located in Helen, about 30 minutes from the school. The area includes a two mile long trail for hiking, a creek for fishing and a place for camping. The park is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, and there is free parking.

Another attraction that can be found in Helen is Anna Ruby Falls. There are two different trails, one that runs a little less than half a mile beside Smith Creek, and the other that runs a quarter of a mile, available for people with physical or visual disabilities. 

The trails end at the base of twin waterfalls, and there is a picnic area within the park. The park is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, parking is free, and admission is $3.

The Black forest Bear Park and Reptile Exhibit in Helen offers a chance to learn about different species of bears and reptiles, including numbers types of large snakes. Visitors to the park have the option of feeding the beards during their visit, as well as seeing them up close.

The park is open seven days a week at 10 a.m., and admission is $5. Parking is free.

Located about an hour from Piedmont, in Clayton, lies Bartram Trail. The trail runs a total of 37 miles, but three to four mile paths can be taken in different areas.

The trail follows a wooded path, and various side trails lead to water and scenic outlooks. For more information on the Bartram Trail, visit

Bruce Creek Fishing Piers and Trails can be found in Toccoa, about half an hour from campus. The park has access to Lake Hartwell through Bruce Creek, which also has many fishing piers and a dock for boaters. 

Along with fishing and boating, visitors can also walk different trails, go swimming and have picnics. Free parking is available to visitors.

Currahee Mountain, also in Toccoa, offers both mountain hiking and biking trails. While climbing the mountain, caves are available for exploration, and once at the top, the rock ledge offers a view of the surrounding areas, as well as a place for picnics. The park provides free parking.

Nestled into the mountains of northeast Georgia, Panther Creek Trail can be found on Highway 441 North, in Clarkesville. The trail follows Panther Creek through a wooded area and multiple cascades, and it ends at Panther Creek Falls.

Fishing is allowed in the creek, so don’t forget to bring a fishing pole. Parking is a daily fee area, and rest rooms are available.

For those who want to lay back and relax, yet still spend some time outside, a few tubing places can be found.

Helen Tubing and Water Park and Cool River Tubing are both located in Helen, allowing visitors to tube down the river and then enjoy shopping or food in town once they are finished. Tubing prices range from $3 to $10, and day long passes are available.

For more places to visit around the area, visit There you can find the perfect place to plan your next outing.