Hike to Blue Hole and High Shoals Creek Falls

Georgia High Shoals Falls Trail

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Shoal Falls is a beautiful waterfall in Chattahoochee National Forest with a swimming hole where you can go under the waterfall. Dogs are allowed on this hike. 

Located just a few miles north of Helen, Georgia is this hidden gem. The road that leads up to the starting point of the hike is a bit tricky to find so make sure you have your GPS to help a little, its a gravel road that winds up the mountain for a about a mile.

The dirt trail winds down through the thick forest for a little while, the views are stunning as the light shines through just parts of the trees and the tree roots cover parts of the path way making it a place for cool pictures. Once you get down to the bottom of the dirt path, theres a campground and if you keep walking along the trail there is another trail that leads off to the left. The first path thats leading off to the left takes you to Blue Hole falls, about a mile from the starting point of the trail, and it doesn't take you long at all to get there from the point where the paths split. Blue Hole Falls is the first waterfall along the trail, the water is amazingly clear and during the warm months its a great place for people to come and swim.

If you keep walking along the main trail, you'll get to the other trail that leads you down to High Shoals Falls. This is a little farther walk than the walk to Blue Hole Falls but it is completely worth it. High Shoals Falls is a much larger water fall cascading down large rocks. This too is an area for people to swim and climb on the rocks, sitting under the freezing cold waters during the warm months.

This is a great trail for anyone! Dogs are allowed on this trail and if they love swimming in the water, this is a great place to bring them!

Pack List

  • Water
  • Hiking shoes, and shoes you can get wet
  • Snacks
  • Camera
  • Swimsuit! (during the warm months)
  • GPS to get you to the start of the trail
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How to Get There

about 1 month ago

Heat up with a hike and cool off with a plunge

Thanks OC for this find! Just spent a week and a half up in N GA (early July) with the family and made a point to check out this waterfall. First - Getting There: If you are coming in southbound off of 17, look for the sign that says High Shoals, set back of the road a little, as your GPS might tell you turn left at the private drive - the gravel trail head road is actually right past this. Next, preferably you have a higher clearance vehicle as there is a stream crossing with hard (read rock) bottom and moderate entry/exit angle and the road up can be a little rutted as well. But I understand there is another approach where you do not have to cross the stream, however it is much longer. Park at the trailhead or along the road just past the trailhead. There is room for maybe 4 or 5 vehicles at the actual trailhead parking area. Second - The Hike Down: Easy to moderate hike down (remember you will have to come back up) on a well worn path, some exposed roots, some man-made wood and rock ledge stair steps. There was a large (30" diameter) tree down over the trail which we had to hop over - no big deal and it looks like the trail is maintained for downed trees as several fallen trees across the trail had obviously been cut to clear the trail in the recent past. The trail levels out as you approach the campground area - some really good open campsites along the stream, some with fire rings already. Keep moving thru the campground and cross a foot bridge over a trickling creek. The trail begins to descend again and you can hear the sound of water moving faster. Not too far past the camping area and foot bridge there will be another spot for camping of the right side of the trail, and shortly after that the first left spur will take you down to Blue Hole Falls and the swimming hole. My suggestion is to keep going to the second left spur for High Shoal Falls, the grander of the two falls, about another 10 minutes down the trail. Here you can relax on the rocks, have some lunch, and soak in the small pool below the falls and just in front of the observation platform. This area is a little more open and depending upon time of day you can take in some sun on the rocks as well. After relaxing here for a while, we then hiked back up the trail to Blue Hole Falls, which definitely is the better choice for a plunge, as the swimming hole is large and deep enough to actually swim in - be warned, it's chilly, and the sun does not really poke thru the trees too much here so you may not warm up quickly. If you are feeling adventurous, someone has tied a rope to a tree above the falls here that you can swing out over the falls and drop in to the pool. There is trail above this spur that goes to a rock "clearing" where the rope swing is. There is an observation platform at this site as well. We did this hike in the morning, took a few snacks with us and were pretty hungry by the time we got back to the car. Good location as Helen is a short drive away where you can grab a bite to eat.

about 1 month ago

about 1 year ago


Is there a name for the campsite?

about 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Hidden gem

Overall, very fun trip that captures a lot of the beauty of GA. Took a 2 day trip to camp and hike. Wouldn't suggest spending more than 2 days here. The road there crosses a small creek and my Honda Civic barely made it across after it swelled from a short rainfall. I believe there are two roads to get there though if you don't feel like risking crossing the river :) . There are camp grounds near the beginning of the trail, but if I had do to it over again, I would definitely suggest hiking about 20 mns to the camp grounds closer to the falls. The falls: Blue Hole Falls is pretty cool, but High Shoals Falls definitely overshadows the two. Takes about 1 - 2 hours to hike to see both falls. You will hit Blue Hole first and then High Shoals further down. It is a moderate hike and hiking poles helped me a lot! Conclusion: Definitely worth visiting, especially since there relatively unknown and therefore you don't have to contend with a huge crowd. Went on a Thur/Fri and saw only a handful of people. Also, you could totally make this a day-trip if you started off early.

over 1 year ago

about 2 years ago

Beautiful area for people who love to hike and love swimming under waterfalls and climbing up them!

about 2 years ago

Added by Tiffany Lachner

| Nikon D7200


Chillin, Photography, Swimming, Hiking

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer

Trail Type:



5 Miles

Elev. Gain:

500 Feet



Dog Friendly
Food Nearby
Picnic Area
Swimming Hole

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