Trail from Unicoi Park to Helen
Starting at the Unicoi Lodge the trail starts out as Bottom Loop Trail, then continues through stands of rhododendrons and mountain laurels. The trail crosses Lower Smith Creek along with several other smaller creeks. This is the nicest part of the hike and is popular with trout fisherman. Unicoi Park is a nice place to end if you have kids, since there is a full playground there. The hike would be too strenuous for younger kids, but those 8+ should be able to make it. The entire round trip is 6 miles, so it's good to break it up with a lunch break in the middle. If you hike from Unicoi Lodge to Helen, starting out around 10 should put you in Helen around lunch.
Length: 3.0 miles
Unicoi Lake Trail
A loop near the picturesque lake
Bottoms Loop Trail
A loop near the floodplain of Smith Creek
Smith Creek Trail
Winds over Hickory Nut Ridge and Smith Mountain
Anna Ruby Falls National Recreation Trail
Hike to the breathtaking Anna Ruby Falls
Laurel Ridge Interpretive Trail
A hike with breathtaking views of surrounding mountains
We did this day hike from the Unicoi Lodge to Helen and back. I have twins that at 10 and they made it OK, but were tired on the return hike. The trail is in good condition and there were many people with dogs. Down by Lower Smith Creek is the nicest part of the trail and is a picture perfect example of a North Georgia Trout stream. There was a waterfall but you could not easily get near it.
We had read that this would be "moderate," so we kept wondering where the trial would get difficult. It never did. I would rate it "easy." We met a few folks who said it was the first time they ever hiked. We also saw children and people with no packs if that is any indication. I just love the woods here - they are beautiful. This trail is sort of strange in that it ends in the city of Helen. You can have a picnic in the city park or get a beer if you like. We really enjoyed it.