|Anna Ruby Falls|
Access: Paved road to trailhead, $3/person entrance fee required (Federal Interagency Passes accepted)
Tumbling off the slopes of Tray Mountain in the north Georgia Blue Ridge, Curtis and York Creeks together form the parallel pair of cascading water at Anna Ruby Falls. The hike through lush forest along a burbling Appalachian stream to this waterfall is paved and easy, making this a perfect scenic hike for hikers of just about any skill and fitness level.
I hiked this trail on a one-day whirlwind tour of the north Georgia; after arriving at Atlanta Hartsfield early in the morning on a red-eye, I hopped in a car and drove north, doing other short hikes at Blood Mountain and Brasstown Bald. This was the last of the three hikes of the day before I returned to Atlanta; I was lucky that I was able to see the falls at all, as the access road had only reopened after being temporarily blocked by debris from Hurricane Irma just two days before I arrived. For hikers driving up from Atlanta, the fastest approach is likely to take I-85 north, then I-985 north until it turns into US 23 and the freeway ends; turning left onto Georgia 384 a while after passing Gainesville and following it until coming to Georgia 75; turning right onto Georgia 75 and following it through faux-Bavarian Alpine Helen, then following the signs for Unicoi State Park and turning right onto Georgia 356 a mile north of Helen. About a mile up the road, I took a left onto the road signed for Anna Ruby Falls and followed it past the Unicoi State Park facilities until I reached the USFS-operated recreation area around Anna Ruby Falls at the end of the road.
The trail starts right behind a gift shop and visitor center at the large trailhead parking lot. The wide, paved trail starts on the west (left) bank of Smith Creek, ascending fairly gently through a hardwood forest with plentiful rhododendrons and mountain laurel in the understory. This would undoubtedly be a splendid hike in May and June when floral blooms would decorate the trailside.
|Trail to Anna Ruby Falls|
|Smith Creek cascades down Tray Mountain|
|Cascades on Smith Creek|
|Anna Ruby Falls|