High Shoals Trail is a 4.7 mile out and back trail located near Hiawassee, GA and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round.
Directions from Helen: Take GA 75 north from Helen for 11.4 miles. Turn right onto Indian Grave Gap Road (forest Road 283). Follow this road 1.5 miles to a small parking lot at the trailhead on the left. The road fords a fairly shallow stream close to the beginning. It is often difficult to drive in winter without four-wheel drive.
i backpacked in Halloween night and hung my hammock on some trees below the viewing platform. New moon, dark as could be, and at 2:37am, started hearing a young child's laughter. Wrote it off as an animal + reverb from the waterfall. It continued, then I heard, as clear as day, "Papa, look over here!" I hit my headlamp, illuminating the platform - NO ONE WAS THERE.
Leaves are all over the place, but not a single crunch of leaves. No other noise. I was thinking to myself, what parent would bring a young kid down here, on a school night (Monday) at 3am when you can't see squat without lights?
A few mins later, I see an odd green light appear to the far side of the platform and the laughter starts again. On and off. The light concerned me that maybe there was someone here... I called out several times "Hello?", laughter continued on/off for several minutes. I hit both headlamps and my lantern - no one on the platform, no other noise or lights.
Got up before sunrise. checked the campsite downstream, no one there, no one at the sites upstream as well. I wasn't drinking or doing anything else... wasn't really "scared", didn't get a bad vibe, just...odd.
Several dispersed camspites, the first is a large area before/after 1st bridge. Second is just before Blue Hole Falls - could accommodate maybe 4 2person tents, not hammock friendly. The final one is a spur just before you approach the High Shoals Falls platform - providing no rain, accommodate maybe 3 tents and hammocking options - however, if there is any chance of rain, you will get runoff bc creek is below.
Also, this is where the largest bear ever caught in Georgia was captured - 530 pounds - so practice bear aware camping and hiking.
There is one "tricky" spot in the first 1/3 mile where you have a switchback - it is marked with double blaze, but there is also a path to continue straight. Otherwise, trail easy to follow and in decent shape. The final descent if there has been rain could certainly be tricky, so wear sturdy shoes.
And, you have to drive across a small stream, if there has been recent rainfall, could be tricky for a lower-clearance vehicle
Great place to hike, camp, and swim in a waterfall! The first set of falls has a deep pool with beautiful, clear water, I highly recommend taking a swim there. Make sure you are in a vehicle that can handle off roading because it is a long, steep gravel road to drive up to the trailhead.
Easy hike. About 45 minutes down, 50 up. Beautiful falls at the end. Easy for the dogs too as there was water for them.
Easy little 1.5 mile (3 RT) hike to two gorgeous falls. The top fall has a little cave at the top that you can swim up to. The water felt great and there were a ton of blue butterflies. It wasn't crowded at all which is super nice, and camping there is free/first come first serve. I will say be sure your car can handle a bumpy road because the ride up to the top can be rough. I saw plenty of Honda civics and those types though!