Anna Ruby Falls

Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest / Helen, Georgia, USA

About Anna Ruby Falls

Hiking Distance: 0.8 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 30-45 minutes

Date first visited: 2012-10-14
Date last visited: 2012-10-14

Waterfall Latitude: 34.76377
Waterfall Longitude: -83.7122

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Anna Ruby Falls was perhaps the largest of the waterfalls we saw in Georgia when we considered the sum of its parts.

The falls consisted of a confluence of two waterfalls (a twin waterfall, if you will).

Anna_Ruby_Falls_052_20121014 - Full context of Anna Ruby Falls
Full context of Anna Ruby Falls

The waterfall on the left featured a tall multi-tiered series of cascades and steep drops (said to 153ft in cumulative height), while the waterfall on the right had a shorter but more vertical drop, which was said to be 50ft in height.

According to the maps from the Forest Service and the US Geological Survey (USGS), the one on the left comes from Smith Creek and the one on the right comes from York Creek.

One thing worth noting is that most of the literature (including Wikipedia and the Forest Service meta description) say the creek on the left was Curtis Creek instead of Smith Creek.

Nevertheless, putting them all together, they combined into Smith Creek, whose union we could see in an impressive display of a virtual wall of water interspersed with the onset of Autumn colors.

Anna_Ruby_Falls_032_20121014 - The main segments of Anna Ruby Falls as seen from the confluence of its two creeks
The main segments of Anna Ruby Falls as seen from the confluence of its two creeks

Apparently, the Anna Ruby Falls got its name from Anna Ruby Nichols, who was the daughter of a wealthy White County resident and owner of much of the area encompassing the waterfall named John H. Nichols.

Experiencing Anna Ruby Falls

Just downstream from the confluence of the two creeks, there were lookouts on both sides of the combined creek.

These lookouts gave us the opportunity to see the Anna Ruby Falls from a few different angles.

The viewing deck on the right side of the combined creek as well as the footbridge over that creek yielded slightly distant but contextual views of the entire waterfall.

Anna_Ruby_Falls_007_20121014 - Julie on the gentle paved walk leading up to the Anna Ruby Falls
Julie on the gentle paved walk leading up to the Anna Ruby Falls

Meanwhile, the larger viewing platforms on the left side of the combined creek brought us closer to the falls.

That allowed us to examine the individual waterfalls more closely while trying to take photos directly in front of them.

The walk from the large parking lot (see directions below) to the viewing platforms was 0.4 miles each way (or 0.8 miles round trip) along a mostly gentle paved uphill path.

Given how relatively easy the walking path was, it wasn’t surprising to see both viewing platforms as well as the trail itself crowded with weekenders.

Anna_Ruby_Falls_023_20121014 - Focused on just the Smith Creek component of Anna Ruby Falls from the end of the walk on the left fork
Focused on just the Smith Creek component of Anna Ruby Falls from the end of the walk on the left fork

It took us about an hour to do both the walk and the photo taking (which involved a lot of waiting on others given how busy it was).


Anna Ruby Falls resides in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests near Helen in White County, Georgia. It is administered by the USDA Forest Service. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website or Facebook page. You can also visit the Anna Ruby Falls Recreation Area and Visitor Center website.

Anna_Ruby_Falls_003_20121014 - Start of the paved walk up to the Anna Ruby Falls
Anna_Ruby_Falls_004_20121014 - Passing beneath tall trees along the paved walkway on the way up to the Anna Ruby Falls
Anna_Ruby_Falls_012_20121014 - Approaching the attractive Anna Ruby Falls
Anna_Ruby_Falls_014_20121014 - Another look at the Anna Ruby Falls as we got closer to the end of the trail
Anna_Ruby_Falls_015_20121014 - Looking upstream from the bridge towards the dual segments of the Anna Ruby Falls
Anna_Ruby_Falls_041_20121014 - Looking up at the Anna Ruby Falls from the closest viewing platform on the left side of the combined creeks
Anna_Ruby_Falls_042_20121014 - Looking up at just the Smith Creek component from the end of the left-side trail at Anna Ruby Falls
Anna_Ruby_Falls_049_20121014 - Last look at Anna Ruby Falls before we started to head back to the parking lot

Anna Ruby Falls resides in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest just beyond the boundary of Unicoi State Park.

However, this waterfall sits in its own reserve independent of Unicoi State Park so the entry fees for the waterfall do not apply for Unicoi State Park and vice versa.

From the town of Helen, we took the Hwy 75 north about a mile to Hwy 356.

Turning right onto Hwy 356, we drove another 1.5 miles to the signposted Anna Ruby Falls Rd on our left.

Anna_Ruby_Falls_002_20121014 - The parking lot for the Anna Ruby Falls Recreational Area
The parking lot for the Anna Ruby Falls Recreational Area

We took this road to its end passing through Unicoi State Park (I’m sure the person at the kiosk might be sick of telling waterfall visitors to continue straight through to the other fee kiosk).

There was a very large parking lot for the Anna Ruby Falls.

We got to Helen from Amicalola Falls via Hwys 52, 115, and 75.

Given that there was Oktoberfest traffic in the town of Helen that costed us some 15 minutes or so, the overall drive took us about 90 minutes.

According to our maps, it takes about 90 minutes or 85 miles from downtown Atlanta to Helen via Hwys 400, 115, and 75.

Find A Place To Stay

Zoomed in top-down sweep of the falls before zooming out to show the waterfall's full context

Fixated on the falls from the footbridge

Right to left bottom up sweep from the upper platform

Left to right sweep from the lower platform

Tagged with: unicoi state park, white county, helen, georgia, waterfall, atlanta, john h nichols

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Anna Ruby Falls Cleveland, GA USA July 28, 2012 3:23 pm by Betty Davis - July 26, 2012, we took another hike to Anna Ruby Falls. With a heart condition, I felt a little reluctant to try it. But it's only four-tenths of a mile. There are several fairly steep inclines on the trail, but I did fine and made it to the top. Such a rewarding experience. We made… ...Read More

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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