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) with a tall multi-tiered series of cascades and steep drops (said to 153ft in cumulative height) on the left and a shorter but more vertical drop waterfall (said to be 50ft) on the right. According to our maps, the one on the left comes from Smith Creek (though other sources say it’s Curtis Creek) and the one on the right comes from York Creek. Put it all together, and we were treated to an impressive display of a virtual wall of water interspersed with the onset of Autumn colors.
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 waterfall 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. Meanwhile, the larger viewing platforms on the left side of the combined creek brought us closer to the falls where we could examine the individual waterfalls more closely while trying to take photos directly in front of them.
The walk from the large car park (see directions below) to the viewing platforms was 0.4 miles each way (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.
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).
Apparently, the falls got its name from Anna Ruby Nichols, who was the daughter of wealthy White County resident and owner of much of the area encompassing the waterfall named John H. Nichols.
Anna Ruby Falls resides in the very back of Unicoi State Park. However, this waterfall sits in its own state park independent of Unicoi State Park (therefore entree fees are for this waterfall and not for Unicoi State Park).
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. 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 car park area for the 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.
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