Smithgall Woods State Park

CATHY ELLIS TRAIL

0.5 mile one way; 2.8 miles from Visitor Center.

Also called the Chunanee Falls Trail, this memorial trail is in honor of Cathy Ellis, who loved the north Georgia mountains. A plaque at the trailhead tells the historical significance of this 640-acre tract. A moderate half-mile hike (mostly downhill) leads to a beautiful waterfall on what is known as the Alabama Branch. A short wooden bridge crosses a section of a historic water ditch, part of the early gold mining history. Deeply shaded by rhododendron, the last 400 yards is alongside a noisy stretch of Dukes Creek, and is a cool retreat in warm weather.

Directions

Located on Hwy. 75-A, between Cleveland and Helen, 90-minutes from Atlanta. From I-85-North: I-85 North to I-985 North. Take exit 24 and turn left on US 129 N traveling west. At the 2nd traffic light (1-mile), turn right on 129-N to Cleveland. Remain on 129-N through Cleveland (DO NOT TURN TO GO TO HELEN). Continue north on 129-N 3.5-miles and turn right on Hwy. 75-A. Smithgall Woods is 5.6 miles on the right. The Visitor Center with the guest check-in is located 200 yards inside the entrance gate. From GA 400 North: Follow GA 400 to the end. At the traffic light, continue straight ahead on Long Branch Rd. 4.5 miles to the traffic light. Turn right on Hwy. 52/115 and follow to Cleveland (12.9 miles). Turn left at the traffic light on the Cleveland square onto Hwy. 129-N. At the next traffic light, go straight (DO NOT TURN TO GO TO HELEN). Continue north on 129-N 3.5-miles and turn right on Hwy. 75-A. Smithgall Woods is 5.6 miles on the right. The Visitor Center with the guest check-in is located 200 yards inside the entrance gate.