Duke's Creek Falls, Georgia

Dukes Creek waterfalls seen through the trees
Dukes Creek waterfalls near Helen, Georgia

The first day we were in Helen, GA, we planned to visit Dukes Creek Falls, but missed the turn into the parking lot and end up at the parking lot for Raven Cliff Falls. So we took the hike to Raven Cliff and planned to return to Dukes Creek the next day.

The first view of Dukes Creek Falls is from an observation deck about 0.1 miles from the parking lot. The falls doesn't look like much from this viewpoint. The trees obscure much of the view and in late October 2011 there there wasn't much water in the falls.

Small waterfall on way to Dukes Creek Falls
Small waterfall on the way to Dukes Creek Falls

But because the description of the falls promised more than could be seen from the observation deck, we started down the 0.8 mile one way Dukes Creek Trail. The trail goes through Dukes Creek Gorge. We figured even if the falls wasn't much to look out, the views from the trail would be worth the hike.

Lower portion of Dukes Creek Falls
Lower end of Dukes Creek Falls
Lower Portion of Dukes Creek Falls
Lower end of Dukes Creek Falls, Helen, GA

When we reached the end of the trail, we found that the hike was worth it. The falls, even at low water, were very pretty. It was hard to see the full 300-feet drop of the falls because of the trees. There are numerous branches of the falls and I'm sure they would really be spectacular after a heavy rain or in the spring.

Cascade on Dukes Creek, Georgia
Cascade on Dukes Creek Near Helen, Georgia
Cascade on Dukes Creek, Georgia
Cascade on Dukes Creek Near Helen, Georgia

Gold was discovered in this area of Georgia in the late 1820s, but there is little evidence of that now. The guidebook claims that Dukes Creek still offers excellent gold panning opportunities. But we didn't try our luck.

Duke Creek Falls parking lot can be reached by taking GA 75 north from Helen for 1.5 miles. Turn left on GA 356 (Alternate 75) and go 2.3 miles to the Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway. Turn right and go two miles to the Dukes Creek Falls Recreation Area. When we were there in October 2011 the sign to the parking lot was hard to see coming from Helen see be on the lookout for the turn to the parking lot.