Adventure

5 Hiking Trails For Your Next Adventure in Cleveland GA

Published 05/14/24 | By Stephen Jones

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If we can all agree on one thing about North Georgia, it’s that prime hiking locations are not scarce. As you drive into the Blue Ridge mountains, the abundance of trails, waterfalls, and scenic views is immediately apparent. Whether you’re planning a day trip, weekend getaway, or even an extended stay, you’ll have no problem connecting with nature and tapping your adventurous side within the gateway region. Just 1.5 hours north of Atlanta, Cleveland stands out for its gorgeous scenery and great hikes. Unplug from the hustle and bustle of daily life amongst waterfalls, open trails, wildlife and breathtaking vistas. As you plan your next excursion with family, friends, or even pets, let’s take a look at five must-see waterfalls and hiking trails in Cleveland, GA.

Mt Yonah
Yonah Mountain | Photo by Andy Brophy

Yonah Mountain

As the centerpiece of Cleveland, GA and White County, you can’t drive too far without missing this stunning mountain. With its sheer size and distinct rock face, Yonah Mountain is a staple in the region. AllTrails ranks Yonah as the #1 hike in Georgia, and for good reason. Rising 1,453 vertical feet from the bottom, the view at the top is worth the challenging trek. 

A 4.1 mile round trip is no easy feat, as twists, turns, and sometimes daunting hill-climbs await you before you reach the summit. However, the reward at the peak is spectacular, showcasing the rolling hills of the region. You can see several local businesses from the crest, including NoFo Brew Co. For advanced hikers, enjoy a late afternoon hike up and a stellar sunset, as long as you can commit to a dark hike down. The view is one of the most vast in the state, rivaling peaks like Brasstown Bald. The trailhead, located on Chambers Rd just off of Helen Highway is easily accessible by all vehicles. While a moderately challenging hike, Yonah is still fun for all ages, and even pups. Just make sure to pack water and snacks for this half-day hike!

Kayaking on the Lake | Photo by Andy Brophy

Yonah Preserve Trails

Not to be confused with the iconic Yonah Mountain trail, Yonah Preserve (YPT) offers a less intense but equally enriching hike through the North Georgia wilderness. Doubling as a popular mountain biking hub, this 1,000+ acre multi-use trail system located just 2.5 miles from downtown Cleveland provides relaxing walks and exciting bike rides, while also delivering a sense of isolation and remoteness. 

With 20 miles of trails, four different routes, and a reservoir at the heart of the land, YPT opened in 2018 and has done nothing but flaunt the beauty of the foothill forests that you search for in your next adventurous outing. Along with hiking and biking, fishing and kayaking is also allowed and encouraged on the reservoir, with bass, brim and a few other species to catch with a proper license. Created and maintained solely by the local community, YPT is a perfect half-day activity that can easily turn into a full-day stay.

Hiking in Cleveland | Photo by Andy Brophy

Hardman Farm Trail

The Hardman Farm Trail offers a relaxing, riverside stroll through the woods.. Whether you are searching for a gentle hike with the family or trying to walk off the beer and wine you drank while in Helen, this hike is very approachable. 

Easily accessible from both sides and quite undemanding, this one-mile path runs alongside the famed Chattahoochee River, and connects the Hardman Farm State Historic Site with Alpine Helen. You will pass by a multitude of native plants and animals, with interpretive information provided on panels scattered throughout the path. Also along the trail are historic recounts of the area and insight into the popularity of small North GA town, dating back hundreds of years. Open from dawn to dusk, Hardman Farm Trail is suited for all ages.

Raven Cliff Falls | Photo by Explore Georgia

Raven Cliff Falls

High peaks, rivers, and biking trails are always intriguing, but waterfalls supply an equally healthy connection to nature and a tranquility hard to match. Raven Cliff Falls, located just over 10 miles north of downtown Cleveland, is a 4.9 mile round trip trek that can be argued as one of Georgia’s premier outdoor experiences. 

The winding trail follows a trout stream that is fed by the various waterfalls in the area, all in a forest of towering hardwoods that are reminiscent of the Redwood forests of California. Along with 2.5 miles of trails, camping is also among the popular activities that locals and visitors utilize during their time in Northeast Georgia. Raven Cliff Falls is the must-see waterfall, cascading down steep cliffs and moss-covered granite, enhancing the lush wilderness for an unbeatable serene landscape.

Dukes Creek Falls | Photo by Thomas Wilkerson

Dukes Creek Falls

If one waterfall isn’t enough, Dukes Creek Falls is for you. Extending only one mile into the forest from the trailhead, expect to find cascading waterfalls before being wowed by the 150 foot main attraction that drops into what becomes Dukes Creek. With viewing decks scattered throughout, this picturesque trail also provides solitude and serene areas for those in search of isolation. 

Located a mere mile away from Raven Cliff Falls, one can easily accomplish seeing both spectacles during a one-day outing. A 2.3 mile out-and-back trip with an abundance of lush forest, diverse plant life, and various wildlife will leav