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Tips for Visiting Unicoi State Park

Spring is the perfect time to get back to the mountains. See what Unicoi State Park, called “Georgia’s Adventure Lodge”, has in store!

In this post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the history of Unicoi State Park, what there is to do in the park, and more important tips for visiting.

Unicoi State Park

Unicoi State Park

Unicoi State Park and Lodge is situated on 1,050 acres of the Chattahoochee National Forest. The focal piece of the park is the 53 acre Unicoi Lake.

The state park is the perfect place to unplug and enjoy the great outdoors. From hiking to water sports to zip-lining, there is something for everyone!

Unicoi State Park

Located just two miles northeast of Helen in the North Georgia Mountains, Unicoi State Park is a great mountain retreat destination. Nearby are other popular mountain towns like Dahlonega, Hiawassee, and Sautee Nacoochee. And Atlanta is only 1 hour and 40 minutes away.

Dogs and pets are allowed at all Georgia State Parks as long as they’re leashed.

Parking at Unicoi State Park costs $5. The park is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Unicoi Lodge: Georgia’s Adventure Lodge

Unicoi Lodge, Unicoi State Park

The Unicoi Lodge is the hub of all things happening at the state park. The lodge has 96 rooms, and plenty with a mountain view, as well as the Smith Creek Tavern and the Unicoi Restaurant, which has an excellent buffet.

When you stay at the lodge, a state park pass is included in your fees. The Unicoi Adventures Gift Shop is where you can book your adventure excursions, which depart from the lodge.

Kevin and I have stayed at the Unicoi Lodge before during Kevin’s family reunion. We gathered in the Mountain View Room of the Unicoi Restaurant, relaxed around the fire pit, and bonded over the zip-line adventure.

Unicoi State Park Facilities

If you’re looking to stay overnight at the park, they have a 96-room lodge; 85 tent, trailer, and RV campsites; 29 cabins and cottages with one, two, or three bedrooms, including their unique Historic Barrel Cabins; 16 Squirrel’s Nest camping shelters; and 4 glamping sites with completely furnished Safari Tents.

If you just want to picnic for the day, they offer 7 picnic shelters as well as meeting rooms and event rooms that you can reserve.

There’s plenty of space for play at the park’s playgrounds, beach, and swimming area.

Unicoi State Park Hikes

Unicoi to Helen Trail, Unicoi State Park

Unicoi State Park is perfect for exploring with its 12 miles of hiking trails. All of the park’s hiking trail trailheads are located at the fare end of the level 3 lodge parking area.

  • The 3 mile Unicoi to Helen Trail takes you from the lodge to Unicoi Hill City Park in Helen.
  • The 2 mile Bottoms Loop Trail hikes through the hardwood forest and along the banks of Smith Creek.
  • The 0.33 mile Frog Pond Nature Trail makes a short loop around Frog Pond and is marked by interpretive signs.
  • The 2.5 mile Lake Trail loops around Unicoi Lake with stops at numbered docks along the way.
  • The 4.8 mile Smith Creek Trail is a strenuous hike that takes you from the state park to Anna Ruby Falls.

Hiking Essentials

Come prepared for your hike by making sure you pack the essentials. Check out this must-have hiking gear before you set off on the trails:

More Things To Do at Unicoi State Park

Unicoi Lake, Unicoi State Park

This Georgia State Park isn’t called “Georgia’s Adventure Lodge” for nothing! There are so many more adventurous things to do around the park.

You can try your hand at archery or shooting at the Air Gun Range. You can go on a 3 mile GPS scavenger hunt around the park. Mountain bikers will love the park’s 7.5 mile exclusive mountain biking trail. You can even take a guided nature hike.

One of the more popular activities is the Screaming Eagle Aerial Adventures zip-line course. On this adventure, you coast across the canopy on 11 zip lines and 7 bridges. (Quick tip: if you lean on a tree and get sap in your hair, hand sanitizer helps loosen up the knots). The guides are fun, often armed with an arsenal of corny jokes and puns. If you master the first course, you can upgrade for second and more scenic course. (Another quick tip: to zip faster, pull your legs up into a cannonball position.)

For those interested in water sports, there are paddleboard and kayak rentals, as well as fly fishing classes.

Unicoi State Park FAQ

How much does it cost to go to Unicoi State Park?

Parking at Unicoi State Park costs $5.

Does Unicoi State Park have a swimming beach?

Unicoi State Park does have a beach area for swimming

What is the history of Unicoi State Park?

Unicoi State Park was named after the Unicoi Turnpike, a toll road that was used in the 1830’s to bring the first white settlers to the area. The name Unicoi comes from the Cherokee word “unega” meaning “white”.

What is the name of the lake at Unicoi State Park?

The lake’s official name is Smith Lake, but most people just refer to it as Unicoi Lake.

Final Thoughts on Visiting Unicoi State Park

Unicoi State Park in the North Georgia Mountains is an ideal retreat for those looking to enjoy the great outdoors.

The park offers an abundance of activities for the whole family — from jungle gyms and playgrounds for the little ones to zip-lining and paddleboarding for the older.

With a state-of-the-art lodge, cabins, camping, and more, Unicoi State Park, “Georgia’s Adventure Lodge”, is the perfect place to visit

Things to Do Near Unicoi State Park

Helen, Georgia

During your stay at the Unicoi State Park & Lodge, head out to explore these other great things to do near the state park.

  • Visit the Alpine village of Helen — great for getting dinner and feeling like you’ve been transported to Germany.
  • Hike Anna Ruby Falls — two gorgeous waterfalls accessed by Unicoi State Park; however, your Georgia State Park Pass will not count toward Anna Ruby as it is part of the Chattahoochee National Forest, so you’ll have to pay for the separate pass.
  • Hike the Appalachian Trail — the southern start point of the AT begins at Amicalola Falls State Park.
  • Visit Dahlonega — pan for gold at the Consolidated Gold Mine or get close to exotic animals at the Chestatee Wildlife Preserve.

Ready to visit Unicoi State Park in Georgia? Plan your trip with these tips.

  • Book your flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
  • Find accommodation: You can find book your stay at the Unicoi Lodge for the best experience.
  • Get packing: Make sure you’ve packed everything you need with my packing list resources.



Tips for Visiting Unicoi State Park

What’s your favorite Georgia State Park? Let me know in the comments!

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