Helen-National Forest camping...confused!

Thread starter #1
I'm looking for free camping in the Chattahoochee National Forest near Helen, and all I can find are paid campsites in developed campgrounds. On the one hand, you should be able to camp most anywhere within the NF, but, on the other hand, you can't just stop beside any road.

If I wanted a quick overnight (or more) near Helen, that is not too far from a road, where would I go? What are my options, other than staying in a paid campground?

Frustrated.:confused:
 
I've heard of people camping along FSR 44 (Chattahoochee River Road) above Helen. It's off of Hwy 75. Some of those roads also close a lot due to being wet and overused.

We had this same discussion years ago on this forum but I couldn't find it. One guy said he'd just sleep in his car if he couldn't find a spot after driving up at night. I guess he would look for a camping spot the next morning.

Good luck!
 
Reading this;
Forest Service road 44 (FS44) Just north of Helen. otherwise known as Chatahoochee WMA. There are 2 campgrounds, but pleny of primitive spots all over. Just go North through Helen about 6 miles & take a left onto FS44.
Keep riding until you see a good spot.
 
I think there are some trailhead car camping site at Raven Cliff Falls. If you have a backpack you can hike up the trail a bit and camp.

Reading there is camping by the parking lot.

"There are tons of sites along the path to the falls and in a back area by the parking lot."

"So far, this is our favorite car campsite in Georgia. Take the gravel road past the Raven Cliff Trail parking lot to find many great campsites. A few are available before you get to a water crossing, and there are at least a dozen more after the water but only cross in a AWD/truck/etc. We did it once in a sedan but it hadn’t rained in a while. Most are along a water source with lots of trees for hammocks, quite secluded and peaceful in the national forest."

"There is a restroom and trash receptacles at the trailhead and they are very close to the walk-in camp sites. There is plenty of room for group camping at both the walk-in and hike to sites."
 
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I'm looking for free camping in the Chattahoochee National Forest near Helen, and all I can find are paid campsites in developed campgrounds. On the one hand, you should be able to camp most anywhere within the NF, but, on the other hand, you can't just stop beside any road.

If I wanted a quick overnight (or more) near Helen, that is not too far from a road, where would I go? What are my options, other than staying in a paid campground?

Frustrated.:confused:
Is there reason you say "near Helen" ? Now if you were to the east/northeast I could help ya out. You get into Rabun County, there are literally 1000s of primative sites !
 
there are lots of places up by Wildcat Creek. It is probably 10 miles from Helen off Hwy 197. Turn on Wildcat Creek Road and go back about 3 miles to a camping area on the right. About another 2 miles there is another camping area, and several spot on the side of the road between the 2 sites
 
there are lots of places up by Wildcat Creek. It is probably 10 miles from Helen off Hwy 197. Turn on Wildcat Creek Road and go back about 3 miles to a camping area on the right. About another 2 miles there is another camping area, and several spot on the side of the road between the 2 sites
That's close enough to Helen for me and far enough away from the crowds that will be at those other camping places I mentioned. I'd say one needs to have a back up area in mind. Especially if it's one of those roads along a creek. Better have another road along a creek picked out.
 
That's close enough to Helen for me and far enough away from the crowds that will be at those other camping places I mentioned. I'd say one needs to have a back up area in mind. Especially if it's one of those roads along a creek. Better have another road along a creek picked out.
that road is over 7 miles long. Lots of spots to camp, and I have never seen it full in all my years of going up there. About 5 miles up and pass the last camping area is the Robert E Lee Natural Bridge, and a spot to camp after you cross the bridge.

 
that road is over 7 miles long. Lots of spots to camp, and I have never seen it full in all my years of going up there. About 5 miles up and pass the last camping area is the Robert E Lee Natural Bridge, and a spot to camp after you cross the bridge.

Beautiful, I've been up there a few times. We played at the sliding rock. Tried to catch some trout. Good times.

What is the Robert E Lee Natural Bridge?
 
Beautiful, I've been up there a few times. We played at the sliding rock. Tried to catch some trout. Good times.

What is the Robert E Lee Natural Bridge?
you have had a deprived life if you don't know about the Robert E Lee Natural Bridge.

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you have had a deprived life if you don't know about the Robert E Lee Natural Bridge.

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Well by golly, I sure appreciate the history lesson. I'll sure check it out on my next trip.

Oh, and for some reason I feel like I just went on a Snipe Hunt, lol!:D
 
Art, my wife and I have spent some time there, sitting on that log, soaking our feet in Wildcat Creek. If you soak them for about 20 minutes, they will be numb for at least an hour afterward. That is some cold, cold water.
 
I worked with a guy who would hike up the old, gated section of Wildcat Creek Road to Addis Gap on the Appalachian Trail. He also hiked up to the A.T. on the Moccasin Creek Trail. Seems like I read where that trial to the A.T. growed up wasn't maintained.
 
this is the area of the 2nd campground, it lays fairly flat, and most of the undergrowth is cleared out. It is just pasted the 4th bridge going up Wildcat on the left side of the road

2nd campground.png
 
I worked with a guy who would hike up the old, gated section of Wildcat Creek Road to Addis Gap on the Appalachian Trail. He also hiked up to the A.T. on the Moccasin Creek Trail. Seems like I read where that trial to the A.T. growed up wasn't maintained.
are you referring to Hemlock Falls Trail, going out from the fish hatchery at Moccasin Creek? That is a nice hike up to the falls
 
Thread starter #17
Is there reason you say "near Helen" ? Now if you were to the east/northeast I could help ya out. You get into Rabun County, there are literally 1000s of primative sites !
That's where I happened to be at the time.

Now I would like to broaden this to a different, though similar, question: Coming from the Lamar/Spalding County areas in mid-state, where are the best National Forest primitive spots that will not involve a bunch of hiking, say a half mile or less. Too out of shape, etc., now to attempt more. Then there's the age thing. No spring chicken here. More like year before last chicken. So maybe longer distances later.

Two areas of interest, preferably close to water of any size:

1. Closest and most convenient to me.

2. A Pretty hill/mountain site.

I wouldn't ask anyone to reveal their honey spots, but maybe you could suggest some good but not top-of-your-list sites.

And thanks to all for the info so far.
 
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That's where I happened to be at the time.

Now I would like to broaden this to a different, though similar, question: Coming from the Lamar/Spalding County areas in mid-state, where are the best National Forest primitive spots that will not involve a bunch of hiking, say a half mile or less. Too out of shape, etc., now to attempt more. Then there's the age thing. No spring chicken here. More like year before last chicken. So maybe longer distances later.

Two areas of interest, preferably close to water of any size:

1. Closest and most convenient to me.

2. A Pretty hill/mountain site.

I wouldn't ask anyone to reveal their honey spots, but maybe you could suggest some good but not top-of-your-list sites.

And thanks to all for the info so far.
Anywhere in the Overflow Creek water shed. Warwoman WMA (search up Walnut Fork Creek), anywhere along Hale Ridge Rd and Tottery Pole Creek (not far from Overflow), Coleman River, Patterson Gap Rd (lots of roads off the main rd), Popcorn Creek, the old Lake Burton WMA (aka Wildcat Creek, many other rds besides the one up the creek). Those should keep ya busy searching for a day or so. If ya want to travel lite, there are some good spots along the Chattooga River.

These places are in Rabun county.
 
Now there is a place on a lake where I go alot through the week so I am pretty sure to get it if ya interested in camping on a lake. If I can get it it, I don't have to load unload load back up and unload when I get my boat back home !
 

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Thread starter #20
Anywhere in the Overflow Creek water shed. Warwoman WMA (search up Walnut Fork Creek), anywhere along Hale Ridge Rd and Tottery Pole Creek (not far from Overflow), Coleman River, Patterson Gap Rd (lots of roads off the main rd), Popcorn Creek, the old Lake Burton WMA (aka Wildcat Creek, many other rds besides the one up the creek). Those should keep ya busy searching for a day or so. If ya want to travel lite, there are some good spots along the Chattooga River.

These places are in Rabun county.
Thanks!
 
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