Helen to Hardman Heritage Trail in Helen, Georgia

Helen to Hardman Heritage Trail in Helen, Georgia

In late August I took a 30-minute drive to Helen, Georgia and walked the Hardman Heritage Trail. The weather was hot and humid, and it reached 90 degrees.

The trail follows the Chattahoochee River from Hardman Farm State Historic Site, past the log damn in back of the Nora Mill Granary (see photo), all the way to the back roads of Helen, Georgia.

Nora Mill Granary and Log Dam in Helen, Georgia

This short trail is only 1.8 miles, with mostly shaded paths. It is completely paved and ADA accessible.

Enjoy a flat, easy stroll (see paved trail with railings) through various state park signs, historical markers, and beautifully built stone arbors that welcome you at every entrance.

Hardman Heritage Trail in Helen, Georgia. This short trail is only 1.8 miles and is completely paved and ADA accessible.

I parked in the north side of the trail (see photo below) to head south toward the Hardman Farm State Historical Site. Stone pillars and entrance to the Hardman Heritage Trail in Helen, Georgia

Interpretive panels along the way share detailed information about native plants, animals, industries, and native peoples that called this area home through the centuries.

At the start of the north trail is a Chattahoohee River and Valley historical sign (sign below) that tells all about the importance of the Chattahoohee River (photo below) in this area.

Interpretive sign on the Hardman Heritage Trail that explains the Chattahoochee River's importance to the area.

Chattahoochee River in Helen, Georgia

A fun postcard sign said “Greetings from Hardman Farms.” You can stick you head in the people holes. I couldn’t resist the yellow gingham dress character hole, so you can see my photo below.

Fun postcard sign for visitor's to interact with on the Hardman Heritage Trail.

As I got to the end of the trail, I spotted an historical marker about the Unicoi Turnpike (see photo) that was quite interesting. It reads:

The Unicoi Turnpike historical marker at the Hardman Heritage Trail in Helen, Georgia.

“The Unicoi Turnpike passed here. The turnpike was the first vehicular route to connect North Georgia and Tennessee with the head of navigation on the Savannah River system. Beginning on the Tugaloo River to the east of Toccoa, the road led this way, thence across Nacoochee Valley, over the Blue Ridge through Unicoi Gap and past Murphy, North Carolina, to Ninemile Creek near Marysville, Tennessee. The Cherokee granted permission to open the route as a toll road in 1813. Tennessee and Georgia granted charters to the concern. Prior to its opening as a road in 1819, the way was part of a trading path.”

The end of the trail goes to the Hardman Farm Gift Shop. That’s a fun shop full of tourist items and memorabilia to take home.

One of the most famous sites in the Sautee Nacoochee area is the Sautee Nacoochee Indian Mound (see photo below).

Sautee Nacoochee Indian Mound near Hardman Heritage Trail in Helen, Georgia.

It’s an archaeological site that dates back to before the Cherokee Indians. The Nacoochee Mound is a burial site, the graves in most probability having been placed there long before the Cherokee Tribe inhabited the area. 

It was an ironic coincidence that I had just watched the movie, I’d Climb the Highest Mountain, a few days earlier (see photo).

I’d Climb the Highest Mountain movie poster at the start of the north entrance to Hardman Heritage Trail in Helen, Georgia.

The movie was filmed in North Georgia. See my blog post about the Stovall Mill Covered Bridge, which is literally up the road from the Hardman Farm State Historical Site. In the movie Susan Hayward and husband ride a horse-drawn carriage across the covered bridge. 

I will definitely go back in October when the leaves change and the temperature is cooler.

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