The location in Helen was awesome! It is remote enough to get away from the busy streets of Helen, GA. The other camp houses are near and you’ll hear your neighbor occasionally, but the sites are pretty private. Small creek near so you can hear the water running at night. :) you can venture off trail, we found a spot on the chattahoochee river like that, which we got to enjoy with no crowd!
Campground Review: Nacoochee Adventures is located just before Helen at the beginning of the Nacoochee Valley. They offer small primitive camping in vardo type wagons and tree houses as well as zip lining. We went as a family of 4 and half of us did the moonshine canopy tour while the other half did the quick zip, a half mile zip down the mountain. My son did both lines and preferred the quick zip. The canopy tour takes you back into the woods to view and old reclaimed moonshine still and gives you a great view of the wild ferns on the forest floor. The guides are all very friendly, great with kids, and generally positive people. They also offer smaller zip lines for kids, parties, and a giant swing. You can buy local beer and wine after your tour on site.
We stayed in the creek tree house and to our surprise, they gave us an off road golf cart with our treehouse to transport our stuff up the mountain to our site. If you ask, they will give you directions on how to drive your cart through the trails to get to the Nacoochee Tavern for pizza and more local beer and wine as well as some great shopping.
We went in June and it was a typical hot Georgia day so we opted to wait until late in the afternoon to head to our campsite and were pleasantly surprised at how much we could do right there from the check in area. We walked across the road and visited the Hardman Farm, a DNR run site with the old Hardman home and buildings across from the famed Indian mound. From there you can either walk or bike the Helen to Hardman Trail to Helen and skip the ridiculous tourist traffic. From there you can walk or bike a good portion of the city of Helen, depending on how deep into tourist land you want to go.
The treehouse is nice and shaded with a fire ring, a hammock, and a path to a small creek. There is an outhouse nearby but they leave a special door open at the main house for you to access bathrooms and showers via the golf cart 24/7. Our tree house had a full bed in the loft and a king bed in the main area and lots of citronella candles outside to ward off the bugs but as soon as it got dark, the mountain air cooled everything off and we could forget the heat while we slept.
In addition to the Hardman Farm, the Sautee Nacoochee Center is nearby as well as the old Sautee Store, just past the Indian mound. By bike, you can access these locations and loop back to Helen on Bean Creek Road which passes a lovely roadside waterfall. If you want to check out Helen from the point of view of how things were before tourists and motorcycles this is he perfect jumping off point, literally. Zip the treetops and then hop on your bike!
Product Review: As a Dyrt ranger, I get to review cool products and on this trip I tried out the Primus Primetek stove set 1.3 L. When I first got this stove I worried it would be "too much stove" for basic backpacking. But I have found that with a family it works perfectly to heat up water fast and enough of it to make coffee and pour into Dehydrated food bags for everyone. I have yet to attempt real cooking on it like pancakes or sautéing but the hear output is very efficient and even and clean, which makes me think it will be fine. The metal hose that connects to the gas sort of winds around the bottom and there is a hook to hold it. It I have had a little trouble repacking it in the bag to sit flat. This is a minor OCD observation. Also, the bag it comes in does not include room for the fuel so when you are packing your stuff you always want to remember your fuel. I have not forgotten fuel yet but can understand how that might happen. Overall, it is a great stove for us and our needs, a little pricey but worth it.