Saturday, July 26, 2008
Cooling it in Helen-Tubing the Chattahoochee
If you are looking for something easy, cheap, cool and fun for both adults and kids of all ages, it's hard to beat tubing through downtown Helen, Georgia in the summertime. Helen is no more than 2 hours away from most of metro Atlanta, Chattanooga, Greenville-Spartanburg and all points in between-so even the $4 a gallon gas is a little easier to swallow for a day trip or vacation to this popular north Georgia mountain destination. There are two main tube rental companies in Helen and both charge $3-4 for tube rental which includes full shuttle service as needed for what is generally a 2-3 hour float from the north end of town to the south.
Green and Pink tubes and their occupants proceed in an orderly fashion down the river on every summer day from about 9 am till near dark. This is a leisurely float with little in the way of dangerous rapids or snags..in fact it is advised that you bring or purchase a "tubing stick" to help you make your way through the shallower areas when the water level is low. Higher water levels make for a faster but still safe and enjoyable trip. Try to avoid the few groups who want to tie 6-8 tubes together into huge rafts..they will constantly clog some of the narrower passages and sit there vacantly wondering why this keeps happening to them rather than untie their tubes and open up the river for those they are causing problems for. Just stop and swim or sit on some rocks for a while until these dimwits clear out. Tube traffic on the river is. of course, lighter on weekdays and heavier on the weekends and holidays.
Tubes are available at Cool River Tubing (the green tubes) and at the Helen Fleamarket/Alpine Valley Waterpark Company (the pink tubes). Both have locations at both ends of the trip and you can pay/start and any of the locations then use the appropriate shuttle buses as needed.
Flea Market Tubing Helen, GA by Mountainfreak Outdoors
Helen Fleamarket Rental Location North Of Town
The water temperature of the Chattahoochee as it flows through Helen varies from the high 50's to the mid 60's, offering a welcome respite from the heat. Tubing is a great way to enjoy the river and the river view of Alpine Helen. I've seen folks pull their tubes up to the shore in the middle of town and make the short walk up to Jordano's Pizza or Wendy's for lunch then go back and continue their float. It really is laid back and relaxed ...and fitting with the pace of life that brings people up to enjoy the .north Georgia mountains.