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 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.

1 comment:

Harriet Carter said...

Dear Mountainfreak,

I enjoyed your blog today, because I live and work in the Helen area (White County, GA) and LOVE to see all the folks in the river, cooling it and chillin.'
(When you stand on the bridge by Paul's Steakhouse on Main Street and see all those colorful tubes- looks like GIANT Fruit Loops cereal rings floating by!) ;-)

I also live on the Chattahooee.
Not IN Helen, but in Sautee-Nacoochee, so I get to see tubers and kayakers go past my front door almost daily!
If anyone who reads your blog would like additional information about Helen Georgia and the area, I would be happy to oblige.
I have lots of websites and links to various North Georgia Mountain attractions and the rivers and lakes - that I would be happy to share.

Keep on blogging and loving these glorious North Georgia Mountains!

Thanks again for the "cool plug" about Helen! It's a neat and unique place- and you are SO right about it being an affordable day trip from Atlanta o cool down this summer. Better than a "staycation!"
Heck- for the weekend- it's not that far from Florida!

All the best!

Harriet Carter, Realtor

North Georgia Mountain Realty
53 Highway 255
Sautee-Nacoochee, GA 30571