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First-timers tour Smithgall Woods State Park from comfort of a van
Visitors to Smithgall Woods State Park may view the covered bridge as well as Dukes Creek and cottages during the park’s van tour Aug. 1 in Helen.

Ever wonder about the sites to see inside the Smithgall Woods State Park in Helen? Well, you can wander in the woods without walking.

On the first Saturday of each month, the park hosts a first visit tour, which entails an introduction to the visitors center and the park. At the visitors center, participates will learn about the park followed by a van tour.

Participants will see the covered bridge, the famous Dukes Creek and the park’s renowned cottages.

The tour begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, at 61 Tsalaki Trail, Helen. The tour is free, but donations are welcomed.

If visitors want to experience the terrain of the woods first-hand, a guided hike of the Cathy Ellis Trail will be Saturday, Aug. 8, at the park.

Considered a moderate hike, the milelong trial will begin at 9 a.m. The guide will explain the historical gold mining significance and show visitors a waterfall along the way.

Both tours are free, but it costs $5 for parking without an annual pass.

Call 706-878-3087 or visit for more information.