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Hikers may trek through Smithgall Woods State Park on Jan. 1
During the Smithgall Woods State Park’s First Visit Tour, participants will see the covered bridge.

While some residents plan to mark the new year with football watching, others may venture outdoors to take in the wonders of the woods at area parks.

The Smithgall Woods State Park will host its First Day Hike at 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 1, at 61 Tsalaki Trail, in Helen.

Visitors may stroll from the Smithgall Woods Visitor’s Center to the rustic log cabin on a winter day for some warm cider and a beautiful view. During the guided hike, guests may see the cottages of Smithgall and enjoy a warm apple cider. Then the hikers may continue to Dukes Creek Falls, if they choose.

Cost is $5 for a park pass per vehicle or a Friends Annual Pass.

A week later, the park will sponsor its annual First Visit Tour from 9–10:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, at the Visitor’s Center. It cost $5 for parking,

Visitors will learn about Smithgall Woods State Park on a brief walking tour of the Visitor Center area and a van tour through the park. Participants will see the covered bridge, the famous Dukes Creek and the park’s renowned cottages. 

Registering in advance is encouraged.

Upcoming events include:

  • Second Saturday Hike on Laurel Ridge Trail from 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, Jan. 9, at the Visitor’s Center. Cost is $5 for parking.
  • Introduction to Beekeeping from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Jan. 16, at the Visitor’s Center. Cost is $20 by Jan. 9 and $25 afterward. A $5 parking fee required.

For reservations or more information, call 706-878-3087 or visit