Helen is a city located on the Chattahoochee River in White County in the north of the U.S. state of Georgia. The main road through town is north/south Georgia 75. The Helen stream gauge (HELG1) is located on its bridge over the Chattahoochee in the middle of downtown. A parallel route to the west is labeled Georgia 75 Alt to identify it as a bypass route around the town, and its massive traffic jams in the autumn and on some other weekends. The Unicoi State Park and Lodge is located immediately northeast of Helen on Georgia 356. Access to Anna Ruby Falls, part of the Chattahoochee National Forest, is through the park.
Formerly a logging town that was in decline, the city resurrected itself by becoming a replica of a Bavarian alpine town, in the Appalachians instead of the Alps. This design is mandated through zoning first adopted in 1969, so that the classic south-German style is present on every building, even for the small number of national franchisees present (such as Huddle House). Because of this, tourism is the main industry in Helen, catering mostly to weekend visitors from the Atlanta area. Helen is extremely crowded in late October, when autumn leaves typically peak. It also hosts its own Oktoberfest during September, October and November. There are many events and festivals throughout the year. One of the most well-known is the annual hot-air balloon race, which is held the first weekend in June each year.