From the historic Smith House Inn and Old Storehouse Inn to Barefoot Hills and the Mountain Laurel Creek Inn & Spa, there are lots of different hotels in Dahlonega GA for visitors to choose from.
But for our money, the Forrest Hills Mountain Resort & Conference Center ranks among the best places to stay in Dahlonega, offering excellent value, awesome amenities, and gorgeous natural surroundings.
It’s one of our favorite places for romantic getaways in North Georgia, with restaurants, horseback riding, carriage rides, hiking trails, and even couples massages on the property.
We also love that they offer pet-friendly cabin rentals, which include refined rustic interiors, plush king-size beds, indoor hot tubs, and romantic fireplaces perfect for cozy canoodling on a cold winter’s night.
Read on for our review of Forrest Hills Resort, including an in-depth look at their pet-friendly cabins, property amenities, and a few of our favorite things to do in the surrounding area.
Forrest Hills Resort Info
ADDRESS: 135 Forrest Hills Rd, Dahlonega GA, 30533
PHONE: 706-864-6456 (local); 800-654-6313 (toll free)
OFFICE HOURS: Monday-Thursday 8AM-8PM; Friday 8AM-10PM; Saturday 8AM-9PM; Sunday 8AM-6:30PM
EMAIL: [email protected]
DIRECTIONS FROM ATLANTA
From Atlanta, take I-75/I-85 north to exit 251B on the left for I-85 N toward GA-400/Greenville. Continue north on I-85 for 2.2 miles, then take exit 87 for GA-400 N toward Buckhead/Cumming.
Take GA-400 N/US-19 N for 6.3 miles, where it merges with US-19 N. Keep left to stay on US-19 N and follow it for approximately 41 miles.
Turn left onto GA-136 W and stay on it for 11.9 miles, then turn right onto State Rte 342. In 3.6 miles, continue onto Wesley Chapel Rd, then turn left onto Chester Rd in one mile.
Forrest Hills Mountain Resort & Conference Center offers a diverse array of Dahlonega cabins with hot tubs, group lodges, and hotel rooms to choose from, with a combined total of 85 rooms.
There’s a romantic Honeymoon Cabin, a 1-BR Bungalow (2 adults, 1 child), 2-BR Cabins that hold up to 6 adults/4 kids, and Deluxe Double Cabins for up to 5 adults/3 kids.
Their group lodges can hold 8 to 16 people.
Their restaurants feature separate dining rooms for retreats, banquets, and couples. There are also 7 meeting rooms on the property, plus a chapel/gazebo for weddings.
The property also has an outdoor pool, horseback riding, carriage rides, volleyball court, and more.
Looking for more cabins in Georgia? Check out these guides!
Forrest Hills Resort History
The history of the Forrest Hills Resort dates back to 1977, when the West Palm Beach-based Kraft family bought 140 acres of land approximately 13 miles west of the tiny mountain town of Dahlonega GA.
This pristine stretch of wilderness near the southern tip of the Blue Ridge Mountains had no electricity, running water, or telephones, and the Florida-based family had virtually no construction experience.
So it was a gargantuan leap of faith when Frank Kraft dropped his son David (age 17) and daughter Denise (19) off that summer to begin building the first of many Dahlonega cabins.
The siblings used basic hand tools, drank water pumped by hand from a 110-year-old well, bathed in a nearby creek, and ate mostly raw food and peanut butter.
Frank, who’d taken a class in architecture, flew up from Florida every few weeks to take them out to dinner at local restaurants, where he would sketch construction plans out on placemats.
David and Denise endured one of the coldest winters in Georgia state history. But they also made friends with neighbors who introduced them to traditional country-style food, and fell in love with Dahlonega and the natural beauty of nearby attractions (which include Amicalola Falls and the Appalachian Trail).
Eventually they’d built 5 cabins, and before long the family had opened one of the first major Dahlonega resorts.
Forrest Fills has grown and evolved a lot over the last 40+ years, but it’s still family owned and operated.
Younger sister Michele came aboard as Director of PR & Marketing in 1988, and Denise got her Masters Degree in Hospitality & Hotel Management in 2005.
Denise did interior design for all the resort’s rooms, while David remained in charge of construction and landscaping the grounds.
Today, David and Michele still own and run Forrest Hills Resort (Denise has retired, but lives on the grounds), and their kids represent the third generation of Krafts to work there.
In recent years they’ve renovated many of the resort’s cabin rentals, adding fresh paint, Amish-made furniture, new mattresses, and other upgrades.
Our Pet-Friendly Cabin at Forrest Hills Resort
Tucked in the very back of the Forrest Hills Resort complex, our 2-bedroom pet-friendly cabin seemed HUGE (1,400 square feet, to be exact) compared to many of the other mountain cabins we’ve stayed in.
The full kitchen had everything we needed, including a stove, microwave, fridge, coffee maker, dishes, and utensils, as well as a 4-seat dining table.
The living room included a sofa (with pull-out day bed), chairs, a flat screen TV, and a romantic gas log fireplace with an automatic timer.
But our favorite feature was the swanky dog bed, which our 14-year-old Aussie Shepherd mix, Huckleberry, immediately claimed as his own.
The expansive bedrooms were at opposite ends of the cabin, but both included ultra-comfortable King-size beds, ceiling fans, and spacious bathrooms with showers. There’s also a half-bath right by the front door.
We really enjoyed the upscale rustic vibe of the place, which included wood floors and ceilings, lodge-style furniture, and tasteful nature-themed decor.
But our favorite part of the cabin was the enclosed addition featuring an indoor hot tub, porch swing, climate control, and lots of towels.
Every night we would come back from a long day of exploring the small town and soak in the hot tub, then curl up with our dogs on the sofa in front of the fireplace.
We loved the fact that the cabin was surrounded by forest, with a back deck that made us feel immersed in nature.
There’s also a large fire pit outside, surrounded by Adirondack chairs: It’s a perfect spot for roasting s’mores and watching the stars come out at night.
READ MORE: 101+ Things to Do in North Georgia
Forrest Hills Resort Amenities
But you can also have a blast at Forrest Hills Mountain Resort without ever leaving the property.
Their restaurant features two dining rooms (including one that’s reserved for couples only), with a daily breakfast buffet, Sunday brunch from 11:30 AM to 2 PM, and lunch and dinner available every day but Sunday.
There are also two dining rooms for banquets, and outdoor seating and packed picnic lunches are available.
The resort is also home to Dahlonega Carriage & Horse Rides, which offers an array of horseback riding tours that depart from their “Gold City Corral.”
Tours range from one to two hours for beginners to a 4-hour ride for experienced riders, and are a great way to explore the woods around the property.
Families will love gem mining at their 2,000-square-foot General Store (where you can also buy buy s’mores kits to roast on the property’s 3 fire pits); swimming in the outdoor pool; or playing badminton, basketball, and volleyball.
Gear is available for guests to check out at the front desk attached no additional charge.
For romantic getaways, couples may enjoy an on-site massage, soaking in the hot tubs available at many of the resort’s cabins and lodges, or hiking the various nature trails that wind throughout the property.
Forrest Hills is also home to two wedding gardens, a chapel, and three reception venues that can hold up to 175 people, with an experienced wedding photographer on staff.
Amicalola Falls State Park
Located 5.5 miles west of Forrest Hills Resort in Dawsonville GA, Amicalola Falls State Park is home to the tallest and most beautiful North Georgia waterfalls.
The path to reach it from the bottom is one of our favorite easy waterfall hiking trails in Georgia. But the state park also offers 9 other hiking trails in a range of difficulty levels.
They include the wheelchair-accessible West Ridge Falls Access Trail, the one-mile East Ridge Trail, and the ever-popular New Appalachian Approach trail.
Note that Amicalola is one of the state’s most popular state parks. So if you want to hike these trails without being crowded, we recommend visiting on a weekday or early on weekends, especially in peak season.
Montaluce Winery & Restaurant
Everyone has their personal favorites, but Wolf Mountain Vineyards, Cavender Creek Vineyards, Accent Cellars, and Montaluce are frequently mentioned among the best Dahlonega wineries.
For our money, Montaluce Winery (which is 8.5 miles east of Forrest Hills) also boasts one of the best restaurants in Dahlonega GA.
It features a romantic setting, stunning scenic views of the North Georgia mountains, and an excellent fine dining menu.
We loved their Deconstructed Shepherd’s Pie (skirt steak, purple mashed potatoes, roasted baby carrots, and puff pastry) and Pan-seared Duck Breast (served with roasted mashed cauliflower, sautéed Swiss chard, and a stone black cherry gastrique).
If you visit, make sure to save room for dessert, because their Bailey’s Irish Creme S’Mores is sinfully delicious!
Dahlonega is one of the oldest towns in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia, with history dating back to the Georgia Gold Rush in the 1820s.
The 1836 Lumpkin County Courthouse (now home to the Dahlonega Gold Museum) is the heart of the Dahlonega Public Square, where you’ll find many of the town’s best restaurants (including Bourbon Street Grille and the Picnic Cafe) and shops (such as Cranberry Corners and the Dahlonega General Store).
The area is very walkable and easy to navigate, but you may want to stop by the Visitor Center to get more info on the best activities and attractions in Dahlonega.
But the area is also strikingly beautiful when Georgia’s fall colors reach their peak.
Dahlonega Gold Mines
Dahlonega has been obsessed with gold for 200 years now, ever since “easy gold” was discovered in nearby sites like Dukes Creek.
The Dahlonega Consolidated Gold Mining Co. was formed in 1895, but folded after the mine’s gold had been extracted in 1906.
Some 75 years later it became a tourist attraction, offering tours of the mine’s upper level and chances to pan for gold flecks and gems.
The Crisson Gold Mine is an open pit gold mine established in 1847, and it’s home to the only working Stamp Mill in Georgia.
They offer a self-guided tour through their gold mining museum, and have packages aimed at more advanced gold-panning and gem-mining hobbyists.
Both are a fun way to learn about the history of mining in Dahlonega. –by Bret Love; all photos by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett unless otherwise noted; lead image courtesy Forrest Hills Mountain Resort