Cochran Mill Park: Hiking the Henry Mill Falls Trail
Hike 4.8 miles to the beautiful Henry Mill Falls waterfall in Cochran Mill Park, 25 miles southeast of Atlanta.
The red hiking trail at Cochran Mill Park, southwest of Atlanta near Chattahoochee Hills, crosses several streams en route to a beautiful cascading waterfall at a former mill site. The trail hikes a moderate 400 feet elevation change as it follows the meandering Bear Creek on this out-and-back hike to the Henry Mill Falls waterfall.
The Henry Mill Falls Trail makes several creek crossings that bring the possibility of wet boots, depending on the creeks’ flow. (While several crossings are passable with a long leap, one makes a moderately difficult cross of Bear Creek via stepping stones.) The challenging crossing pays off, though: the trail’s remote waterfall ending is beautiful.
Henry Mill Falls Trail: the Hike
The hike departs the Cochran Mill Park parking area at the yellow trailhead (view maps and driving directions). The beautifully rolling park has a wide network of hiking trails: trail maps at the trailhead and tracing a GPS route help with wayfinding on the park’s trails. And recent improvements to the trails, including regular blazes on the red trail to the waterfall, have greatly improved the Henry Mill Falls Trail.
The yellow trail meanders sharply through a mixed pine and deciduous forest, the trees towering above the fern and needle-filled forest floor.
The hike descends steadily, meeting a gravel road at .3 mile. The Henry Mill Falls trail turns westbound, following the gravel road to a bridge spanning the shallow, smooth-flowing Cedar Branch Creek.
The hike follows the gravel road, passing a long, grassy clearing on trail right before crossing a concrete bridge at .8 mile. The trail departs the gravel road at .8 mile, following red trail blazes as it dives into the forest.
Meeting the banks of Bear Creek at 1.3 miles, the hike turns right on a side trail to cross Bear Creek via widely-spaced stepping stones. Depending on the creek’s flow and depth, the crossing can be moderately difficult to challenging.
The hike turns left after crossing, following the wide, meandering Bear Creek downstream northwest toward Henry Mill Falls. The trail crosses a small tributary, winding through young forest dotted with lichen-covered boulders and smooth rock outcrops, gently rolling elevation along the creek banks.
Large rock slabs dominate the creek’s bed as the sound of rushing water becomes audible on the trail. The hike reaches Henry Mill Falls at 2.8 miles, offering wide-open views of the waterfall on the surrounding smooth, flat outcrops and sandy shores just below the fall’s cascades.
To complete the Henry Mill Falls out-and-back trail, hike departs Henry Mill Falls, doubling back to follow the red-blazed trail through Cochran Mill Park to return to the trailhead at just over 4.8 miles.
Note: slippery rocks and fast moving water can be extremely dangerous! Please don’t climb, stand on, swim near, or jump from any waterfall.