Vickery Creek Trail: Hiking & trail running at Roswell Mill
Hike the Vickery Creek trail network at Roswell Mill to two historic mills, a covered bridge, and a spillway waterfall near Roswell.
The Vickery Creek Trail explores the historic Roswell Mill and the surrounding rolling forest on the banks of Big Creek, also known as Vickery Creek, near Roswell, Georgia. It’s one of the best hikes in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area parks near Atlanta, though its trails don’t follow the banks of the Chattahoochee River. Instead, this hike explores the historic remains of Roswell Mill and visits the mill’s spillway dam waterfall on a Chattahoochee River tributary. The 5+ mile Vickery Creek trail network hikes through beautiful, rolling forest and catches views of the rushing dam waterfall from a steep rock bluff.
The Vickery Creek Trail is an all-around must-visit: rolling trails make for a great trail run, Roswell Mill’s historic mill ruins are a must-see for southern history buffs, and the park’s wooden covered bridge and spillway waterfall make for some exceptional photos. It’s also a great, family-friendly hike!
Vickery Creek Trail at Roswell Mill: the hike
The trail departs a trailhead on Riverside Road in Roswell (view driving directions), hiking upstream along Vickery Creek and hanging a right at the first trail intersection. The trail switches back, passing through a series well-marked intersections and rolling elevation, following the outer loop trail at each intersection.
The trail rolls elevation through a young, ferny forest, crossing several small creeks. It’s a well-worn trail, and would be fairly easy to follow, if not for the multitude of intersecting trails. Maps and numbered waypoints mark each intersection, but without a GPS and a little patience, the trails can be tricky to follow. For simplicity, this 4.7 mile loop maximizes mileage at Vickery Creek, always following the outer loop at every intersection. (For reference, we hiked the loop counter-clockwise, hitting the waypoints in the following order to reach the waterfall and mill: 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 20, 21, 23, 26, 27, 25, 18, 17, 16. And check out the official park map here.)
The great thing about the trail: it’s bordered on all sides by busy Roswell-area roads, so you probably won’t go too far off course if you hang a wrong turn. Despite the confusing spiderweb of trails, it’s a beautiful hike and definitely worth the effort.
Historic Vickery Creek Dam at Roswell Mill
The trail reaches a modern spillway at 1.7 miles, waypoint 26 on the park map. Continuing the outer loop, the trail arcs along a wide meander of Vickery Creek, rising high above the creek. At waypoint 27, the hike veers east, and then turns south at waypoint 25 at 2.3 miles. The hike crosses a wood bridge at 2.5 miles, the sound of falling water echoing through the forest. At waypoint 16, the hike hangs a right to visit the southern bank of the Roswell Mill waterfall from a tall bluff alongside its rushing, tumbling waters. This spillway dam was a valuable asset to the South during the Civil War, having powered the Roswell Mill downstream.
Departing the waterfall, the hike treks to waypoint 11, reaching the covered bridge at 3 miles. The view from the bridge upstream is beautiful, as Vickery Creek cascades over a rock creek bed.
Reaching the end of the covered bridge, the hike hangs a right, following the trail eastbound and passing a historic brick machine shop. The trail reaches the ruins of the old Roswell Mill, looping around the mill, the old rusted mill chase, and catching an up-close view of the dam waterfall and spillway waterfall from Vickery Creek’s northern bank.
Vickery Creek, also known as Big Creek, flows over a rocky, grassy creek bed downstream from the waterfall. It’s a great place to relax, soak up the beauty of the falls, and watch for wildlife: heron and geese are commonly sighted here.
Departing the mill ruins and waterfall, the hike backtracks to the covered bridge and crosses the creek. On the opposite bank, the hike follows the Vickery Creek Trail back to the trailhead, hanging a left at waypoint 11, hanging a right at waypoint 18, and turning right at waypoint 4. The Vickery Creek Trail reaches the trailhead at 4.7 miles, completing the hike.
Note: slippery rocks and fast moving water can be extremely dangerous! Please don’t climb, stand on, swim near, or jump from any waterfall.