Hike the two-mile Hemlock Falls Trail at Lake Burton, exploring a waterfall-filled valley near Moccasin Creek State Park in North Georgia’s beautiful Rabun County.

georgia hiking trails: 0-2 miles 2 miles
(round trip)
? Your mileage may vary! Accuracy of your GPS device, weather conditions, and stops along your route will affect your own recorded distance.
georgia hiking trails: moderaterelatively
?Our difficulty estimate, based on distance, terrain, elevation change, & ease of wayfinding. May vary daily due to weather, trail reroutes, downed trees, etc.
georgia hiking trails: dog-friendly Dog-
?Leashed dogs are allowed on this trail. We’ve loved hiking this route with our trail-loving Labrador Retrievers! Check out more of our favorite dog-friendly trails in Georgia for a great hike with your pup.

LOCATION:Rabun County near Clayton, Georgia

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OFFICIAL MAP: Nat Geo 778 Trails Illustrated Map

RATED: 4.7/5 (3 reviews)

This hike’s main highlight is outstandingly beautiful: at the trail’s end, Hemlock Falls cascades over a sheer cliff, tumbling in tendrils of whitewater into a clear, cool pool below. To reach the waterfall, this hike follows Moccasin Creek upstream from Lake Burton, catching beautiful views throughout its one-mile length. After plunging over this hike’s main attraction, the creek tumbles through a rocky, boulder-filled valley, cascading in many smaller waterfalls, framed by a lush, green forest.

Hemlock Falls Trail: hike through a waterfall-filled valley at Lake Burton

If you’re a fan of hiking to Georgia’s waterfalls, then this is a must-hike adventure. And its relatively short length makes it kid-friendly, too, for trail-savvy families.

Hike the two-mile Hemlock Falls Trail at Lake Burton, exploring a waterfall-filled valley near Moccasin Creek State Park in North Georgia's beautiful Rabun County. #hiking #running #trailrunnning #atlanta #georgia #travel #outdoors #adventure
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Hemlock Falls Trail at Lake Burton: the hike

The trail departs from Lake Burton’s western shore (view maps and driving directions) near the entrance to Moccasin Creek State Park. The trailhead is reached via a gravel road and is marked by a huge, inscribed boulder at the trail’s start. On the trail’s right side, the creek loudly roars as it cascades over its rocky, boulder-filled creek bed.

The trail passes a campsite at .2 mile, steadily gaining elevation to climb a ridge high above the creek. The trail reaches a cave and a small bench at .45 mile. A look across the creek from the bench, especially during rainy Spring months, catches views of a small, ribbon-like waterfall plunging from a high-elevation cliff above Moccasin Creek.

Hemlock Falls Trail on Moccasin Creek

The trail dips elevation to cross a wooden bridge spanning Moccasin Creek at .7 mile, carefully hiking across the rustic bridge.

Hemlock Falls Trail: hike across a rustic bridge over Moccasin Creek on the way toone of Georgia's most beautiful waterfalls

Rising from the creek, the trail climbs a set of stone stairs, resuming the elevation climb. The roar of the nearby waterfall amplifies through the forest, growing louder as the trail approaches. The hike reaches a clearing at 1 mile.

Hemlock Falls plummets from a broad, rocky cliff into a calm pool below, framed by tumbled boulders and gnarly-trunked rhododendron. The sandy beach below the waterfall is a great spot to take a water break, grab a snack or relax in the dappled sunshine streaming through the forest while enjoying the waterfall’s sights and sounds.

And back to the trailhead

Departing the waterfall, the hike doubles back on its outbound route, following Moccasin Creek downstream. The hike reaches the trailhead at 2 miles, completing the adventure.

Note: slippery rocks and fast moving water can be extremely dangerous! Please don’t climb, stand on, swim near, or jump from any waterfall.

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Atlanta Trails Hemlock Falls Photo Art Print

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Please Remember

Always leave no trace, tell someone where you're going, pack safety and wayfinding essentials, don't rely on a mobile phone to find your way, and follow these trail etiquette tips.

Lake Burton Hemlock Falls Trail Map, Directions & Details

Trails and routes may change – so please refer to official trail maps for the latest route.

Trail Rating

RATED: 4.7/5 (3 reviews)

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This trail is maintained thanks to the hard work of countless volunteers and donations from supporters of the Chattahoochee National Forest. Please support them by making a donation or joining a volunteer day. Let's work together to keep these fantastic trails maintained and open for use!


Did you have trouble accessing the trail, or notice some recent trail updates or storm damage? We'd love to know! Contact us here, and thanks for helping us keep this site updated!

Driving Directions


Free parking is available at the trailhead.

GPS Coordinates

34.847733, -83.596700     //     N34 50.864 W83 35.802

Elevation Profile

Lake Burton Hemlock Falls Trail Elevation Profile
Eric Champlin

Eric Champlin is a writer and photographer who loves to hike, run, backpack, kayak and cycle the southeast. He’s the editor and founder of Atlanta Trails, Asheville Trails, and Trailful, digital magazines that highlight the South’s best outdoor adventures and top Southern-worthy outdoor gear. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.