Hike the Hemlock Falls Trail to a beautiful waterfall near Lake Burton in North GA Waterfalls in Georgia

Hemlock Falls Trail: hiking Moccasin Creek at Lake Burton

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.

trail info

2 miles
(round trip)
moderate
Dog-
friendly

LOCATION:Rabun County near Clayton, Georgia (maps & directions)

GEAR: REI Flash 18 Backpack w/ our favorite hiking gear list and Canon 6D Camera

WEAR: Our ultra-soft Atlanta Trails shirts and our favorite outdoor apparel

OFFICIAL MAP: Nat Geo 778 Trails Illustrated Map

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 trail follows Moccasin Creek upstream from Lake Burton, catching beautiful views throughout its one-mile length. After dropping from Hemlock Falls, Moccasin Creek tumbles through a rocky, boulder-filled valley, cascading in many smaller (yet beautiful) waterfalls.

Hike the Hemlock Falls Trail at Lake Burton through a waterfall-filled valley

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

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, Moccasin Creek loudly roars as it cascades over its rocky, boulder-filled creek bed.

Hike to Hemlock Falls, a stunning waterfall near Lake Burton, through a mossy, scenic forest

The Hemlock Falls Trail passes a campsite at .2 mile, steadily gaining elevation to climb a ridge high above Moccasin 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.

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

Hike the Hemlock Falls Trail across a rustic bridge over Moccasin Creek on the way to Hemlock Falls, one 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 Hemlock Falls amplifies through the forest, growing louder as the trail approaches. Moccasin Creek tumbles and cascades through the creek valley below.

The hike reaches a clearing at 1 mile. Straight ahead, 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.

Hike the Hemlock Falls Trail near Moccasin Creek State Park to one of Georgia's most beautiful waterfalls

Departing Hemlock Falls, the hike doubles back on its outbound route, following Moccasin Creek downstream. The Hemlock Falls Trail reaches the trailhead near Moccasin Creek State Park at 2 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.

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Lake Burton Hemlock Falls Trail Map, Directions & Details

Lake Burton Hemlock Falls Trail Map
Lake Burton Hemlock Falls Trail Map
This map is not a substitute for official trail maps or topographic maps.

Driving Directions


Parking

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
Leave No Trace: Atlanta Trails is an official Leave No Trace partner

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.

 
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.
 
 
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