Emery Creek Falls: hiking the Emery Creek Trail

Hike the Emery Creek Trail, a splashy Georgia summertime adventure, to the gorgeous and secluded Emery Creek Falls near Blue Ridge.

trail info

6.2 miles
(round trip)
more
difficult
Dog-
friendly

LOCATION:Chattahoochee National Forest near Ellijay, Georgia (maps & directions)

GEAR: Osprey Stratos 24 Backpack w/ our favorite hiking gear list and Canon 6D Camera

OFFICIAL MAP: Nat Geo 777 Trails Illustrated Map

Nestled in northwest Georgia, the Emery Creek Trail follows lushly forested creek banks to a pair of stunning, beautiful, remote waterfalls. The trail is a refreshing, water-filled adventure, and especially fun in Georgia’s sweltering summer months: along its scenic length, the trail splashes through 20 creek crossings to the tumbling cascades of Emery Creek Falls.

Hike the Emery Creek Trail in North Georgia through 20 creek crossings to a pair of stunning waterfalls in a lush, green forest

The remote waterfalls on this trail are well worth the hike, but the Emery Creek Trail requires some patience and experience to follow the seldom-marked trail and cross the creek’s slippery beds. While we don’t recommend this trail to novice hikers, it’s one of our Georgia favorites – and can be a fun adventure for experienced hikers.

Emery Creek Trail: the hike

The Emery Creek Trail departs the trailhead off a graveled forest road (view maps and driving directions) near Chatsworth, Georgia. The trail follows a ridge along Holly Creek, catching glimpses of waterfalls and whitewater on the trail’s left far below. The hike reaches the convergence of Emery Creek and Holly Creek at .3 mile, the first, and often most difficult, of many creek crossings on the hike.

Hike the Emery Creek Falls Trail to two of Georgia's most beautiful, remote waterfalls

The trail crosses the two converging creeks, landing briefly on the mid-creek peninsula and passing a campsite. When the creek’s flow is normal, there’s really no easy way to cross without getting wet. (Since submerged rocks are often slippery, we try to plan a route through the sandy stream bed and pack our camera gear and electronics in dry bags.)

Top Georgia waterfall hikes: the Emery Creek Trail splashes through 20 creek crossings to visit a pair of stunning waterfalls near Blue Ridge

The trail dives deeper into a lush deciduous forest filled with vibrant green moss, ferns, wildflowers, and mushrooms. The trail playfully winds through the forest, following and then crossing Emery Creek at .5 mile, .9 mile, and 1.1 miles.

The hike arcs north at 1.2 miles, passing several trailside campsites and reaching the site of an old homestead, where the skeletons of several antique trucks sit rusting in the green, damp forest.

Hike the Emery Creek Trail to an old homestead and antique trucks on the way to a pair of beautiful North Georgia waterfalls

The trail crosses the creek again at 1.4 miles, reaching and turning right to follow an old road bed. The trail crosses a wide tributary creek at 1.45 miles before departing the road bed and turning right on a green-blazed trail at 1.55 miles. The trail crosses Emery Creek again at 1.85 miles and 1.95 miles, crossing the boulder-strewn creek bed lined with smoothly worn pebbles.

Emery Creek Falls

The trail makes a final crossing at 2.3 miles before reaching a signed intersection, turning left to hike a short spur trail to the lower Emery Creek Falls. The waterfall plummets over two massive granite outcrops, tumbling into a calm pool of water below.

The hike departs the lower falls, retracing its steps on the lower falls spur to the main trail, and reaching the Emery Creek Trail, turns left. The hike treks eastbound, gaining elevation and carving through a sharp switchback before arcing northbound toward the upper Emery Creek Falls. A side trail departs the Emery Creek Trail at 3 miles, dropping elevation for a view of the double cascades of the upper falls on Emery Creek.

Hike to stunning double waterfalls at Emery Creek Falls near Blue Ridge, Georgia

While these waterfalls aren’t the tallest in Georgia, they’re some of the most remote and serene: their remote location and relatively difficult access keep the falls secluded from many hikers. And the splashy, wet adventure to the falls makes the hike a fun summertime adventure. Take a picnic to enjoy below the waterfalls, and enjoy the quiet of the southern Cohutta Wilderness.

Departing the upper waterfall, the hike retraces its outbound path on the Emery Creek Trail to the trailhead, reaching the hike’s end at just over six 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.

Emery Creek Trail: camping

The trail passes several established campsites on the hike to to the waterfalls (see the trail map for campsite locations). Camping is free and first-come, first-camp – so backpack early to grab the best spots. Pack out everything you pack in, and please leave no trace to help preserve the natural beauty of this fantastic trail.

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Emery Creek Falls Trail Map, Directions & Details

Emery Creek Falls Trail Map
Emery Creek 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 Emery Creek trailhead. Trailhead access is via a gravel Forest Service Road.

GPS Coordinates

34.811178, -84.653159     //     N34 48.671 W84 39.190

Elevation Profile

Emery Creek Trail to Emery Creek Falls: 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 and Asheville Trails, online magazines that cover the South’s best outdoor adventures. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.