Atlanta Trails shirts: locally made & inspired by great Georgia adventures

Hike through a lush forest, fording creeks on this splashy North Georgia adventure, to the gorgeous and secluded double waterfalls of Emery Creek Falls.

georgia hiking trails: 6 or more miles 6.2 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: moderate to difficultmore
difficult
?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-
friendly
?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:Chattahoochee National Forest near Ellijay, Georgia

GEAR: Osprey Stratos 24 Backpack, our hiking gear list and Canon 6D Camera

WEAR: Our ultra-soft Atlanta Trails shirts and mountain logo hats

OFFICIAL MAP: Nat Geo 777 Trails Illustrated Map

RATED: 4.5/5 (11 reviews)

Nestled in northwest Georgia, this 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 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.

Hike through a lush forest, fording creeks on this splashy North Georgia adventure, to the gorgeous and secluded double waterfalls of Emery Creek Falls. #hiking #camping #backpacking #atlanta #georgia #travel #outdoors #adventure

Emery Creek Trail: the hike

The adventure begins at a 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.

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.)

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

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.

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 the creek again at 1.85 miles and 1.95 miles, crossing the boulder-strewn creek bed lined with smoothly worn pebbles.

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 makes a final crossing at 2.3 miles before reaching a signed intersection, turning left to hike a short spur trail to the lower 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 main 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 left at 3 miles, dropping elevation for a view of the double cascades of the upper waterfall.

Emery Creek Falls Trail: top hikes in North 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 route to the trailhead, reaching the hike’s end at just over six miles.

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.

Because this area is so remote, challenging, and the trails are sometimes sporadically blazed or not marked at all, always tell someone where you’re going and pack an official paper map and wayfinding essentials, such as a GPS and compass (and know how to use them if you’re lost). Always pack emergency essentials. And it’s always best to avoid trails along the rivers and creeks in the weeks following a heavy rain.

Nearby adventures

Up for some more ultra-scenic adventures in this stunning stretch of North Georgia? Check out our favorite hikes to waterfalls near Blue Ridge, Georgia. Or find a great local hike near you with our Georgia waterfalls map, featuring over fifty of our favorite hikes to falls in our state.

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 Falls Trail Map, Directions & Details

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

Trail Rating

RATED: 4.5/5 (11 reviews)

Love the trail?

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!

Updates

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



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, Asheville Trails and Trailful are official Leave No Trace partners

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
Author

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.