Race - Apr 26, 2020
Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Swimming · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The Emery Creek Trail #97
is a popular trail nestled in the Lower Cohutta Mountains. This course will do an out and back along Holly Creek and Emery Creek to all the main falls, and there are FIVE! You'll get your feet wet, as the trail crosses the creek about 10 times (plus you have to return). There are plenty of photo and picnicking opportunities along the way!
Need to Know
Parking is limited, and this trail gets busy especially when the weather is warmer and nice.
You'll travel the entire distance alongside Emery Creek. From the trailhead, you'll run high above the creek for a very rooty and rocky stretch up to the confluence of Emery and Holly Creeks. Fortunately, this is the trickiest part of the course. It's a section popular with sun worshippers and creek swimmers, so you'll probably meet people walking along here as folks like to hang out in the rapids, pools, and small cascades. Once past the Holly Creek confluence, the first of many fords, you'll leave most people behind. The trail climbs gently through a mixed hemlock and hardwood forest alongside the babbling, bubbling creek, which you'll cross about 10 times.
About 1.4 miles in, you'll meet an old road bed and make a right and follow it for about a tenth of a mile. The trail will climb up to the left (do not go straight and cross the creek).
You'll cross the creek and turn on a short spur trail to the base of the first of them, a cascade dropping 40 feet. Skirt up and around it to see the second falls directly above—a wide 15-footer. Both of these falls have nice pools for splashing around in if you're so inclined, and both make for great picnicking. There is a campsite at the top of the first falls, but it's easy to get chilly here, so bring a layer to put on if you plan on hanging out!
Head back to the main trail and continue up, a bit more steeply. It's not far to three more waterfalls, and soon you'll hear a roar through the rhododendron and see glimpses of whitewater and a definite falls below. Getting a closer look requires scrambling down the bank, but it's well worth the effort. These falls drop 15, 40, and 15 feet, and each has a nice plunge pool.
Return the way you came to get back to the main trailhead. Feel free to stop and play in the rapids along the way!
Shared By: Susan Burkley Brock