Hidden along a short round trip hike in a corner of the North Georgia Mountains is the gorgeous Hemlock Falls. It’s an easy hike through a beautiful forest over a few wooden footbridges with the rewarding waterfall at the end of the trail. Come in the summer months to take a dip in the shallow pool at the base of the falls, or enjoy the vibrant fall colors in late October.
The parking area is across the street from the small campground at Moccassin Creek State Park. The small park is located almost equidistant from Clayton, Helen, and Hiawassee in the North Georgia mountains. Starting from here the round trip hike is just two miles along a mostly flat path.
The trail crosses a wooden footbridge for an added bit of fun to the hike. There are several places to get near the roaring water of the creek to capture photos or sit back for awhile.
You’ll hear the waterfall just before seeing it through a clearing in the trail ahead. It’s almost exactly one mile from the parking area and only takes about 20 minutes to hike. Moccassin Creek bends around a beach area with a view of the waterfall straight ahead. A large fallen tree makes a great place to sit for awhile and enjoy the view.
The water is only about knee deep on an average day making it a good place for kids to splash around and easy for adults to traverse. People love getting as close to the falls as possible for a photo op, but I wouldn’t recommend carrying your phone for a selfie; the rocks are smooth and slippery and most phone can’t swim. But even if you want to get near the waterfall do not climb it; climbing waterfalls is always dangerous and never worth the risk.
Hemlock Falls is one of the easier Georgia waterfalls to hike and offers a beautiful reward at the end. It’s a great place to take the family or to go on a first hike with a new pair of shoes.
3655 Highway 197, Clarkesville, GA | 706-947-3194 | http://gastateparks.org/MoccasinCreek