Emery Creek Trail to Bald Mountain

HARD 68 reviews

Emery Creek Trail to Bald Mountain is a 13.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Crandall, Georgia that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 13.2 miles Elevation Gain: 3,379 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash





nature trips

bird watching




wild flowers


Directions from Chatsworth: Take US Hwy. 411 north from Chatsworth and go 3 miles to Eton. Turn right at the only stoplight in town and follow this road , which becomes Forest Service Road 18, for 7.5 miles to the trailhead parking area.

1 month ago

Great hike. Waterfall is very nice.

2 months ago

Tue Oct 16 2018

Very unique hike with around 20 river crossings out and back. The trail is poorly marked and it is very easy to lose track. Follow the light green markings/ pink ribbons. The hike itself is easy up to the waterfall but gets harder and steeper after that, to the overlook. Went mid October and the shallow water was mid calf deep. Get ready to hike with wet shoes

Tue Sep 18 2018

Amazing hike, 7 creek crossings, loved both falls on this trail. Well worth the hike.

Sat Aug 04 2018

Great trail.

Mon Nov 06 2017

If you complete the entire trail, you cross the creek 16 times one way. So 32 times total. This does not include any of the natural runoffs or springs. The difficulty of the trail varies on the water levels for the creek crossings. There are areas on the trail that are not marked well. Most of the elevation gain is near the end of the trail. If you just want to see the waterfall, it’s approximately 2.8 miles one way. Great hike!

Tue Oct 03 2017

The hike to the falls required 10 creek crossings. We were able to keep our feet dry and our dog handled them all easily, but there had been no recent heavy rains. Trekking poles recommended. Lots of trash for the first couple of miles so if you can bring a trash bag to clean up after others, please do. The hike to the falls I would call moderate only because of the crossings. It is not steep but there are two or three scrambles that may challenge some people. There is a sign designating the trail to the falls vs. continuing on Emery Creek Trail at about 2 miles. From this point, the falls are only a few hundred yards away. Continuing on ECT is easy for about one mile, then it gets medieval. After passing a primitive campsite on hiker's left (with water source at the site) at about 3 miles, the trail crosses the creek then ascends steeply for the remainder of the trail. The trail is narrow, sloped, and has some fallen trees to navigate and a fair amount of briar crossing the trail. However there are some good views of Fort Mountain and walking through the pine forests covered in pine needles was nice. But be warned, it climbs over 700 feet per mile to the top! At the top is a car-camping area. Backpacking here would be easy because there are frequent campsites that will accommodate tents. Hammock camping would be a breeze. However, once it really starts climbing, tent campsites are absent until the top. Water sources are frequent for treating/filtering water until about 3 miles in, then there are two more water sources on the trail before reaching the top. A good overnighter would be to leave a car at the top, and camp somewhere above the falls. One of the most difficult parts of this as an out-and-back day hike is descending what was ascended, then knowing you need to do all the crossings again. Both my wife and I were spent after an out and back day hike. Unlike a lot of waterfall hikes, you can cool off in the water at the parking area. Plenty of places to hang a hammock next to the water.

Sun Aug 13 2017

This trail is great! Very low traffic on the trail itself. Be prepared for 10 river crossings just to the falls themselves (about 2.5 miles in). We're not talking little streams you can skip across on dry rocks; I mean, mid-calf level waters that require a hiking sandal perhaps. There were also several campsites along the stretch that I'll happily return to in the future. The start of the trail has a bit of a boulder scramble to get up, but that's the toughest part. The trail itself is pretty flat. Would rate moderate. Blazes are neon green, and if in doubt, look for them across the river as that's likely where you need to go. The falls were a nice place to dry off and eat lunch before returning to the trailhead.

Sat Jul 29 2017

Trail was amazing , beautiful scenery with gorgeous creek and ultimately the waterfalls. Following the neon green blazes is a bit sketchy as some of the river crossings. Hard to spot a green blaze amongst all the greenery /trees . Lots of water flowing due to the rain so made for a beautiful waterfall! Highly recommend if you don't mind your feet wet - it is awesome

Thu Jun 22 2017

hiked this june 2017. great hike about 7 river crossings up to the falls.

Thu Jun 15 2017

Had an amazing time hiking and camping on this trail. Don't plan to wear any shoes you don't mind getting wet and walking around in. There are frequent creek crossings (about 20 if you go the full distance) that range from knee deep to waist deep. About half way through the trail, there is a turn-off for the largest of the waterfalls which was a fun pit-stop. We camped off of the trail near the creek on the north end of the trail and hiked back in the morning.

Sun Jun 11 2017

Hiked early June and did not realize how deep the river crossings were. Depending how far you go, there are 10-20 crossings and most are st least knee deep. I mistakenly wore my all leather Timberlands and sloshed for 4 hours! But beautiful trail with most being next to the river with lovely sounds all afternoon. Most hikers wore hiking sandals or hiking "sneakers" and did just fine.

Thu May 18 2017

This is an old favorite! Plan to wear shoes you don't mind getting wet as there are a lot of stream crossings! All in all the trail is pretty easy and well marked (bright green blazes). The lower falls has a lagoon where you can swim and cool off during the scorching Georgia summer. The upper pools are nice too, just be careful as the rocks can be quite slippery. You'll hike through hardwood and pine forests, it's a wonderful hike!

Mon May 01 2017

I only went one mile in but I plan to return to explore further! I had my 11 year old son with me and after all of the river crossing he was pretty tired. We had such a fun time though exploring.

Sun Apr 30 2017

Beautiful trail, creeks, waterfalls and wild flowers. Yesterday we hiked to the upper falls and then retraced our path for about a 6-7 mile hike. The creek crossings were fun and really added to the hike. I'm pretty sore today and think it's from all the balancing and different muscles I used crossing the creeks! The swimming areas closer to parking did have some trash, so bring a bag of you want to do some trail clean up. We were confused a few times on the trail, but there were more blazes than I expected. I think some people turn around at the lower falls, but the upper falls are nice, too. Keen sandles and a pair of clothes to change into helped make this an incredible day!

Tue Dec 27 2016

Great hike. Nice views. Difficulty contingent on water lever since the trail crosses the creek a number of times. Plenty of camping spots. Limited parking

Sun Dec 11 2016

Great hike and beautiful scenery. Water levels were low, so the waterfall wasn't as full as it normally is. But definitely will go back. We did see evidence of black bears this time though.

Sun Nov 27 2016

I do this hike all the time with my dog. We just hike to the falls and come back to the lower entrance on old CCC camp road. It is hands down my favorite Georgia hike and i recommend it to all my friends. FYI the higher the water level is, the more difficult the hike. With the drought it is a piece of cake though. The downside is with the water down the falls are small. I do not recommend it with the water high and right after lots of rain; it could be dangerous.

Mon Oct 03 2016

Took some good friends out on a nice afternoon. We went off-the-beaten-path and hiked a few miles up through the creek bed. Probably one of the most enjoyable hikes I’ve been on!

Wed Sep 28 2016

We just backpacked this trail a few days ago and I thought is was a pretty good trail. The only thing I regret is that we didn't go when the water level was higher. All of the creek crossings were easy and without any soakers. In most of the reviews people talk about how the trail was hard to follow. We only had one place that the trail map was wrong and that was at the upper emery creek trail junction. If you follow the branches that someone has placed on the ground then you will be fine. I really liked the area near the top. The trail transformed from an old logging road into a different world.

rock climbing
Mon Sep 26 2016

I didn't do the trail, I used the rocks in the creek and climbed them for a couple of hours. I look forward to going back and hiking the trail! It's beautiful.

Sat Sep 17 2016

Beautiful trail and the creek crossings are fun. We went in May so the water was still really chilly. Going uphill, we never saw anyone else after the falls so it was very peaceful. The only downside is the trail isn't very clearly marked, esp when it goes through some brushy parts. definitely bring a map and some trekking poles!

Sun Aug 07 2016

This is one of my favorites because of all of the falls. Although, it is confusing and the trail is not clearly marked. You can easily get lost. The falls are gorgeous but difficult to get to -- you have to go down steep embankments but you can swim in them. Also, this map and the creek crossings don't match up with the map at the trailhead. Bring a gps!

Mon May 30 2016

Emery Creek Trail is located in Cisco, Georgia in the Cohutta Wilderness region. After coming off an 8-day backpacking trip through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I wanted to ease back into my weekend warrior mode with something relatively easy and light on the body. Emery Creek was perfect for this. The elevation gains are minimal and slow. The terrain was mostly light to moderate, save for a few tricky creek crossings. The trail crossed over Emery Creek at least 10 times for our group, and some of the crossings were actually difficult. These are not a problem for seasoned hikers or backpackers, but some of the crossings, especially after rain, might be impassible for small children and small dogs. While there were several families and groups around the entrance, the trail itself had a lighter feel and was certainly not crowded, even for Memorial Day Weekend's Sunday. Our group came across a few others enjoying the river and waterfall closer to the midpoint for the trail, but on an non-holiday weekend, I believe activity on this trail would be sparse. The trail definitely needs better maintenance, and a lot of the folks who use the creek for recreation do not practice leave no trace. I saw three or four downed trees that completely blocked the trail. Trash, like cigarette butts and even full-sized towels, had been left behind by tourists. I really liked this trail and would certainly recommend it to anyone looking for a solid overnighter or day hike to the falls.

Fri Jan 08 2016

Absolutely adore this trail! love love love

Sun Oct 25 2015

Absolutely beautiful. Relatively easy hike with the exception of a couple of challenging creek crossings. Recommend finding a hiking stick to help with the tougher crossings. We went during relatively high water, so your mileage may vary.

Mon Jul 13 2015

The trail is awesome. Be sure to follow the written directions to the parking lot. If you use the mobile app and click on 'directions', you will be sent 30 minutes past the parking lot on a rough gravel road. It seems to go on forever and you may get a flat tire like I did.

Sat Jun 20 2015

This is a great trail. So much fun crossing the creek several times. The falls are beautiful and make for a great place to cool off on a hot summer day. The trail is moderate and rolling with creek crossings as I said before. Six plus miles of beauty!

Thu Jun 18 2015

Great hike. Take CCC camp road almost 8 miles to trailhead. Will be a gravel road past holly creek camping/picnic and fishing areas

Fri Jun 27 2014

Definitely one of my favorite trails in North Georgia along with Jack's River Falls Trail. This was our first time hiking the trail, and we started the hike at midnight, for an extra challenge. Start by going up the trail on the right (the one of the left leads down to swimming holes for the first .3-.4 miles). In the dark, we made the mistake of continuing to hike along the right bank, up Holly Creek (ESE), instead of Emery Creek, which diverges to the left (NE). Make sure to watch for the part of the trail that leads down to the correct crossing at about .5 miles. There is a blaze on the return route, but no visible bright green blaze from the start. When you cross Holly Creek, you will see a well-established primitive campsite on the peninsula. You can then cross Emery Creek going NE to continue the trail. From there, the trail is fairly easily followed. Look to continue the trail upstream mostly when crossing the creek. The two sets of falls at mile 2.2 (lower falls) and mile 2.7 (scramble down the hill 50 feet) are great. What' more, this trail actually continues to mile 7.2! After the falls, it crosses the creek several more times, then reaches a closed Forest Service road. Take a left on that road, then look for a right turn no more than about 50 feet away to continue the trail. We missed the right turn because it's not well marked, but we used some string to tie up a "foot path only" sign that had fallen. There's also a broken wooden post. Along this part of the trail, you'll see a few fire rings that haven't been used in a while. At about mile 4.0, though, after walking a wide uphill section, there is a really awesome primitive campsite about 40 feet down a hill to the left, visible from the trail. After mile 4.5, the trail leaves the creek and becomes much steeper. We day hiked from this campsite to mile 7.2, where there is an open grassy field at the end of a Forest Service road with about 7 areas for car camping around the edges. There is a also a beautiful overlook just .3 miles before this area.

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