Hike 0.5 miles on the moderately difficult Holcomb Creek Trail in Rabun County, Georgia, to see two waterfalls and an outstanding forest.
BY TIM HOMAN
From the road, this short trail quickly zigzags past several large tulip trees, then tunnels through rosebay rhododendron thickets as it descends toward Holcomb Creek Falls. At 0.3 mile, the trail crosses a footbridge. Even though you hear this isolated waterfall well before you see it, its size and beauty take you by surprise. As you walk out over the bridge across Holcomb Creek, the fall comes suddenly into view. Almost as long as it is high, this 120-foot waterfall is a picturesque combination of wide freefalls, splashing cascades, and quick slides that careen around raised slabs of bedrock.
The trail continues past several giant eastern hemlocks a short distance to another waterfall, Ammons Creek Falls. Like many other North Georgia waterfalls, Ammons Creek is more churning cascade than sheer plunge. The water drops above and below the stilted observation deck. Above, the stream begins its rush down the mountainside directly in front of you as a foaming, pure-white, 40-foot falls. Below, the longer, less vertical portion of the falls makes an S-curve into a narrow, squirming raceway between boulders.
Forty yards before its end at the observation deck, the trail passes a sign that points to another way back to Hale Ridge Road. This alternate route coupled with a segment of Hale Ridge Road completes a loop that returns to the trailhead. The side trail is 0.6 mile in length; the Hale Ridge Road segment, to the left and downhill, is slightly less than 0.6 mile.
The alternate route parallels cascading Holcomb Creek all the way to the road. The trail first comes close to the creek on a hillside above the waterfall’s uppermost ledge. It is a tempting but potentially very dangerous 35 yards down for a look. Before you try it, think twice, and then be very careful. Better still, stay on the trail.
The trail continues within earshot or eyesight of the creek. One-tenth mile from the road, a long cascade slides into its shallow, surprisingly large catch pool.
Mile 0.3: 120-foot Holcomb Creek Falls. Mile 0.5: 40-foot Ammons Creek Falls.
In Clayton, where US 76 turns west; turn east onto Rickman Street (locally known as Warwoman Road). If you are traveling north on US 441, this turn will be to your right at the Hardee’s, which is the second building to the right on Rickman Street. Continue a short; distance on Rickman Street, then turn right onto Warwoman Road at its sign.
After traveling 10.0 miles from the turn off US 441, turn left onto FS 7 (Hale Ridge Road). FS 7 is the first public road to the left past Allen’s Grocery. Follow FS 7 for 6.5 miles to its intersection with FS 86 (Overflow Road), The trailhead, marked with a rock sign, is located at the intersection.
This hiking guide to the Holcomb Creek Trail is adapted from The Hiking Trails of North Georgia by Tim Homan and is published in cooperation with the publisher Peachtree Publishers. With his meticulous attention to detail and accuracy, Homan has long been recognized as the authority on North Georgia hiking trail by serious hikers. His other books include Hiking Trails of Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock and Citico Creek Wilderness, Hiking the Shining Rock and Middle Prong Wilderness and others. For a complete inventory of his books see his Amazon Author Page.
For an inventory of Peachtree Publishers books including its Nature books for children, go to the Peachtree Publishers website.