Moccassin Creek

Moccasin Creek State Park draws lots of visitors to Hemlock Falls. It’s a gorgeous place, a fall 10 feet high spills onto a shoal 15 feet wide, then the bedrock just disappears into a hole 30 feet on the major axis and 25 feet on the minor — nice oval shape, and an even contour sloping to a bottom seven feet deep. It’s dramatic, but lacks the impound to create deep water. The bedrock bottom is probably lots deeper, but sand can fill it up. The fall faces west and combined with a good opening in the canopy, the water should get excellent afternoon light. If seasonal rains push the sand out, this can be a nice visit, though far from private.

Happily, the creek’s high gradient creates other potential spots, including one about one-half mile below Hemlock Falls and one mile from the upper parking lot. This pool has great architecture. A broad opening in the otherwise dense forest canopy matches the size and shape of the pool itself. Both are 25 to 35 feet on the long side. Consistent angles give the pool lots of symmetry, rare in a place with as little vertical element as this. Only a couple of good places to sit at water level, but plenty of room back in the trees.

he trail is extremely well maintained, even though hurricanes and winter storms in the past several years have produced lots of blow down, here and in much of North Georgia. Be advised that this is a small watershed, fewer than 10 square miles. Consequently, it can go from snoring to roaring quickly.

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