Atlanta, GA: Vickery Creek

This 3-mile loop outside Atlanta traces a steep ravine as it winds through an oak and poplar forest.
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This 3-mile loop outside Atlanta traces a steep ravine as it winds through an oak and poplar forest.

This moderate loop explores the hills and banks along Vickery Creek, which powered one of the South's most important mills during the 1800s. With the exception of a few short steep stretches alongside the creek-ravine bluffs and gorges, the terrain is fairly level. The hike includes a stop at the spillway dam, which fed the mill wheel in a factory downstream. Supplying textiles for Confederate uniforms, the mill was a primary target for Gen. William Sherman whose troops destroyed the facility during the Civil War.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 4.8

Waypoints

VCK001

Location: 34.0075950622559, -84.3508682250976

Follow trail at the west end of the parking area. In 60 feet, keep straight @ 3-way; walk along slow-flowing Vickery Creek.

VCK009

Location: 34.0171051025391, -84.343879699707

Turn right @ T-junction and travel south.

VCK012

Location: 34.0115242004394, -84.3477172851562

Turn right @ Y-junction onto a yellow-blazed trail that heads west past ample dead fall. Crest the hill and drop steeply through tall poplars.

VCK004

Location: 34.0123596191406, -84.3589477539062

Turn left @ Y-junction and go northwest; trail bends to the east in 85 feet. You are eye level with the tops of trees rising from the ravine and can see across the dramatic expanse to the north.

VCK006

Location: 34.0127754211426, -84.3544845581055

Turn left @ Y-junction; follow rocky, singletrack path along the flank of a bluff. Here, the trail environment feels more like the high mountains of north Georgia: mountain laurel lines the path and the great gorge to the west gives the illusion of high elevation.

VCK003

Location: 34.0109634399414, -84.3564987182617

Bear right @ Y-junction to continue the loop, ascending to the northwest. Optional side trip: Go left @ Y-junction, and follow the creek rapids for .3 mile; return to Waypoint 3.

VCK014

Location: 34.0114364624023, -84.3510665893555

Turn left @ trail junction to travel southwest.

VCK005

Location: 34.0125617980957, -84.3558349609375

Turn left @ Y-junction, and descend 400 feet to the spillway dam. The thunderous volume of water falling 30 to 40 feet once flowed into a mill wheel house about 100 yards downstream. Retrace your steps back uphill to this waypoint and turn left @ the junction; continue east.

VCK010

Location: 34.0146369934082, -84.3460922241211

Continue straight @ 3-way junction to head south. The trail to the right traverses the interior of the knoll, but is a less-attractive section choked with pine and underbrush.

VCK013

Location: 34.0112113952637, -84.350700378418

Turn right @ Y-junction to head northwest.

VCK015

Location: 34.0110206604004, -84.3535461425781

Pass a shallow ravine that plays host to a garden of poplar and oak with wide crowns. Turn left @ trail junction and climb to the southeast. Vickery Creek comes into view on your right as you descend switchbacks. At 3.2 miles, turn left to return to trailhead.

VCK008

Location: 34.0166091918945, -84.3524703979492

Continue straight @ 3-way junction, heading east through an oak-dominated forest that becomes a dense tangle of transition forest as you approach Grimes Bridge Road. The trail to the left crosses a bridge and leads out to Oxbo Road.

VCK011

Location: 34.0137672424316, -84.3467712402344

Bear left @ Y-junction; continue hiking south. The trail to the right traverses the interior of the loop.

VCK002

Location: 34.0095291137695, -84.3535842895508

A cable across trail marks a short, but dangerous scramble along a rocky bluff. The cable acts as a trail barrier—do not cross. Warning: Do not attempt with kids or if unsure of your ability.

VCK007

Location: 34.0161094665527, -84.3537673950195

Continue straight @ 3-way junction. For an optional shortcut trail to the eastern side of the loop, turn right @ the trail junction.