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.
- Distance: 4.8
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.
Location: 34.0171051025391, -84.343879699707
Turn right @ T-junction and travel south.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Location: 34.0114364624023, -84.3510665893555
Turn left @ trail junction to travel southwest.
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.
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.
Location: 34.0112113952637, -84.350700378418
Turn right @ Y-junction to head northwest.
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.
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.
Location: 34.0137672424316, -84.3467712402344
Bear left @ Y-junction; continue hiking south. The trail to the right traverses the interior of the loop.
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.
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.