Holcomb Creek Hiking Trail
By TIM HOMAN
Location: Eastern Blue Ridge, Rabun Bald ; Features: Two waterfalls, outstanding forests ; Distance: 0.5 mile ; Difficulty Rating: Moderate ; County: Rabun ; Nearest City: Clayton ; Maps: Rabun Bald Quad GA-NC ; Blazes: None, none needed ; Ranger District: Tallulah
From the road, this short trail quickly zigzags past several large tuliptrees, 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 easy-to-moderate 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 at a traffic light, turn east (right if you are coming from the south) onto Rickman Street. Follow Rickman Street for approximately 0.5 mile to its end at signed Warwoman Road. Turn right onto Warwoman Road and proceed approximately 9.6 miles to the left turn onto signed Hale Ridge Road (FS 7). Travel dirt-gravel Hale Ridge Road for approximately 6.6 miles to its three-way junction with Overflow Creek Road (FS 86). Marked with a prominent trail-sign rock, the path begins at the far side of the intersection.