Waterfalls and swimming holes are Southern staples, and this Georgia gem is home to both. Hidden away in the Cohutta Wilderness, Hickey Gap offers an easy-to-reach oasis that feels off the beaten path.
What Makes It Great
A variety of swimming holes dot the river, beckoning hikers to jump in. But resist the urge to jump in immediately and start walking; the prime swimming spots are further downstream.
The trail is easy to navigate, following the river as it winds through the woods. At one point the trail drops down to the riverbed. Don’t stop there. Instead, skirt across the rocks and soon you will reconnect with the riverbank. The trail and river soon drop off. A series of ropes have been set to assist in the climb down to the pool.
The best swimming hole is at the base of the waterfall. Surprisingly deep, the pool is a perfect place too cool off on a hot day. A rope hanging from a nearby tree gives thrill-seekers the chance to let loose while easier access points allow entry for those who don’t want to make as big a splash. For a calmer spot, head downriver 100 feet where another pool awaits. The trail ends here, but if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can continue downstream using the river as a guide.
Who is Going to Love It
Hickey Gap is perfect for the days you don't feel like knocking off miles, but still want to get out and explore. Very little skill is required to reach the hot spots, so anyone looking for a river swim can access the pools.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From Chattanooga, take I 75 south to GA-2. From here, take a slight right onto Halls Chapel Road. Take a right onto US 411 then a left onto Grassy St. This will turn into Mill Creek Road, a predominately gravel road. Follow until you see signs for Hickey Gap Campground.
Camping is free of charge and sites are available on a first-come basis. Day hikers can park near the campground but should not leave their car overnight. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash.