The Emery Creek Trail offers a plethora of refreshing swiming holes, lush waterfalls, and a heart-thumping summit of Little Bald Mountain, all along the same trail. The trail begins along Holly Creek, a location well-known to locals who are looking to beat the summer heat. As you near the trailhead you can’t help but to notice numerous clear, invigorating pools of water intermixed between large boulders, and these are just perfect for a summer swim. As you begin the hike, opportunities to cool off in the creek continue for the first 4 miles of the trail.
At trail mile 0.3, Emery Creek joins with Holly Creek, making for a fun creek crossing at the conjunction. There is also an excellent campsite at this location. Speaking of creek crossings, by the time you arrive at the second waterfalls, at trail mile 3.0, you will have forded Emery Creek 20 times!
This trail boasts two large waterfalls, the first measuring at over 60 feet height, and the second at over 40 feet. The first falls has a very popular swimming hole at the bottom, although, there are plenty of ways to get wet at either falls. The second falls is actually a series of three falls with two smaller falls sandwiching the 40-foot drop.
Should you choose to continue and submit Little Bald Mountain, at around trail mile 4, the trail will pull away from the creek and begin a challenging climb. In total you will gain 2,651 feet of net elevation before you reach the end of the trail at the Ball Field Camp Area. When you are 0.3 miles from the end of the trail, look to you left for an overlook area--while a bit overgrown these days in the summer time, the overlook offers a fantastic view.
If you choose to hike this trail one way, you will need to park a second car at the Ball Field Camp Area at the northern trailhead, and then return to get you first car at Holly Creek at the southern trailhead. Or you can simply hike back the way you came and reward yourself with a second swim at the waterfalls as you retrace your steps back to the starting point.