Hiking Vickery Creek Trail – Roswell, GA

Vickery Creek has everything I was looking for in a urban trail hike.

  • Easy to access
  • Beautiful scenery
  • Hills/Elevation
  • Historic aspect

I was excited to spend my first evening hike at Vickery Creek Trail. Waterfalls? Covered Bridge? History? All this and then some.

I actually started my hike at one of the most picturesque spots. At first I had intended on hiking up to the Falls and Covered Bridge but I am glad I both started AND ended there.

Here is a link to the official trail map.

After descending down a concrete path from the Roswell Mills parking lot, you can go left to check out the historic mill buildings or right onto the trail via the covered bridge. I chose the latter.

The covered bridge is newer and you can read more about it and Old Mill Park and Roswell Mill ruins here.

The bridge has an amazing view of the rushing rapids below.

One last look at the bridge and I started up the concrete stairs to join the path at the VC15 marker. I followed the trail leading up to a ridge above the water which takes you to the Falls (VC19).

Once I got to the falls, there are signs posted to stay off the dam but on both sides of the water, there are areas to scramble a bit down on the rocks. I didn’t have too much of an issue, but the rocks weren’t too slippery.

Remember to leave no trace or shoe behind

After spending a few minutes at the falls, I continued my hike.

That Georgia red clay…

If you stare long enough, you see things

Coming back from doing part of the inland trails, I came back down across the bridge and to the ruins side of the creek. There are lots of signage that gives you a historical perspective and background of the Mill and how it impacted the local community through the years.

Educational signage posted along the path

Broad concrete paths and wooden overlooks make this a more accessible option for people who are unable to hike or prefer not to have such a rugged trek.

The path takes you through some of the ruins.

There are also spots where observers can scramble a bit down the rocks to get closer to the edge of the creek and falls. After four miles on the trail, I decided to stay put on one of overlooks.

What I loved about Vickery Creek trail is that anyone can enjoy the falls as there are wheelchair accessible paths. If you just want to come for the view, you can do that. If you want to get your heart rate up with a run on the hills, you can do that too. Learn about history and marvel at the power that was harnessed by the rushing water falling beside you.

The surrounding area has plenty of shops and places to grab dinner after you’ve worked up that appetite.

Don’t forget to hydrate, wear trail appropriate shoes, apply bug spray and bring a camera.

Hike your own hike

As I think back upon 2018, the one thing that stands out is the need to hike your own hike (HYOH). There is no one size fits all to hiking. Just as no two trails are the same.

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At the root of it all, HYOH is meant to signify that you don’t need to conform to what everyone else might be doing but simply to focus on your own hiking experience without comparing yourself to others. Of course this doesn’t mean that one should be disrespectful, ignore leave no trace principles or do something dangerous on the trail.

So this is what HYOH means to me.

The miles I put in on a hike are enough for me.

I know how much my body can handle. When other hikers or people push me to go further, I know what’s in my limits. Stretch goals are fun and great….and necessary. However, I’m not less of a hiker or my accomplishment not worthy because I didn’t match someone else’s time or distance. So instead of comparing ourselves to others, it’s important to understand our own bodies and work hard to improve what we can.

The gear I needed wasn’t always the gear I wanted or that everyone had. 

I returned a backpack twice because I was too impatient to wait to get fitted. Lessons learned. I spent forty five minutes working with an outfitter who fit me for shoes. He even showed me the best way to tie them so they weren’t coming undone every other mile on the trail. I could read all the reviews, watch videos, and scroll through influencer feeds. But in the end, I realized being comfortable and familiar with my gear was essential to the hike.

It’s okay to go it alone and it’s okay to not go it alone.

Hiking is such a personal activity. Being one with nature, observing surroundings, gaining mental and physical strength each time on the trail. There is a lot of fulfillment I’ve found personally in solo hiking. At the same time, I learned that there is also something beautiful in a shared experience of the hike. Camaraderie of having another person to stumble over roots and rocks with. Someone to share a summit beer with or simply inspire you to keep on going when your legs ache. For me, I’ll continue to have both solo hikes and partner hikes, and it feels like it gives me the ability to have the best of both worlds.

I still have a responsibility to hike ethically. 

Hike your own hike doesn’t mean I can blaze new trails, throw trash and my worries to the winds or put myself knowingly in danger in the name of individuality. I need to always have the 10 essentials, know the trail I am embarking on and the weather conditions, and also practice leave no trace. And I also have a responsibility as a member of the hiking community to share that knowledge. Whether I volunteer time, money or other resources – it’s important as give back as a way to help maintain our trail systems for generations to come.

At the end of the day, the number of “likes” don’t count.

My hikes are just as meaningful when I don’t share them on social media. There were many times that my hikes didn’t end up with photos shared or tagged. But those were some of my most intimate and favorite hikes. I still bagged those peaks and took in those vistas, even if it was simply myself or just my hiking partner who knew.  It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole of comparison when looking at some of the perfectly curated Instagram feeds out there, and start to feel this inner pressure to somehow get as many likes, followers, etc. When I start feeling that way, I take a step backward to remember why I’m hiking in the first place and the unique message I can share as part of it.

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I didn’t tally up the number of miles I hiked in 2018, but I may end up doing that in the next few days. It would be great to say that I accomplished a certain goal (a mile a day, a hike a week, or some number of miles in my favorite national park), but right now I think I’m just going to let myself focus on my New Years Day hike.

Thank you for following my adventures on the trail. I wish all of you the happiest of New Years.

 

 

why I hike…

I sit here in my windowless office, staring at the photos that I’ve placed on my desk of happy moments. Hikes at Mount St. Helens. Ones with majestic views of Mt. Jefferson. Feeling that pull to be somewhere so far away from where I am. Sometimes it feels so impossible, yet I know that shouldn’t be the case. But there is a sadness in knowing my heart is somewhere else my body is not.

There is an overused quote that is slapped on everything from books to t-shirts – “The mountains are calling and I must go.” For me though it isn’t the mountains. It’s my heart. It’s my heart calling me back to places that feel like home. Roots gnarled and rocks that are sure to trip me. The feeling I get when I walk along a ridge line. The layered vista of mountains rolling like gentle waves in the distance.

Many hikes have been alone with my soul finding refuge in the spaces between the blazes. Somehow it’s on those mountain walks where I feel strongest and most alive. It’s in those moments that I forget about the insecurities that are threaded through me – attaching themselves into every fiber within my body. I stop comparing myself to the ones who came before me and seemed to have what I cannot hold. In the mountains, I find my worth.

Yet, it’s in the shared hikes where love shines. In the mountains, it’s goofy smiles at the summit. Eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Sipping water from our Nalgene bottles. Heads resting on shoulders and hands pulling each other up when our bodies need help.

I hike for those moments. I set my boots to the trail for the strength it gives my body and the clarity it provides my mind.  I hike because my heart needs to write these love letters when my mouth has no words.

And it’s in these afternoons when my mind drifts to dreams of the crisp mountain air, I realize I hike to remember the love that surrounds me on the trail.

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