Hiking trails of the Cohutta Wilderness a true Outdoor adventure!

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Hiking trails of the Cohutta Wilderness

With 95 miles of trails, the Cohutta Wilderness is a hiker's dream come true. Talk about an outdoor adventure, after heavy rains, both the Jacks and Conasauga rivers can become raging, virtually impossible to cross safely, so be alert! Those planning a hike to the Cohutta Wilderness should watch weather forecasts carefully. Use a walking stick or staff to help cross rivers, and if water is fast, do not even try. A trip may get extended in bad weather, so be prepared for this possibility with extra food, and dry warm clothing. It is the mountains and getting caught after dark unprepared can be life threatening, take hiking here very seriously. Make sure someone at home knows the route of the hike you are taking and your expected time of return. Even on good days, plan on getting wet. The Conasauga River Trail between Betty Gap and FS 17 has 38 river crossings. Hiking boots will quickly become soggy. Many experienced hikers on the Conasauga and Jacks River Trails wear old tennis shoes and simply accept the fact they'll have wet feet. Bring dry shoes and clothes for camp.

Camping is permitted anywhere except in the trails and at trail heads. Fires are permitted using dead and down wood only. No permits are required. Please obey all wilderness regulations posted at trail heads. Horses are prohibited on certain trails.

Please respect our wilderness areas to preserve them for generations to come. Pack out what you bring in and Please do not poach the plants and animals that live here. It is a balanced ecosystem that depends on our protection ... respect that!

Wilderness maps are available from the U.S. Forest Service District Office in Chatsworth or from patrolling Forest Service officers.

 

Beech Bottom Trail

4 miles. An easy to moderately difficult, heavily used, access trail to Jacks River and Jacks River Falls.

 

 

Chestnut Lead Trail

 

.14 mile. An easy to moderately difficult, blue-blazed trail which provides a good look at skeletons of giant chestnut trees that thrived in this forest before the chestnut blight.

Conasauga River Trail

 

13.1 miles. Marked by yellow blazes, a moderately difficult hiking trail that fords the river 38 times. Large Eastern hemlock trees are a feature of this trail, which is the roadbed of an old railroad. Bray Field is a popular, but sometimes crowded, camping area.

East Cowpen Trail

7 miles. This moderately difficult to strenuous trail is a good, high-elevation trail, which follows the former route of Old Highway 2, on which erosion control was done before it was closed. Though not necessarily a good destination trail, it can provide relatively quick access to other trails.

 

Hemp Top Trail

 

6.2 miles. A moderately difficult to strenuous, white-blazed, lesser-used trail that continues into the Big Frog Wilderness in Tennessee. The trail climbs up Big Frog Mountain.

 

Hickory Creek Trail

 

8.6 miles. An easy to moderately difficult, white-blazed trail, used as access to the Conasauga River, which can be reached from either trail head. From the western trail head, the Conasauga is a little more than 1.5 miles.

 

Hickory Ridge Trail

3.6 miles. A moderately difficult to strenuous, yellow-blazed, interior trail to Jacks River and Jacks River Falls.

 

Jacks River Trail

16.7 miles. This moderately difficult, orange-blazed trail is the roadbed of an old railroad. It is the longest and wettest trail in the Cohutta Wilderness, crossing the river 42 times. It is often crowded at the falls. The least-used portion of the trail is from Alaculsy to Jacks River Falls. In the middle of Horseshoe Bend are several beautiful spots to camp.

Panther Creek Trail

 

3.4 miles. A moderately difficult to strenuous, blue-blazed trail, very popular and scenic, passing a high waterfall. This trail has some very rugged, rocky sections.

Penitentiary Branch Trail

 

3.6 miles. An easy to moderately difficult interior trail with its start on Hemp Top Trail. It ends at Jacks River.

Sugar Cove Trail

2.2 miles. A moderately difficult to strenuous, white-blazed, interior trail to Jacks River. Trail descends through a hardwood cove.

 

Rice Camp Trail

3.9 miles. An easy to moderately difficult, yellow-blazed access trail to Jacks River with several stream crossings.

Rough Ridge Trail

7 miles. A moderately difficult to strenuous, blue- or white-blazed trail, providing access to Jacks River. Ridge trail that descends to a hardwood cove and then becomes very steep and sometimes rocky as it continues to descend to the river.

 

Tearbritches Trail

3.2 miles. A moderately difficult to strenuous, orange-blazed trail, which climbs Bald Mountain (over 4,000 feet elevation) and then descends steeply to Bray Field—the junction for the Conasauga River and Hickory Creek trails and nearby Panther Creek Trail.

 

For more information:
Some roads are closed depending on weather conditions, so it is recommended that one call the Cohutta Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service at (706) 695-6737 in advance of a trip to check road conditions.

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