Print-Friendly Version
Add this event to your calendar (Outlook, iCalendar)
Add REGISTRATION REMINDER to your calendar

REGISTRATION REQUIRED: Once you've reviewed the event details, and decided you'd like to join us, you MUST sign up at the bottom of this page.

Cohutta Mountain Loop Hike - East Cowpen, Hickory Ridge, Beech Bottom & Rough Ridge

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: Cohutta Wilderness Area   Hike: Cohutta Mountain Loop Hike - East Cowpen, Hickory Ridge, Beech Bottom & Rough Ridge  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sat, Aug 1 2015  7:00 am >> Sat, Aug 1 2015 7:00 pm  (Carpool Departure: 7:00 am   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Wed, Jul 29 2015 8:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Fri, Jul 31 2015 10:00 pm
Event Duration:12 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D5: Difficult
Distance:16 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Mike Pawloski
Email Trip Leader(s)
You must be logged in to get the Trip Leader contact information.
Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:10
Minimum Group Size:2
Number Registered So Far: 6 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: Yes


The Cohutta Wilderness covers 36,977 acres (about 60 square miles) that spill over the Georgia/Tennessee border and lie within the 95,265-acre Cohutta Wildlife Management Area. It was designated as a wilderness in 1975. Hemp Top was added in 1986, making this the third largest mountain wilderness area in the East.

I've done this as a backpack and have thought it would be fun to do as a day hike.

Please note this event covers a demanding route.  If you have not completed a recent D5 hike/backpack or we have not been on an event previously, expect to have a conversation regarding fitness and capabilities. 

This loop will traverse four trails - East Cowpen, Hickory Ridge, Beech Bottom and Rough Ridge. The hike in and descent down Hickory Ridge is steep.  Once at Beech Bottom. we'll cross the Jack's River twice.  We'll lunch around here, swim, rest, and then continue along Rough Creek and Rough Ridge, hiking our way back to the parking lot.

Hydration will be of utmost importance.  3 L of water is recommended.  Also, we may encounter yellow jackets so if you have a bee allergy please make sure you carry an EpiPen. 

In the Notes section below is a map of the route, Concurrent Mapping and Localization (CML) points, an elevation profile, and some trail signage we'll encounter.

Required Items to Bring:
  • Hiking Boots / Water Shoes
  • Food and Snacks (1 lunch, snacks you prefer)
  • 3 L of water (TL will have a Water Filter.)
  • Fun, positive attitude!
Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.
  • Hiking Poles
  • Sunscreen
  • Change of Clothes and Towel

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

Three Forks Parking Area Coordinates are 34.8815613, -84.5658722

Directions: From Atlanta, GA: Take I-75 to I-575, and follow I-575 up into North Georgia. I-575 will become Route 515. In Elijay, take a left onto Soule Bridge, and immediately another left onto GA Route 52. In downtown Elijay, take the second exit to the right on the roundabout. Follow GA 52 for 5.2 miles until Gates Chapel Road. Turn right onto Gates Chapel Road and follow it for 5.4 miles. When pavement will end, keep right onto Wilderness Trl. Follow it for 1.5 miles, and then take a right onto Old CCC Camp Road. Follow it for 3.2 miles to the top of the mountain and USFS 64. Turn right onto USFS 64, and follow it for 4.2 miles until you will see a large parking lot on the left of the road, while the road itself sharply switchbacks to the right. This is Dally Gap. 


Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):150Mile(s)
Carpool Departure Time: 7:00 am
Carpool Location:   Log in for location
Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions
Carpool Cost: Estimated cost per vehicle for this event is $60.00 using a reimbursement rate guideline of $0.400 per mile. The total amount should be divided by the number of people in the vehicle, including the driver. This is a guideline, not a rule, for drivers but the cost should not be higher unless there are extenuating circumstances.



Dotted with place names like Crooked Dog Gap and Rough Creek, this 15.5-mile route mixes rugged ridgeline
climbs and quiet riverside campsites.
Distance: 15.5 miles
Concurrent Mapping and Localization (CML) points are below.
Map is at

CML001 Location: 34.8815613, -84.5658722
From Three Forks parking lot, begin gentle ascent amid mature hardwoods

CML002 Location: 34.8852959, -84.5707321
L @ Y, bearing NW on East Cowpen Trail to begin the clockwise loop. Ahead, skirt the E edge of Cowpen Mtn. (4,151 ft.)

CML003 Location: 34.9073372, -84.5796661
Straight @ 3-way; to R, hemlocks and oaks shade campsite with space for 4 or 5 tents. Trail heads N past Buckeye Mtn.

CML004 Location: 34.9329491, -84.5826797
Cross wide spot on ridge; go straight @ T bearing NE on Hickory Ridge Trail

CML005 Location: 34.9384308, -84.5780411
Pass lone 12-ft. American holly tree; heading N, descend along gully on N side of Turkey Stand Lead

CML006 Location: 34.9689865, -84.5712128
Forest transitions from hardwood to hemlocks with lush undergrowth

CML007 Location: 34.9699326, -84.5683899
Beech Bottom: fish for trout, soak in stream, enjoy starry skies.
To continue, head SE on Jacks River Trail.  Cross Jacks River twice.

CampsiteLocation: 34.9689903, -84.5648193
Small camp site here along Rough Creek; room for one or two tents

CML008 Location: 34.9693756, -84.5659027
Cross Rough Creek and turn R, traveling SE;

CML009 Location: 34.9631729, -84.556778
R @ Y into Rough Creek; climb side gully to reach N end of Rough Ridge

CML010 Location: 34.9504128, -84.5650253
Look SW for vantage of Rough Creek cutting through deep, forested gorge; pass spring just S of Crooked Dog Gap

CML011 Location: 34.9343452, -84.562294
Rollercoaster over oak-dominated hills and saddles on Rough Ridge

CML012 Location: 34.9119568, -84.561615
Straight @ unsigned 3-way; head S along crest away from Sugar Cove; in 2.1 mi., close loop @ CML002; backtrack to start


Here's an elevation profile of the hike:

Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 4260 ft
Total Loss: 4018 ft
Net Change: 242 ft


Here's a sign at the intersection of Rough Ridge Trail and Jack's River Trail which we will encounter after our second Jack's River crossing. 


* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.