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Cohutta Wilderness/Hemp Top/Penitentiary Branch/Jacks River I/O

The Basics:
STATUS: Cancelled - Hide from Calendar
Event Type:Backpacking
Event Location: Jack’s River, Cohutta Wilderness Area   Backpacking: Cohutta Wilderness/Hemp Top/Penitentiary Branch/Jacks River I/O  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sat, Feb 8 2020  8:00 am >> Sun, Feb 9 2020 2:00 pm  (Carpool Departure: 8:00 am   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Mon, Jan 27 2020 8:40 pm
Registration Cut Off: Sat, Feb 8 2020 5:40 am
Event Duration:1 Days 6 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D4: Moderate to Difficult
Distance:11 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Grant Brown
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:12
Minimum Group Size:2
Number Registered So Far: 12 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: Yes


Cohutta fun time!  It will be cold.  Beginners welcome, feel free to contact me with questions about cold weather camping.  Please arrive to carpool 15 minutes early.  We will want to depart at 8.  We will travel to Dally Gap where we will park and then pick up the Hemp Top Trail [2.1 miles] to Penitentiary Branch Trail [3.4 miles].   We will camp at the beautiful and spacious area at the intersection of Jacks River Trail and the Penitentiary Branch Trail. NOTE:  On the hike in, there are some shallow river/creek crossings you will need to prepare for by bringing water shoes or waterproof boots of some sort.  It is possible to step from stone to stone in some cases.

Upon arrival, we'll set up our tents, eat lunch if we haven't already, and gather wood for our evening fire [featuring live musicians!].  Afterward, we can see if it is possible to cross the river and hike downstream some.  Or, we can just work on gathering and cutting firewood and build a fire.

Note:  We are leaving out early on the front-end in order to claim one of the first come first serve sites.  IF that campsite is already taken, we may need to camp at other options - one is that we can hike further downriver to another campsite and it will require us to cross the river.  So, please bring water shoes for that possibility.  The other option is to retrace our footsteps about ten minutes to the Penitentiary Creek, which would not require us to cross the river; this would be my choice if we cannot stay at the river.

Some housekeeping rules to keep things running smoothly:  

-There is a limit of 3 total dogs allowed to accompany the group for the trip.  First come first serve. 

-Dogs must be well behaved with both people and other animals.

-Dogs must be leashed while on the trail so they don't get under other hikers' feet.

-Dogs must be leashed while people are cooking and eating and must basically stay out of and away from people's food.

-When you place your tent, be aware that groups often like to stay up late around the fire and we may be playing music as well.

-If you use someone's water filter, offer to compensate them in some way.  The filters cost money as do the replacement filters that have to be purchased.

-When we are gathering wood for the fire, you are expected to assist.  When we gather wood as a group it goes quickly!

-If we have a fire, that fire has to be put out sufficiently at the end of the evening.  This is the responsibility of the group and especially whoever is there at the end when everyone abandons the fire for bed.

-You are not allowed to burn any trash in the fire unless it is paper.

Elevation Profile for this hike.  This is a one- way profile from Dally Gap to camp.

Map of the hike

Vehicle note:  We will be traveling about 5 miles on Forest Service roads.  With all of the rain, these roads could be muddy.  It would be best to only bring a higher clearance vehicle for this.

Required Items to Bring:

Meals (Sat lunch and dinner, Sun breakfast)

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.

Handwarmer packets are handy and can be purchased at REI and Lowe's. If you tend to be cold in your sleeping bag, and/or get cold toes in your boots I recommend bringing a couple.

Camera, musical instruments, scary stories to tell  :-)

At the car:  dry clothes, shoes, socks, extra water, food.

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

Google Map directions from Busbee Park 'n Ride


Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):100Mile(s)
Carpool Departure Time: 8:00 am
Carpool Location:   Log in for location
Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions
Carpool Cost: Estimated cost per vehicle for this event is $40.00 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.


Will this event occur rain or shine? Yes, but not in extremely poor conditions.

NOTE: Please be considerate of others. If you sign-up and cannot attend, please e-mail the event leader, so others that may be on a waiting list may attend. E-mail the event leader to be put on a waiting list if the trip is at the max number of attendees.

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

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