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Penitentiary Branch - Jacks River Loop - Letís try again

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: Dally Gap   Hike: Penitentiary Branch - Jacks River Loop - Letís try again  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sat, Aug 29 2020  8:30 am >> Sat, Aug 29 2020 4:30 pm
Registration Opens: Thu, Aug 20 2020 8:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Fri, Aug 28 2020 8:04 pm
Event Duration:8 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D5: Difficult (Exploratory)
Distance:13 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:10
Minimum Group Size:3
Number Registered So Far: 7 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: Yes

Note: This is an "EXPLORATORY" trip. This means that there are parts of this trip, or perhaps the whole trip, that is new to your Trip Leader(s). However, they are confident that this will not be an issue.
This note is here so that you can make an informed decision. When a Trip Leader isn't personally familiar with a trip, there is an increased chance of things not going as planned and you need to be prepared. The Trip Leader may have additional details in the itinerary.


For those of you that are fans of Johnny Molloys' 50 Hikes in North Georgia, you will recognize this hike as number 15, if you haven't read the book, give it a try. If you join the hike i will regale you with the etymology of the trail name... entertainment is free of charge.

This is a classic hike in the Cohutta Wilderness that is a good mix of dry land hiking and wet feet water crossing fun!

We will start at Dally Gap where a large parking area will welcome us after a bumpy gravel road drive. The first half of our hike will be on dry land on the Hemp Top Trail, after some rock hopping across the Penitentiary Branch we will hook up with the Jacks River Trail. We will change into our water shoes and do the first of our 18 river fords that will range in depth from ankle deep to chest deep - an adventure at every turn. The Jacks River trail will take us all the way back to Dally Gap to complete our loop adventure. We will be stopping at one of the river crossings for our lunch and a swim.

You will get wet on this hike, expect to fall in the river at least once.

You must have recent D4/D5 experience to join the fun.

Please see the note in the directions section about using GPS for this event... someone got lost last time (me).

For the safety of the group, the river water level (as measured in Eton should be below 160 CF/sec for an enjoyable hike. We did it at 186 at it was borderline.

Required Items to Bring:

Dry land hiking shoes

Wet feet hiking shoes

Trekking Poles



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

Dry bag

Sense of adventure

Bowling Ball

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

We will meet at Dally Gap at 8:30. Several miles of gravel road driving is required.

Click here for Trailhead location

After SR 2 becomes gravel, travel approximately 1 mile.  The turn off to Service Road 22-2 is incorrect on GPS. It is an acute right turn to a steep service road that has a sign for Hemp Top and Jacks River Trails.

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

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