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Cohutta Wilderness backpacking - Rice Camp Trail

The Basics:
Event Type:Backpacking
Event Location: Rice Camp Trail trail head
Date(s) & Time:Sat, Aug 3 2013  10:45 am >> Sun, Aug 4 2013 5:00 pm  (Carpool Departure: 7:45 am   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Wed, Jul 17 2013 9:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Fri, Aug 2 2013 5:00 pm
Event Duration:1 Days 6 Hours 15 Minutes
Difficulty Rating:D4: Moderate to Difficult
Distance:10 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:8
Minimum Group Size:3
Number Registered So Far: 8 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: Yes


This will be my birthday celebration so let's go backpacking and swimming!  

Rice Camp Trail follows the clear, cold, often sliding water of small streams for the first half of its 
length. Almost from its beginning at 1,740 feet, the 
wide and always wet trail parallels a tributary of Rice 
Camp Branch. After crossing this headwater rivulet 
for the third time at mile 1.1, the trail trades streams 
and follows Rice Camp Branch.

After nine Rice Camp Branch crossings and 1.9 
miles of nearly level terrain, the path turns left away 
from the stream and ascends moderate and more 
gradual upgrades on an old roadbed until it opens 
into a white oak flat, once the site of a logging camp 
and sawmill. At mile 2.7 the trail makes a short, 
sharp drop to a muddy rivulet. Look for the smooth, 
light-gray bark of the last few large beech trees still 
standing beside the small stream.  These crossings typically have low levels of water, not requiring a change from your regular hiking boots.

The remainder of Rice Camp traverses a succession of low, dry ridges through a predominantly oak- 
pine forest. The resulting ups and downs are easy or 
moderate. The land beside the trail often slopes away 
gradually on small spur ridges or falls away suddenly 
into moist ravines on either side of the ridge top, where there are some very steep but short sections.

The wilderness path descends through a belt of 
rosebay rhododendron and eastern hemlock to 1,350 
feet, where it ends at the orange-blazed Jacks River 
Trail above a normally shallow tributary.

We will hopefully get the campsite that I have stayed at many times before, along the banks of the Jacks River, where we will over look the gurgling river.  If this campsite is taken, there are other options in the same area.

Option: Jacks River 
Falls is one ford and 1.2 miles to the right, east and 
upstream, on a very scenic portion of the Jacks River Trail.  Bring some river shoes for this crossing; it will likely be knee high.  We can swim and enjoy the falls for about an hour or so, then return to our campsite for relaxing, dinner, and later for star gazing.

The next morning, around 11am, we'll hike back out the way we came.  I estimate that we'll be back at the Park-n-Ride in Kennesaw no later than 5pm, give or take.

Please only attempt this trip if you're in good physical condition, and can backpack in the mountains at a 2.5mph pace.  If you want to race, or feel that pump, that's fine, but don't go past forks without waiting, and don't expect the sweep to push the slower hikers beyond their capacity.  The stream crossings are not deep but trekking poles are important to have, along with respect of slippery rocks (no rushing).  

Over the years, there has been many bear sightings in the Cohutta's, so be prepared to protect your food with a way to hang it bagged in a tree.

Two dogs maximum limit, due to the size of the campsite.

Vehicles with high(er) clearance are recommended for the drive; the forest service road crosses two streams.

Note -- Thank you Michael Johnson for some of the details that I have used from a previous trip description.

Detail map of Rice Camp Trail




Required Items to Bring:

2 lunches
1 dinner
1 breakfast
Swim suit
Change of clothes/towel (for car ride home and in camp)
2+ litres water carrying capacity
water filtration
good hiking footwear
non-cotton clothing
Tent (or hammock), backpack, sleeping pad, raingear, jacket, flashlight, toilet paper.

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

Trekking poles, adult beverage (please drink responsibly!)

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

From the GA 52-US 411 intersection in 
Chatsworth, travel US 411 North approximately 13.4 miles, past Eton toward Tennga, to the community 
of Cisco. In Cisco, turn right onto the paved road immediately before the Cisco Baptist Church, also on the right. Once part 
of GA 2, this road is now known as Old GA 2. This road is also FS 16. 
Continue on FS 16 (the pavement ends; stay to the right at the fork; pass 
Hopewell Church; cross the Conasauga River) for approximately 7.9

miles, then turn right onto FS 51. Proceed about 4.8 miles} making two 
fords. The fords may require a utility vehicle in wet weather. You will 
find the Rice Camp trailhead, bulletin board, and parking area on the left. As you approach, Rice Camp Trail is to the left and East Cowpen 
Trail is straight ahead into the wilderness.


Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):180Mile(s)
Carpool Departure Time: 7:45 am
Carpool Location:   Log in for location
Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions
Carpool Cost: Estimated cost per vehicle for this event is $72.00 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.


If the weather forecast prediction is for 60% chance of rain or higher for the entire weekend, this trip will likely be cancelled.  However I've backpacked the Cohuttas with high chances of rain, and had sunny days.

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

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