Cohutta Wilderness East Cowpen, Hickory Ridge, and Rough Ridge Loop

Ellijay, Georgia

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The East Cowpen, Hickory Ridge, and Rough Ridge trails form a loop that passes through the heart of the Cohutta Wilderness. Because this is a long trek with some steep climbs, it works best as an overnight trip for experienced backpackers. The best part is that it travels through two distinct types of terrain found in the Cohutta. The trip begins in hardwoods on high ridges that form the western wall of a deep gorge that drops 1,500 feet to Rough Creek. If you’re backpacking, your first day will likely end with a descent to the banks of Jacks River, which rushes through heath forest of hemlocks and rhododendrons. There is room on the riverbank for camping, and on clear nights you can gaze at a starry sky undisturbed by city lights. On the second day, you climb high again to Rough Ridge, where you can look across the gorge and get a real sense of its depth and breadth.
Afoot and Afield Atlanta: 108 Spectacular Outings in North-Central Georgia

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Afoot and Afield Atlanta: 108 Spectacular Outings in North-Central Georgia

by Marcus Woolf (Wilderness Press)

The East Cowpen, Hickory Ridge, and Rough Ridge trails form a loop that passes through the heart of the Cohutta Wilderness. Because this is a long trek with some steep climbs, it works best as an overnight trip for experienced backpackers. The best part is that it travels through two distinct types of terrain found in the Cohutta.

The trip begins in hardwoods on high ridges that form the western wall of a deep gorge that drops 1,500 feet to Rough Creek. If you’re backpacking, your first day will likely end with a descent to the banks of Jacks River, which rushes through heath forest of hemlocks and rhododendrons. There is room on the riverbank for camping, and on clear nights you can gaze at a starry sky undisturbed by city lights. On the second day, you climb high again to Rough Ridge, where you can look across the gorge and get a real sense of its depth and breadth.

© 2016 Marcus Woolf/Wilderness Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking, Horseback Riding
Nearby City: Ellijay
Distance: 15.6
Elevation Gain: 3,480 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 16 hours
Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: Chattahoochee National Forest, Conasauga Ranger District
Local Maps: National Geographic Trails Illustrated Springer and Cohutta Mountains Chattahoochee National Forest
Driving Directions: Directions to Cohutta Wilderness: East Cowpen, Hickory Ridge, & Rough Ridge Loop

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Apr 2018