dogs on leash
The Cohutta Wildlife Management Area is a huge area of forest in north Georgia, of more than 95,000 acres. This site covers only a small area along good gravel roads in the southern part of the WMA, but the whole area is worth exploring for those with the time and curiosity. This WMA is encompassed within Georgia's Cohutta Wilderness area, which is the state's second largest wilderness area. The Cohutta Mountains are part of the oldest known mountains in the world. They run from Fannin County northeast to the Tennessee-North Carolina border, where they are known as the Smoky Mountains, and once bordered a prehistoric ocean. It is from these mountains that the Cohutta WMA gets its name.
Carol H. on George W Disney Trail
This trail is in my top 10 list! Hard, short, and a good workout if you want to bust it up to the top. We do it like 2-3 times a week on our work lunch break. To the top and back, about 45 min. But of course add sit down time and enjoy the views. For some reason people like to drop their water bottles, so some weeks we take a garbage bag and do clean up. Note: due to very little rain in the area (Oct 2016 now) for the past few months, it is a bit slick and powdery. People do break ankles on this trail. So step carefully. I call this one "difficult" for that reason. But we LOVE IT! And my dog does well, just have to help her up the rocks a few times. Not for beginners at all or those not sure footed.
There is also a little loop trail to the left. It comes back into the main trail. That one is good for trail running and jumping over logs or adding distance to your trek.
Hope this helps!!
This is tough. I decided to hike the entire trail, not just to the falls. As I looked at reviews I could find people who had hiked to the falls from both the trailhead off of 23, and from Yonah Dam, but nobody who did the whole thing. I left from the trailhead off of 23
Finding it is pretty easy and once you get started you immediately notice how "rooty" and eroded the trail is. This section is not difficult but will get your ankles if you are not cautious. Other than that, the first half is really straightforward. Really flat, with just a few spots where caution is needed. When you get about a half mile from the falls it gets a bit more technical but still manageable. People saying to not bring kids or dogs may be over-reacting a bit. I read a lot of reviews and people really are "big upping" this trail by calling out even the shortest stretches where care is needed. The first half is easy with some moderate sections and about 1/4 mile of challenging footing. Very few places you could get turned around. The split in the trail at 3/4 mile comes out right at the main trail so no worries there. Go left if you want the easier route.
The only caveat I would add here is that if it is raining or has rained recently this will be a whole different ballgame. The roots will be slick and the technical sections close to the waterfalls will be dangerous.
Falls are cool, but not the best. In the end, the people swarming all over the beach area ruin it and the trash tossed alongside the trail cinches it. Most people are pretty good, but as other reviewers have noted the trash really is pervasive. I saw no less than 20 water bottles scattered along the trail, teach in almost every fire pit in the camp-sites, and actual bags of garbage hanging in those same camp-sites. I guess this is where the real unsavories go to say they are campers and hikers while destroying the area around them. If you are a teen or twenty-something and want to go hang out then knock yourself out, just take your trash with you.
There is a lot of camping and if you go all the way to the falls it's like a campground. On Sunday AM there were probably 8 tents up along the beach and hammocks everywhere. Most of the sites along the trail were also full.
Once you get past the waterfalls the people disappear. The trail gets pretty technical (feels a lot like some of the ridges on the AT, oddly enough), there is a decent climb, and you stay along the creek most of the way. I preferred this half, so if you wanted to, you could take the back way, drive up Yonah Dam road, and walk to the falls from this direction. Somebody said it was impossible to find the trail head, but just go to the end of the gravel road, park, and cross the wooden bridge. Then turn right and walk.
I passed a guy on this half and startled him. Just for perspective he told me he hikes that half of the trail 8-10 times every year and has done so for the last 25 years when he is in the area. He said I was the only person he had ever seen on that half. Trail is maintained well, so just his luck, I'm sure, but that gives you an idea how many fewer people there are. Bonus: no trash
I see a lot of debates about the mileage. I ran my GPS and the falls came in at 3.9 miles from the trail head and the whole trail measured just a touch under 7 miles. Both ways about 13.5. I think my phone might be overstating mileage by about 10% based on recent recording so know that. This half was more technical than the first half.
I only gave 3 stars because of the people, erosion, and trash. First half is easy with moderate sections. Second half is moderate with difficult sections. Very few markings so if you are not confident in following a trail be careful if you go onto the second half.
Cheryl K. on George W Disney Trail
absolutely gorgeous! awesome hike.