Explore the most popular dog friendly trails in Cohutta Wildlife Management Area with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Fun trail with a great water source at Gooch shelter.

Do not go clockwise!! if you do, space and time folds and the whole loop is somehow uphill. Was so crazy!!

Hiked in the rain and through the clouds and was really beautiful. 4.4 miles total if you start at the Neels Gap Store and make your way up across the street there.

My first backpacking trip ever was on this trail around 1994, and my last time on this trail was 1997- I was hooked on backpacking because of this trail and the Cohuttas in general. 20 years later I took my 14 and 12 yo sons on this trail trying to recreate the wonder. No joy. Trail had changed and was unrecognizable. Overgrown and and unkept. Further, I discovered you could no longer camp between beech bottom and jacks river falls. This trip, other than the family bonding, was unpleasant. We left early to head to Red River Gorge.

Great trail! Good for a short one night beginner backpacking trip because the views are incredible. Phone measured 2.16 miles one way. We made a campsite near one of the overlooks a bit before the shelter and enjoyed an awesome sunset and sunrise. Saw some cool mushrooms along the trail too.

This hike is incredible to say the least. The first 1.7 miles are absolutely brutal, but once you get on the first ridge it's completely worth every minute of your pain and suffering. This is one of those hikes that reminds you of all the good and bad. If your young and in top notch shape, there is no bad. If you're not up to one heck of a challenge then don't even attempt this trail. Blood Mountain and Yonah Mountain are a walk in the park compared to this but well worth it if you have it in you. To say it's tough is a understatement, but the terrain along the way and the views cancel out everything else.

hiking
1 month ago

We did the loop counterclockwise June 10, 2018. The loop overall is a good workout but nothing too strenuous up or down. The trail was well marked and in pretty good shape. There are some spots with tall grass grown up but nothing that bad. Most of the water sources are at the beginning (clockwise) or end (counterclockwise). There are no really notable features, but we did see a few turtles, crawfish and an orange salamander. If you live in the Westside area of Whitfield County it certainly is a good option if you want a couple hours of hiking. The trail was very quiet and if you like quiet trails this is one for you. There were several wildflowers along the trail particularly in power line fields you cross 2 times.


The access is pretty easy off of 136 between Villanow and LaFayette via a gravel Forrest service road. There are just a few rough spots. The road is narrow and meeting a vehicle in certain spots can present challenges.

If you click the Directions arrow through Google Maps, it does not take you to the lower parking area with the easiest access to the trail. The link takes you to the upper which is a 2 mile forest service road walk. The trail is beautiful once you arrive on it.

Amazing!!!! My first backpacking trip! We were a group of 10 which included experienced hikers that have done this trail many times and newbies like me. We started in the afternoon on Saturday, camped, hiked to the falls Sunday, camped, then hiked out Sunday morning.
We started at the Jack's River Western Trailhead as marked on this map and made our way to Beech Bottom and the falls, but took the Beech Bottom Falls trail back out to a second car we had parked there so that it wasn't a true out and back trail as marked on here. A car was put there in case we had to bail out because of the storm forecasts. We just had a lot of rain (and quite a bit during the trip at night) so the river level was pretty high. Most crossings were very manageable but nearer to the falls, and if you were to continue east past Beech Bottom along the trail (which was our original plan) the river was past waist deep (I'm 5'5'') and moving quickly. We changed our plans and camped a bit past the falls then double backed the next day to take the Beech Bottom trail out once we experienced how deep the river crossings were becoming. I definitely recommend bringing hiking poles to stabilize yourself while crossing. We heard from other groups that came the opposite direction that some crossings were so deep they had to swim across with their packs.
The falls themselves were amazing and we did the cliff jump after watching a group demonstrate that they were safe!!
The trail wasn't as maintained as other State Parks and National Parks that I've been to -- lots of downed trees to climb over and some overgrown plants but I think that really added to the wilderness feel and it didn't slow us down. We saw one copperhead sunning itself at a campsite but that was the only wildlife encounter. Lots of beautiful scenery, mushrooms, and the river itself made for a wonderful trip.

The trail is rated moderate but I guess that is when the water is low. But be warned, this hike has numerous river crossings. The water was waist high in most of the places and a bit deeper in some others. We made it to the fifth camping spot and had to turn around because we could not cross at this point. The water was simply too deep and fast for us to manage with backpacks.That was about 1/3 of the way in or 2.5 miles. I imagine this is a much different trail when the water is low and easily crossed. At this time of year there were plenty of snakes, but this is a gorgeous area and the river is a beautiful hiking companion. The trailhead is accessible after a long drive on a bumpy dirt road with lots of potholes. The area needs some attention in general. Campsites, signs etc. are in bad shape. To this point, we met a couple before the first river crossing looking for Jacks Falls(?) They got their information off the Internet somewhere, obviously not very well communicated. Plan for it and this is a great hike.

Beautiful hike, first two miles can be a pretty unforgiving incline, but once you start to make elevation is really pays off with beautiful views. My dog however, came back with over 30 ticks! Recommended, but check for ticks when you get home!

camping
2 months ago

This is by far one of my favorite spots.
Been going for about 10 years now. Unfortunately though it is overly crowded and the trial has changed over the years.
over night stay highly recommended!
Always check the water at the swimming hole before jumping in from the cliff!!!
#leavenotrace

fishing
2 months ago

Wasn’t really a hike, or at least I didn’t see the trails. People were mainly there for fishing and swimming in the waterfall. Great area to swim around in.

backpacking
2 months ago

good trail. We went clockwise. I recommend counter clockwise if you don't like steep climbs. took the dogs and they were off leash all day. gives them time to explore. nothing extremely exciting about it other than being able to let the dogs run.

great overnight hike

This is an awesome hike, especially in the spring before the trees fill with leaves. My husband and I were able to see the mountains and the valleys well. It is definitely a good idea to start this hike at Track Rock Gap as opposed to starting at Brasstown Bald. The most difficult part of the hike is the first 1-1.5 miles staring from Track Rock Gap. This section is pretty much a steep uphill climb. It was nice to get this over with. In reading other posts I was confused. It sounded like the archeological site was part of the trail. It is not. It is a separate trail across the highway from the start of the actual trail. The trailhead for the Arkequah Is very clearly marked on one side of the highway and the archeological trail is very clearly marked on the other. Also, the Arkequah is 5.5 miles each way. When you get to the end of the trail(at a parking lot with restrooms and a ranger station) , you still have to hike the Summit Trail for 0.6 mile to get to the observation tower. This may be why some folks came up with distances other than 11 miles. The total is 12.2 miles if you do the Arkequah and the Summit Trail. I’m not sure how much distance is added if you do the archeological trail too. With that said, the hike is strenuous even if you are used to hiking long distances, but the views along the way and at the summit are so worth it. Total hike time was 5 hours and 19 minutes.

Nice moderate hike. Some climbing, but not strenuous. Many wildflowers, especially in the sections closest to the creek. Quite lovely. My friend and I hiked the loop counterclockwise. Numerous creek crossings! But easy rock hopping, as the water wasn't high. After a big rain, that might be another story. Nearing the end of the loop, the trail dumps you at a 3-way fork (another service road). At this point the trail is not clearly visible, and it took us a bit to realize the trail continued through the intersection on the left. Note: the 2-3 miles you need to drive on Service Road 219 to the trail head is rough, but doable in a truck or SUV.

We stated this section with car camping at Woody. Nice views!

My husband and I had been wanting to conquer this hike for months now, just waiting for the warmer weather to arrive. We started at Track Rock Gap, first two miles are brutal, after that you can catch glimpses of the tower at Brasstown., which seemed to be much farther than 3 miles away from that point. We still pushed forward. At times, we doubted if we could make it, but we did!! It took us 3.5 hours to arrive at visitors center where we rested for an hour. The return trip took 2.5 hours, much easier going back. I recommend starting at Trackrock Gap and getting the hardest part done first, and start early as you can. The views are great once you get to the ridge line. The trail has no blazes, but very easy to follow. There are a few rocky areas that made it somewhat treacherous, take your time. All in all, it was a great hike and I am glad we can say we conquered this one!

Weather was great,people on the trail were pleasant! Haven't been up in about 7 years and got to take my wife and daughter with me,very memorable hike!!! Will definitely be back to the trail during the summer!!

Great hike. Dog friendly and absolutely beautiful. The trail isn’t very crowded and offers varying vegetation. The climb up from Track Rock Gap and back down is brutal, but the rest is fairly moderate. We took a break for lunch at the top of Brasstown Bald and the trek took us about 5.5 hours round trip. We are not very experienced hikers and were able to navigate it just fine.

on Arkaquah Trail

hiking
3 months ago

This is an amazing yet very challenging trail. I can’t believe it’s 11 miles. We tracked it at 16.5 and it took us about 9 hours to complete. The view was well worth it. It’s beautiful at the top of Brasstown Bald.

hiking
3 months ago

This definitely was a tough one for a day hike. Legs completely sore the day after, but extremely worth it. Most of the trail going up you’re surrounded by dense forests and will be going through many switchbacks. Once you get closer to the parking area at the top, the trail gets milder and easier. The parking area is a great location to refuel and buy snacks if needed. Then the last half mile is on a paved path to the top. The observation tower at the top was quite unique and views were amazing as you can see for miles in all directions. You are clearly able to tell you are at the tallest point in Georgia here. The path is very easy follow and relatively straightforward. Took a little less than 7 hours to complete. Definitely recommend, but be aware of a difficult and exhausting hike.

Great hike with great views!!! Would definitely recommend!

hiking
4 months ago

I take the dogs here a lot and we hike/walk the road. Havent been past the concrete bridge by the small falls, but it's a lovely walk. Very pretty and easy. We usually park in the lot by the main falls and swimming area. I haven't come across an actual trail, just the road and a few defunct service roads. Bring water, trail snacks, and definitely a camera. The wildlife is spectacular.

great hike with a rewarding view !! would definitely recommend.

fantastic!

Moderate hike up. Several view opportunities. If you get an early start, you will likely face a crowded trail if you backtrack down. i suggest doing the loop which imcludes the Freeman Trail, to avoid. Tried to give a 3 Star but app wouldn't allow.

Good hike and beautiful views with snow still on the mountain. Hiking boots a must and walking stick would be helpful if it’s winter! BUT, do not.. repeat.. do not go down the switchbacks to the “archaeological site”. First off, most excruciating, muddy path ever. My two friends and I were dying and we are avid hikers. Second, the “archeological site” is 5 rocks that are stupid and not worth it. Supposedly has Native American carvings, and nothing amazing was seen. Stop at the peak and enjoy that! It’d recommend the hike up to that point! If you have enough energy you can even do the 1.1 Brasstown Bald hike too.

Beautiful hike, and not overly difficult....moderate rating is accurate. The falls are amazing especially when frozen over. The forest road getting there is rough and potentially muddy. Drive a vehicle that’s not low to the ground. Four wheel drive is helpful.

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