Cohutta Wilderness Loop Trail

HARD 7 reviews
#3 of 15 trails in

Cohutta Wilderness Loop Trail is a 23.7 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Epworth, Georgia that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

23.7 miles
5,009 feet

dogs on leash





nature trips




wild flowers



over grown


washed out

off trail

This loop requires off trail hiking and bushwacking at this time as it has not been cleaned up since the fires last year. There are trees down all over the trails, making this hike very challenging to complete. This hike is a better option at this time: Dotted with place names like Crooked Dog Gap and Rough Creek, this route mixes rugged ridgeline climbs and quiet riverside campsites. The Cohutta Wilderness is more than 30,000 acres that is not to be changed by man, and only visited by people. The trails are mostly unmarked, so bring a map. The loop is made up of several trails, East Cowpen, Hickory Ridge, Jack's River and Rough Ridge (it is). There is two river fords along Jacks River. There is no water on the East Cowpen and Hickory Ridge side. A real nice spring is at a great campsite along Rough Ridge about two miles south of Jack Creek. Additional camping along Jack,s Creek, and at junction of East Cowpen and Hickory Ridge. Heading north is all downhill, and south is all uphill, especially from Jack's River.

5 months ago

Fantastic trail. The river crossings were cold but great. There’s still a lot of downed trees from the fire, but moved as many as we could. The turn off from jacks river was hard to spot because of a downed tree and the sharp ascent, but we thoroughly enjoyed this trail. I think the whole loop is closer to 18 miles, but not certain. There’s also very little water on the ridge trails, so take advantage on the river and get what you’ll need.

5 months ago

Challenging. Took rough ridge to jacks to rice camp to cowpen. Can camp before upper falls river crossing and after lower falls crossing. Yellow sign marks no camp zone. A lot of burn damage/downed trees. There is some water on cowpen, at the stream shown before cowpen connects with hickory ridge, but it’s a steep scramble down to collect.

6 months ago

Do not do the route listed by all trails!!!!!!! Do the loop from hickory ridge around to rough ridge. If you try to take horseshoe bend the trail just ends half mile before jacks river. I ended up bushwhacking down a 50 degree slope to get down to the river to my campsite. The forest fire really messed this area up. No cell service anywhere. Trekking poles are a must if you are backpacking. The forest rangers will not do anything for you. They are useless. No good water on all of the east cowpen side. Plus half of east cowpen trail is a dirt road. I was disappointed. Jacks river was beautiful. I repeat do not do the loop listed by all trails!!!!!!!!! Take hickory ridge to rough ridge loop. It is shorter but way less problems. Plus shorter distances to get to cleaner water. Only cell service is from the three forks trailhead to about 3 miles down the ridge.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

I would have rated this trail 5 stars but you couldn't use much of it. it has not been cleaned up since the fires last year. there were trees down all over the trails. we had to go over, under and around constantly. also the trails are not blazed at all so it is very easy to miss a turn or lose the trail with all the trees down.

the trails were so bad we could not complete the loop and had to come back out on the same path. if it were cleaned up it would have been a great hike and camping experience.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Very strenuous IMO, can be a tough trail that twists almost the entire duration of the hike

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Pretty Tough. Lot's of water available from creeks and the rivers. Can be easy to lose the trail at water crossings. Much Shade. A good two day challenge

Saturday, September 06, 2014