Explore the most popular birding trails near Epworth with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

trail running
28 days ago

This was an absolutely beautiful, remote trail run in the Cohuttas. Be mindful and study a map before you do it, as the trail isn’t very well marked, but so long as you study a map and know which direction the trails heading in, you’ll be fine! Pictures don’t do this gem justice.

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.

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.

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.

Just got home from completing this one. Due to weather, we decided to do the river crossings first. Which meant we had to face an uphill penitentiary branch trail the next day. That was fairly strenuous.

I parked at the Daily Gorge lot which I would recommend knowing that after taking Old HWY 2, once on the gravel road and you arrive at the for, take a hard right to get to the lot. Once at the lot, took Hemp to Penetentiary. A fairly good hike, though mostly down hill and I would say moderate. Make sure in the beginning to look out for some beautiful views. Once you arrive at Jack's River, shortly thereafter there is a large primitive campsite. I really enjoyed the hike, though instead of a loop chose to go back up Penetentiary (more difficult), Hemp and return to my car the following day. Only saw wild turkeys, but lots of beautiful wild flowers. Note that prior to Jack's River there were no streams or water sources.

Took my boys (14 & 12) with me and finished in the hike in 2 days, We went over Father's Day weekend and had a blast. Truth be told, I think we may have been the only people on the trail that weekend. We saw absolutely nobody else the entire time. This trail is rated as MODERATE but it was a little on the challenging side - at least for us it was. The trail itself wasn't particularly arduous but it wasn't well marked either. For the most part though, the trail is readily apparent. Ac couple of good points to know...
1. The trail itself isn't terribly steep or difficult, but there were a LOT of downed trees across it.
2. You only need ONE water bottle per person. We hiked the loop EAST to WEST and there is no water until the river crossing/first campsite at the apex of the big loop at the North Eastern side of the trail. After that, you are almost always in contact with the Jacks River. Bring filtration and a bottle. That will do just fine.
3. Bears... They are out there and had one in our campsite the first night. It didn't do anything and left without incident. Neat see though. Definitely keep your food in a bear canister and away from the camp.
4. There is NO cell service if you are on Verizon. Not a big deal to me, but since I had my kids with me, it was a "daddy-level" concern. It might be smart to have an ACR or SPOT just in case.
5. It had been raining hard for the previous week and rained frequently on our trip. The river was UP and the crossings were averaging adult waist deep. The water is pleasantly cold and wonderfully clear. But the current was nothing to take lightly - especially with kids.
6. Trekking poles are awesome! They made river crossings a lot more pleasant (and safer for the kids) and they were also great for making sure snakes weren't under logs that we had to climb over to navigate the trail.
7. Temperatures dropped to the 60s at night with a breeze and rain. We slept in hammocks (Warbonnet Blackbirds) and lined the bottom with a closed cell foam pad. Sleeping clothes were shorts/shirt a camping pillow and woobie (military poncho liner). It was just fine - perhaps a little cool, but I'd pack the same way again.
8. Ticks. Lonestar ticks are everywhere. Treat your clothes with permethrin before you go. It will help. And wear a hat. Otherwise the bugs were fine. Perhaps it was a function of all the rain, but mosquitos and other flying pests weren't a major issue.

Beautiful, quiet, and lots of fun! I can't wait to return!

About a month ago I hiked from Three Forks to the falls on a rescue mission for a hiker in distress. This was my first hike to the falls and have to agree with Cory, I would'nt bring small kids. This is a tough section of trail, at least from the falls back to Three Forks. Seen some wildlife including an approx 3' timber rattler.

backpacking
9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

Cory mentioned the section of Hickory Creek Trail from Rice Camp Trail parking lot to the Conasauga River crossing. I hiked it today and cut and cleaned up until the North Fork of Thomas Creek. 4.3 miles in is well maintained as of today. Got tired and turned around. Ran into a couple of backpackers on their way back and they told me after Thomas Creek to the Conasauga River is not too bad. So this trail is good to go.

backpacking
10 months ago

Hiked this trail during a loop backpacking trip in the Cohuttas. The recent storm and drought impact is evidenced with innumerable blow downs making this a tough trek from Rice Camp Trail parking lot to the Conasauga river crossing. The trail can be difficult to follow and spot in some sections. Take a map and compass on this trail. Plenty of water and a few uphill ascents. Most of the earlier posts do not talk about this section. Good luck!

backpacking
10 months ago

Started at the bottom of Panther Creek where in flows into the Conasauga river. The trail follows the north side of the creek and then crosses over to the south. Got lost and backtracked and bushwhacked back up the north side of the creek until I crossed back over to the south. Found the trail again on the south side followed it and crossed over to the north then up severely rocky and tricky trail. Continue hugging the creek until you reach some gigantic boulders and follow the little goat path to the top of the falls. Awesome sunset vista but extremely poor trail condition. Definitely not kid friendly. Bring your map and compass. Good luck!

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.

hiking
Sunday, May 21, 2017

Very long trail with a few tough spots. Outside of the tough areas thw rest of the traul is very easy. Be sure to bring plenty of water, treking poles and snacks. Very little wind reachs the trail so the it gets hot very quickly. Good hike but prefer a stronger pay off for the effort.

backpacking
Sunday, April 09, 2017

Amazing hike and an even better payoff at the end when you reach the falls. If you live in Georgia and enjoy hiking, this is must do either as a day hike or packing in for the weekend.

hiking
Monday, February 20, 2017

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

backpacking
Saturday, February 11, 2017

We start at E. Cowpen trailhead to Hickory Ridge - Jack's River Trail, crossed the river and passed Beech Bottom, passed Jack's Falls, crossed river and back up Rice Camp. Good hike the challenge was E. Cowpen to Hickory Ridge. Water is sparse until Jack's River, a small stream is just prior to the first crossing of Jack's River.

hiking
Thursday, February 02, 2017

Was a very beautiful hike. I took my 6yo brother with me and the hike was definitely not kid friendly in my opinion. Other than that once we got to the waterfall the view was worth it.

camping
Friday, January 27, 2017

This was a great trail! The part we did was more like 7.5 to 8 miles for the round trip (to the falls and back out to the cars). Be sure to bring lots of water. The trail gets narrow and steep at times, think climbing on tree roots to get to the next part of the trail, but the falls at the end with the sandy beach to rest and refreshing water to swim in, it's so worth it! We went camping and found plenty of creek side spots and clearings in the woods with places for fires already started about one mile into the trail.

backpacking
Monday, December 26, 2016

a great challenge when going southbound.

Monday, December 26, 2016

nothing spectacular. sure, South to North is easy, but I would rather hike south out of Jack's River on this trail than Hickory Ridge trail.

hiking
Friday, September 30, 2016

March 2016.
Had a unpleasant hike as I went here with a 50lb pack, on my way back from Jack rivers this trail seemed endless! I had ran out of water and there was little to no water on the trail. The trail was very quiet, there was not much to see on this trail. If traveling from the East Cowpen Trailhead from south to north towards jacks rivers, it is not a bad hike. But if traveling from north to south, rough ridge trail can be a little tricky to find because of the contrast and can be a steep climb. A few things i saw and heard were bear droppings on trail, turkey gobblers, some steep scenic-ish views, and Spring gap, a camp ground down in between the valley in the northern part of rough ridge.

backpacking
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

hiking
Sunday, September 04, 2016

I would rate this moderate, not easy. Destination
Hike, not very scenic. Great swimming holes and camp grounds. After intersection with Jacks River Trail, follow towards the falls for .5 miles to find more sites besides the large group camp at the intersection. Saw a wild turkey, multiple salamanders and lots of froglets:) we were able to do this with 3 kids (ages 11, 10, and 5) but it was more difficult coming out because of the steep uphill from the river.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Great scenery along with a great hike. Lots of places to stop along the way and set up camp. Can't wait to go back!

hiking
Thursday, June 16, 2016

This is a beautiful scenic trail. Lots of trailside camping along the creek. There are several neat creek crossings. But I must let you know-I am a physically fit, seasoned hiker, and I have to say, moderate does not adequately describe this trail. Portions are relatively easy, but more than 1/2 of the there and back trail is difficult to extremely difficult. Steep elevation changes, broken handrail/cables, and blazes left up from the initial trail's path. The blazes from the original trail's path were not removed when the trail was rerouted several years back. Both sets of blazes converge after some time, but if you follow the older blazes, you will end up crawling hand over hand up steep embankments. The view of the falls is ok from the trail terminus, but not spectacular.

hiking
Friday, June 10, 2016

This trail owned me. I had to turn around early due to it getting late. Never found the falls but I heard this was a way to get there. I turned around at the river, but the last 1/3 mile to the river was extremely steep, I put a pic here of one section bit it's hard to see how steep it was.

Monday, June 06, 2016

The ticks are very abundant this year. Spray your gear, yourself, and treat your pets if they are hiking. An easy hike and plenty steams to get water.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Nice trail from south to north... if you walk the trail from Jacks river be prepared for a steep and strenuous elevation change

camping
Monday, December 15, 2014

This trail is an easy hike along an old forest road down to the creek. It is a long time favorite backpacking trail for myself and two small children when they were younger. It is also a trail I take first time backpackers. Once you reach the creek there are lots of campsites near the water. I would say the sites have been heavily used but are still quiet nice. This trail will also take you to some other nice trails. If you hike further you will reach panther creek falls and tear britches trails. The hike out is a gentle uphill walk.

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