Cohutta Wilderness hiking and backpacking guide Georgia Hiking Trails

Cohutta Wilderness: hiking, backpacking & adventure guide

Georgia’s Cohutta Wilderness is filled with lush forests, cascading waterfalls, crystal-clear rivers and some of the most remote hiking trails in the state. Hike, camp and backpack our favorite trails in the Cohuttas and explore some of the most pristine wilderness in the South.

Deep in the mountains of North Georgia lies a rugged, untamed wilderness. Thundering waterfalls cascade over rocky cliffs into pools of crystal clear water. Forests filled with shady, moss-covered creek banks, fern, rhododendron and towering hardwoods stretch mile after never-ending mile. And fresh, sweet mountain air carries the cool of spring well into the summer months; a welcome relief in Georgia’s typically hot and humid summertime weather. The Cohutta Wilderness is one of our all-time favorite destinations for hiking and backpacking in Georgia.

The wilderness offers some extraordinary backcountry hiking and backpacking, and it’s packed with outdoor adventure opportunities. It’s the largest Wilderness area east of the Mississippi River, encompassing more than 36,000 acres. It’s been untouched and untamed for decades, and its deepest sections are some of Georgia’s most remote.

Cohutta Wilderness: hike, camp or backpack Georgia's beautiful, wild, and remote wilderness

Bisected by two rivers, the Conasauga River and Jacks River, the Cohutta Wilderness is home to stunning waterfalls, clear, rushing streams and over 70 species of fish. Its hiking trails explore lush forest and dozens of stream crossings across emerald-hued, mossy stream banks. Campsites are tucked throughout the Wilderness, making it a popular destination for primitive camping and backpacking.

The trails through this gorgeous slice of wilderness are a fantastic adventure for experienced hikers. But before attempting a trek through this remote, challenging area, novice hikers should master some of the more beginner-friendly hikes nearby. And where ever you hike, please leave no trace to preserve the beauty of the Wilderness. (What is Wilderness, and why is it important? Read more in our guide to Wilderness areas in the South.)

Cohutta Wilderness: our favorite backpacking and hiking trails

Cohutta Wilderness: hiking safety

The peaceful serenity, rugged beauty and remote location of the wilderness are what draws most people to the area. But this remoteness poses challenges of its own. When planning an adventure in the Cohuttas be sure to pack gear essentials and hike safely.

Since most of the wilderness has zero cell service, travel with a group, and let someone know where you’re hiking and when you expect to return. The remote trails in the Wilderness are often far from any roads or civilized areas. Pack extra food and water for the trip, in case weather or injury prevent a quick return to the trailhead. And always hike with a first aid kit, bug spray and sunscreen. Check the weather forecast before hitting the trail. Unexpected rainstorms can cause river levels to rise quickly, and might strand hikers in the wilderness. Stream crossings can be difficult, swift currents and slippery rocks can be challenging and trails can be hard to spot across the river, so be vigilant and aware of your surroundings. It’s rough and it’s remote, but it sure is beautiful.

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