|Trail Length: 3.4 miles||Type of trail: In and out|
|County: Fannin County, GA||Our rating: D|
|Features: waterfalls||Your rating:|
|Usage: Light||Added on: August 29, 2007|
|Last hiked: May 29, 2007||Updated on: May 10, 2009|
|About these ratings|
Hiking trails in Fannin County, GA
This is an interior trail (you must hike on another trail to reach it). within the 35,000-acre Cohutta Wilderness, and part of its 87-mile trail system, with its eastern access via the East Cowpen Trail, and its western access via the Conasauga River Trail. This area of the Cohutta Wilderness is located northwest of Ellijay.
Georgia's Cohutta Mountains
At the southern end of same chain of mountains as North Carolina's Smoky Mountains, geologists believe that Georgia's Cohuttas are some of the oldest mountains in the world. First controlled by the Creek Indians, the Cherokee inhabited them around 1720. They considered them to be the "Mother Mountains" or the "Poles of the Earth."
Stolen from the Cherokee, the state of Georgia gave them to settlers in the Sixth Land Lottery. Many of the Scottish-Irish farmers that worked the fields moved south from North Carolina. Still, the mountains were lightly populated in the 1900's when lumber companies began clear-cutting the land. When the federal government purchased the land in 1937, there was little old-growth forest left.
About the journey
The hike begins at the confluence of Panther Creek and the Conasauga River on the west side of the Cohutta Wilderness. It quickly reaches an old railroad bed and uses it for path, making the hike somewhat easier as the trail heads east for the first mile. Through rhododendron thickets and with occasional wet-foot crossings the trail continues moderately uphill alongside Panther Creek. After the first mile, the trail leaves the roadbed and becomes a more strenuous boulder field hike, past huge Eastern Hemlocks, to the top of Panther Creek Falls at mile 1.5. Here, looking over the falls, is a beautiful, year round view, across the Conasauga River Valley. Campsites can be found a short distance further down the trail.
From the falls, the trail climbs moderately for one half mile, then climbs sharply for a short distance. Soon, the trail climbs out of the cove more gently for the remaining 1.4 miles, to the eastern end of the trail at the East Cowpen Trail. Hiking to the falls from the west, Conasauga Trail route, can mean numerous river crossings enroute to Panther Creek Trail. Hiking to the falls from the east, East Cowpen Trail route, approaches from the upper ridge with no major water crossings.
About the author
Gil and his wife Collin own and run North Georgia Mountain Outfitters, located in Ellijay, Georgia. They lead hikes in the Cohuttas, as well as other mountain trails, on a regular basis. For more information visit www.hikenorthgeorgia.com.
Your guide to hiking and walking trails in the state of Georgia