Trek into the heart of the Cohutta Wilderness on this 12.1-mile shuttle hike along the Conasauga River Trail. This hike scours the river’s most scenic stretches, passing SUV-sized boulders of limestone and granite, towering hemlock and oak trees, beaver ponds, and an unending succession of waterfalls and trout pools.
Drop a car off at the western end of the trip at Murray’s Lake trailhead and hike from Betty Gap along (and through) the riverbed’s gentle downhill grade. The real challenge is the trail’s 38 river crossings. River shoes (or sandals), trekking poles, and a waterproof stuff sack are required as the water can be waste-deep near the western end of the trail. When in doubt, keep hiking downstream and downhill.
Note: This trail is a fun challenge in normal weather conditions. During or after moderate to heavy rainfall, the river crossings increase dramatically in both difficulty and danger. A Georgia fishing license and trout stamp is required to fish on this on this trail.
-Mapped by Scott Sanders
TO TRAILHEAD: Start/Eastern Trailhead: From the Ellijay square take GA 52 West for 9.5 miles to the Lake Conasauga Recreation Area sign. Turn right on FS 18 and continue 3.5 miles before turning right onto FS 68. After traveling approximately 6.0 miles, turn right on FS 64 at the three-way junction near Potatopatch Mountain. Proceed 1.4 miles to the Conasuaga River Trail sign and parking area.
End/Western Trailhead: From the GA 52-US 411 intersection in Chatsworth, GA, take US 411 north for approximately 13.4 miles, past Etaon toward Tennga, to the community of Cisco. In Cisco, turn right onto the paved road (Old Hwy 2/FS 16) immediately before the Cisco Baptist Church (on the right). Continue on Old Hwy 2/FS 16 (the pavement ends; stay to the right at the fork) for approximately 3.2 miles, then turn right onto FS 17 at the Lake Conasauga sign. Proceed straight ahead (17-A turns right) on FS 17 for approximately 3.6 mies before turning left onto FS 17-B at the Consasuga River parking area and trailhead.