Fannin County High Point Trip Report

Cowpen Mountain

Date: July 4, 1998
Author: Ron Tagliapietra

The Cohutta Wilderness is popular. The trailhead parking was full even with a $2 parking fee and 14 miles of gravel roads to get there.

Directions: from 9 mi. west of Ellijay on GA 52, turn right at the sign for Lake Conasauga Rec. Area. Follow this 3.5 miles to the jct. with FS 68 and go right. Go six miles (passing FS 90, Bear Creek Picnic Area and falls, and Bear Creek Trail) to FS 64. Turn right and drive 4.3 miles to the parking area (passing Betty Gap after 1.4 miles).

I hiked 15-20 minutes north on the East Cowpen Trail, an old roadbed. The trail passes a jct. about a third of the way to the ridgecrest of the Cohuttas. Some maps show a trail following the ridge south to the summit of Cowpen, so when I found a trail I was happy, only to be brought back to earth, walking into a campsite after five steps. From the camp, I tried to find signs of an unmaintained trail, but everything looked like trail through the ferns. Still the off-trail travel was nice along the wide flat ridge top through the ferns. Nice that is until just before the summit, which is guarded by towering blackberry thickets. Having fought through the thicket to what looked to be the HP, I continued across the ridge to be sure to have traversed the entire crest. I found a campsite on the far side of the thicket with no trail leading to it. Neat spot for camping away from it all. I then descended steeply east to return to the trail.