The 37,000 acre Cohutta Wilderness
is located  in north-central Georgia and extends into southern Tennessee. You can drive from one end to the other without crossing a single paved road. Within the wilderness, you can see the highest lake campground in Georgia, many mountain vistas, numerous waterfalls, whispering streams, roaring creeks, bubbling springs, black bears, deer, bobcats, and according to some, mountain lions. The term Wilderness is literal. It is truly a wilderness. When you are in the wilderness, the only sounds you hear are the natural sounds of the wind in the trees, rushing water in the stream, and the sounds of wildlife all around.

There are numerous camping spots in the Cohutta Wilderness, mostly unimproved. Lake Conasauga is a great example of an improved wilderness campground with a 19 acre lake. although the campground is very nice, it's located several miles from a paved road, so taking a large RV in may not be the best idea. The roads are very well maintained, but the hills can become washboard-like, which I imagine would be pretty demanding on a large RV. If you want a bit more refined campground, we recommend Fort Mountain State Park, our favorite campground.

There are several ways to access the Cohutta Wilderness. We typically enter from the East, through Eaton (CCC Camp Rd), Crandall (Mill Creek Rd., or Cisco (Historic Old hwy 2). There are other access points from the South and West, just look at the map. Regardless of where you enter, never enter the Cohutta Wilderness without plenty of gas and properly inflated tires. If you break-down in heart of the wilderness, it's a very long hike out.

Adventure Journal
Entry Date: August 2015
We've been doing a lot of back country Jeeping recently, and have logged quite a few miles in the Cohutta Wilderness over the last month. Most of the rides have been on somewhat familiar dirt roads that we've explored many times over the years. We recently heard about this single lane Jeep trail that winds for about 5-6 miles back into the wilderness and dead ends at a cemetery. The main attraction was the prospect of water crossings, and this trail has several.

A couple of my childhood friends recently purchased Jeeps, and were eager to join us for the ride. We had just a little trouble finding the road, but when we did, we knew we'd discovered a gem. It's mild enough that most any vehicle could handle it, but aggressive enough to provide some fun and excitement. I wouldn't bring the family sedan up here. It's a little scary at times (especially meeting another vehicle), but we felt safe. This is what Jeeps are built for.

The creek crossings were easy, and the water was never more than 12-24 inches. The water is crystal clear and very cold (even in August). In fact, the air temperature was probably 10-15 degrees cooler on this ride than in Ellijay although there is not a lot of altitude change. There's an amazing waterfall about 2/3 of the way in that makes the ride that much better. We also discovered that there is a second cemetery on this road, but getting up the hill to view it is treacherous. If you have a decent Jeep and consider yourself a 4X4 expert, then go for it. I really recommend walking the hill first though, just so you can get a good idea of the 3' deep ruts and washes beforehand.

I'm not going to publish the name of the road this trail is located on because it's too perfect to spoil with crowds. If you are interested in visiting the area, contact me at john.richardson@lli.com, and I'll clue you in.

Note: We returned a week later and spent the afternoon chilling and panning in the creek. We found lots of garnet but no gold.

The Richardson Tribe

Adventure Journal
Entry Date: July 2015
Back in the BC (before children) Rebecca and I used to go for frequent drives through the Cohutta Wilderness to enjoy the scenery and wildlife. We've brought the kids up here several times, but not as often as we'd like. When a friend called announcing his purchase of a Jeep, we decided it was time for a ride over Grassy Mountain and up to Lake Conasauga for the day.

When I checked the weather first thing in the morning, it appeared as though the weather would be great until late afternoon. I took the top off the Jeep and left it at home. The weather report was wrong. Bad wrong. As soon as we headed up the mountain on the old dirt and rock road, it began to rain. Luckily, I'd picked up a couple of tarps just for such occasions. I bungeed them on and we proceeded on our ride. The brief rain shower actually did us a great favor because it settled the dust completely. You really don't want to follow or meet someone up here when it's real dry.

We cruised along the roads for some time that are in surprisingly good condition. Not motorhome good, but they're ok for most cars. We even met a couple on a Harley coming from the Blue Ridge direction, but I suspect they took a wrong turn somewhere. I'm sure they regretted it. This is no road for big heavy bikes.

By the time we reached Lake Conasauga, the temperature had dropped from 93 to around 71. The altitude makes a big difference, but I think it's more than just altitude. The weather is always so different up there. We stayed at the lake for a while and rode through the campground which was occupied by a handful of pop-up campers and tents. The campground host has a trailer, but I personally wouldn't want to pull a real nice trailer up here.

On the way out of the wilderness area, we passed several awesome views and stopped at some waterfalls. We were luck with the weather all day, until...

When we crested Fort Mountain and looked from the overlook, it was obvious we were about to get wet. We hit heavy rain about 3 miles from the base of the mountain, and it was a mess. Water on the inside of the windshield made the wipers useless. I grabbed a towel and wiped it off repeatedly so I could see. When we finally reached toe bottom, we pulled under a gas station's canopy until the rain passed. From there, we had about a 45 minute ride home. We made it almost all the way, but were caught in the rain once again. We could have been upset, but we figure it's a day the kids will never forget. We had a blast!

The Richardson Tribe

Adventure Journal
Entry Date: March 2011
The Tribe gets around. We like to see new places and do new things. But sometimes, it's nice to revisit an old friend. Sometimes a sure thing is better than a gamble. This is a very busy time of year for our family, so, to decompress, we decided a to visit an old friend, Fort Mountain State Park (located at the Southern edge of the Cohutta Wilderness). It's a mystery to me why more people don't take advantage of parks like this in the Winter and early Spring. We enjoyed 70 degree weather in paradise, practically by ourselves.

It was a little chilly first thing Saturday morning, so we decided to take a short ride in "Willie B" the Jeep. Fort Mountain is located adjacent the Cohutta Wilderness. We wanted to see if we could spot a bear, and maybe do a little rockhounding around the water falls. We founds lots of quartz of varying colors, just the kind of stuff gold likes to hide in.

When we got back to Fort Mountain State Park, we put the canoes in the lake and spent the rest of the day paddling around, fishing, and playing at the playground on the opposite end of the lake. We closed the day with a beautiful sunset, games, and grilled steaks and baked potatoes.

Altogether, it was just about as perfect a day as I can remember. Fort Mountain can get a little crowded in the Summer, especially the beach. But camping here this time of year is a no brainer. We can't wait to come back to see our old friend again soon.
The Richardson Tribe

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Rating (1-10)


Official website 8 The DNR's recreation.gov website is overall a pretty good site. Unfortunately, the information is skimpy, and there are few if any pictures. I really like pictures.


There are a number of places to camp in the Wilderness. Lake Conasauga is the highest lake campground in the state, and it is absolutely beautiful. The campground is miles from a paved road, so I don't recommend taking in a large RV (although it's certainly possible). Fort Mountain State Park, located on the Southern edge of the Wilderness, is a fantastic place to camp. Fort Mountain has 70 Tent, Trailer, RV Campsites (**$25-$28) - Water, electric, cable - no sewer (the only reason it's not a 10). Beautiful campground with large level sites. Not a bad one in the place.
NOTE- The absolute best campsite at Fort Mountain is #50 in the first loop, lakeside.
Cottages/Cabins - Reserve *

Fort Mountain also has 15 Cottages (**$125-$145)

Hiking/Mountain Biking 10 With over 36,000 acres of wilderness, hiking and mountain biking is virtually unlimited. The 335 mile Pinhoti Trail passes through the wilderness.
Horseback Riding *  Fort Mountain Stables provides many miles of horseback riding.


Numerous Geocaching opportunities.


There is always rockhounding available, but we have not spent a lot of time searching for rocks at Fort Mountain. There's just too much to keep you busy. We have panned for gold here with very little success (but I know it's here).
Local Attractions


Chief Vann House, New Echota (Cherokee Capitol), Ellijay (Apple Fest), Fort Mountain State Park, Lake Conasauga, Carters Lake, and more...
*Note: We rate only the amenities we have personally reviewed.

No financial consideration or favor has been received for listing in PB&J Adventures' website. We are in no way affiliated with this facility or any other facility we review. Any paid advertising seen on this site was arranged after the destination was reviewed. You can trust the reviews to be unbiased.

August 2015

Note: We went back a week later and panned for gold! No luck!


July 2015

March 2011