The Cohutta Wilderness is part of the 110 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System. This System of lands provides clean air, water, and habitat critical for rare and endangered plants and animals. In wilderness, you can enjoy challenging recreational activities like hiking, backpacking, climbing, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, horse packing, bird watching, stargazing, and extraordinary opportunities for solitude. You play an important role in helping to "secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness"
as called for by the Congress of the United States through the Wilderness Act of 1964
. Please follow the requirements outlined below and use Leave No Trace techniques
when visiting the Cohutta Wilderness to ensure protection of this unique area.
General Wilderness Prohibitions
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited on all federal lands designated as wilderness. This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters, unless provided for in specific legislation.
In a few areas some exceptions allowing the use of motorized equipment or mechanical transport are described in the special regulations in effect for a specific area. Contact the Forest Service office
or visit the websites listed
for more specific information.
These general prohibitions have been implemented for all national forest wildernesses in order to implement the provisions of the Wilderness Act of 1964. The Wilderness Act requires management of human-caused impacts and protection of the area's wilderness character to insure that it is "unimpaired for the future use and enjoyment as wilderness." Use of the equipment listed as prohibited in wilderness is inconsistent with the provision in the Wilderness Act which mandates opportunities for solitude or primitive recreation and that wilderness is a place that is in contrast with areas where people and their works are dominant.
Wilderness managers often need to take action to limit the impacts caused by visitor activities in order to protect the natural conditions of wilderness as required by the Wilderness Act of 1964. Managers typically implement 'indirect' types of actions such as information and education measures before selecting more restrictive measures. When regulations are necessary, they are implemented with the specific intent of balancing the need to preserve the character of the wilderness while providing for the use and enjoyment of wilderness.
The following wilderness regulations are in effect for this area. Not all regulations are in effect for every wilderness. Contact the Forest Service office
or visit the websites listed on the 'Links' tab
for more specific information about the regulations listed.
The following are prohibited:
Group size exceeding 12 people.
Group size exceeding 4 people if you are further than 300 feet from the trail, Jacks River, or the Conasauga River.
Camping within 50 feet of any river or stream or 20 feet of a trail.
Camping outside of a Forest Service designated campsite if within 300 feet of Jacks River or Conasauga River.
Establishing a campsite comprising an area larger than 400 square feet if more than 300 feet from Jacks River or Conasauga River.
Building, maintaining, or use of more than one campfire or rock fire ring per campsite if within 300 feet of a trail, the Jacks River, or the Conasauga River.
Building, maintaining, or use of a rock fire ring if more than 300 feet from a trail, the Jacks River, or the Conasauga River.
##### Jacks River Falls Area #####
This area is defined as the area within 300 feet of the Jacks River Falls, the area within 300 feet of Beech Creek, from the intersection of Beech Creek with Beech Bottom Trail downstream to the intersection of Beech Creek with Jacks River, or the area within 300 feet of the Jacks River Trail's first river crossing above the Jacks River Falls to the Jacks River Trail's first river crossing below the Jacks River Falls, and the area of land bounded by Beech Creek, Beech Bottom Trail, and Jacks River.
This area is closed between sundown and sunrise, except from November 1 through March 31.
Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
Campfires are prohibited.
Visitors must camp at designated campsites only in the Beech Bottom area from November 1 through March 31.
Dog must be on leash at all times.
The following are prohibited:
1. Groups larger than 8 horses or other pack animal.
2. Being further than 300 feet from any trail with any number of horses or other pack animals.
3. Saddle, pack, or draft animal on trails which are not open to use by horses.
4. Hitching, tethering or hobbling a horse or other saddle or pack animal closer than 50 feet from a stream or body of water.
Within the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest horses are prohibited on the Conasauga River Trail, Rough Ridge Trail, Panther Creek Trail, Sugar Cove Trail, Chestnut Lead Trail, Tear Britches Trail, Horse Shoe Trail (North 1 Mile), Jacks River-allowed only between beech bottom/penitentiary branch, Benton Mackaye-only where Hemptop and Benton Mackeye Trails are the same tread for a short distance.
Learn more about why regulations may be necessary in wilderness