The United States Congress designated the Citico Creek Wilderness (map
) in 1984 and it now has a total of 16,213 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Tennessee
and is managed by the Forest Service.
The Citico Creek Wilderness is bordered by
the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness
to the east.
Natural splendor has regained a strong foothold in this Wilderness, the largest in Tennessee, ever since fire put an end to a devastating logging period. You can actually find stands of virgin forest in some of the more isolated regions. Three steep-sided ridges run west from the long, high ridge of the Unicoi Mountains: Brush Mountain, Pine Ridge, and Sassafras Ridge. Narrow steep-walled valleys of streams divide these smaller ridges, draining swiftly westward. Elevations range from 1,400 feet to about 4,600 feet, with only a few of the rugged upper terrain's slopes inclined less than 30 degrees. The Wilderness contains the entire upper drainage of Citico Creek, which consists of the North and South Forks and at least eight clear-running tributaries. The Wilderness shares its eastern border with Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness of Tennessee and North Carolina. Thirteen trails totaling 57.4 miles provide access to much of the Wilderness. Most of the paths at lower elevations follow old tramways or roads with gentle inclines, but may require "wet" crossings (typically streams). Upper-elevation trails grow faint and sometimes remarkably steep. The 10.6-mile Fodderstack Trail, often used by horsepackers, runs along the Unicoi Mountains, passing near the crests of Big Fodderstack and Little Fodderstack. Several trails lead into the neighboring Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness and North Carolina.