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Big Frog Wilderness

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The United States Congress designated the Big Frog Wilderness (map) in 1984 and it now has a total of 8,480 acres. Georgia contains approximately 136 acres. Tennessee contains approximately 8,344 acres. It is managed by the Forest Service. The Big Frog Wilderness is bordered by the Cohutta Wilderness to the southwest.


Distinguished by 4,224-foot Big Frog Mountain, the vast majority of this forested mountain Wilderness lies in Tennessee, with only a sliver in Georgia. It borders the Cohutta Wilderness. The Big Frog-Cohutta combination, with adjacent Primitive areas, creates the largest tract of Wilderness on USFS land in the eastern United States. Virginia pine covers the lower elevations, and hardwoods, including white oak, red oak, and hickory, shade the upper. The Wilderness is home to a few deer, wild turkeys, and a mixture of Russian wild hogs released in the 1960s and domestic hogs gone wild. Timber rattlesnakes commonly slither across these trails. Hikers can enjoy the most diverse and the best hiking in Cherokee National Forest in this Wilderness, choosing from pathways that wander easily with little elevation changes; long, contouring trails; and strength-sapping up-and-down routes. Although rugged, most of the trails are well maintained. The nearly 300 mile Benton MacKaye Trail traverses the Big Frog Wilderness, providing a long distance thru-hike, or a backbone to loop with other trails for overnight backpacking opportunities. The Big Frog Trail provides access to several other trails that cross the Wilderness along ridges and streams. From the top of Big Frog Mountain you can hike south into Cohutta Wilderness on the Hemp Top Trail (eight-tenths of a mile). Even in the wet season (spring and early summer), water may be hard to find, so carry plenty.

Planning to Visit the Big Frog Wilderness?

Leave No Trace

How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Big Frog Wilderness.
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more information on Leave No Trace, Visit the Leave No Trace, Inc. website.

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