Great Ride in Cohutta-long story
I live in North Georgia, Our mostest favorite place to ride is the Cohutta Mountains. This is a very large area which is the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. The area is a desiginated wilderness area, rugged trails, beautiful creeks/rivers and wonderful views..... Can you tell I love Cohutta!
Anyway.... I had just gotten a map and figured out a new way to get to one of our favorite trails.. Sumac Creek. Usually we go in at Cisco, turn at the ranger station and park in the Sumac Creek parking lot. When you ride out from the parking lot it is a rough figure 8 to do the whole trail. at the center point of the 8 there is a road that goes south and it was driving me crazy to find out where it ended up. We have ridden this road for a couple of miles but could not figure out where it went. I called the ranger station and got a very nice lady to send me some of the "hand" maps.. I finally figured out the end of that road.
Because part of the 8 on the trail has lots of areas that usually has downed trees I wanted to enter the trail from the new direction I had found. We always carry an axe because you just never know!!!
We turned into Cohutta from Crandall and found the forest service road I was looking for. We had not seen a single truck/car or person so far on the road into the area.
We unloaded, saddled up and took off. The day was nice, not too cold and not raining or windy like it has been for the last couple of weeks. We expected some downed trees due to the weather conditions in the past.
We did have two trees down that we detoured around easily! Hubby and I stopped at our favorite lunch spot, the junction of two creeks. Had a wonderful lunch and fire. We notice on the trail that they had posted "Prescribed burn" area, we also noticed that they had "tried" to burn most of the way in but it didn't burn very well AT ALL! we have been very wet in this area! Hubby took a photo of me and my Maci, usually I get photos of him so it was a treat to have a photo of me and my Maci.
After lunch we finished the part of the 8 we were on and went to the junction and went back to the trailer. Overall about 15 miles total. GREAT RIDE, horses did pretty good.
On the way back we were on one of those gated Forest Service roads, I noticed there were large rocks piled up.. at first I thought an old chimney fallen down from an old home place.. but the place was on the side of the mountain in a place that would not have a house on it. Then I noticed there were probably 20-30 of these.. the rocks were obvously not man made but man placed. they were in a good pile about the size of 5x5feet all along the side of a very steep mountain. We thought and thought but could not figure out what/why they were there.. at first we thought maybe the civil war, possible bunker type fortifications to get behind and shoot. I had a guy at work say it could very well have been Cherokee Indian built, the Cherokee resisting being rounded up for the trail of tears (the trail of tears starts about 3-5 miles from my house) I don't know but if anyone has any idea please post!!!
When we got back to the main paved highway, hubby asked for his phone. I could not find it in any of his saddle bags/horn bags. He checked his pockets and resigned himself to the fact it was GONE! the last he remembered it was taking my photo. We called and cancelled it, started the claim on insurance and ordered a new one.
Sunday after church, we get home and I check the answering machine. A ranger had found the phone and called home. He was going to leave it in Chatsworth at the ranger station. WHAT... howin the world!!??? Where we were we did not see but 2 cars on the main gravel road into the area. NOT one single person on the trail, but we usually don't see anyone on the trail.
Hubby went up to the Ranger Staton during working hours and got the phone. He wanted to thank the guy who found it and wanted to know where he found it. He was unable to talk to the guy, but found out he was a smoke jumper from Alaska who was brought in for the controlled burn in case it got out of hand...
Anyway.. thats my story and I'm sticking to it!! Great day, great ride and a wonderful finish to a lost phone!!!
Hey Ronda Lynn, we love the Cohutta's too.....rode Iron Mountain on Sunday...we took a side trip to Doogan Fire tower and there was a fire burning that looked like it was near Sumac Creek....hard to tell just exactly how far away it was.....lots of smoke going up......by the way, there was a small fire burning just across the road from the cotton patch at the county line trail head.....looked like only a few acres had burned...
I've rode Sumac Creek several times and know the road you're talking about but like you never really knew where it went?
By any chance, do you have the GPS track logs or waypoints of that way in? Is it Mill Creek Road that connects to the forest road? Do you remember the forest road number?
I'm going to look at my maps again as I always go to Sumac Creek just as you described, through Cisco and turn right at the ranger station.
Do you avoid the steep climb in going that way?
My topo map (tennga quad angle dated 1997) doesn't show the road leading to the south end of the figure 8. Mill Creek Road appears to go over Hickory Gap to West Cowpen and is most likely the road you're talking about as it comes in through Crandall.. Your hand map....does it have a name? What should I ask for?
I'm a map freak....got almost all the 1:24000 topo's from just south of the Great Smokeys to tennga in GA....on the Tennessee side....not on the NC side....If I know I'm going to ride it....I buy the maps of the area.
Which is why I'm surprised that road isn't shown....
Here's our GPS track log of Sumac creek saved as a jpeg....
Hi Gunslinger.. I am sooooooo glad you posted.. I was going to PM you.
1st about the map.. e-mail email@example.com and request the horse trails outside the wilderness area. specifically Sumac creek. the road is 630C I think. it is right past the campground on that road from Crandall.
2nd. I got a map (I am a bit of a map nerd also) for the Tennessee side of outside the wilderness area and it shows the Sylco campground and the 11 mile loop trail north of the campground-we rode in that area many years ago and it led to Tarzans Elephant graveyard. My hubby and his horse kissed the trailer when we got back!! but... I am sure we were just close to this trail not necessarily on it. Can you tell me about it? It is #75 on the map and called Sylco.
Do you want to meet up sometime and ride.. we don't ride on Sunday's (church) but most Saturdays.. In fact the weather is suppose to be great Saturday and we are thinking of going on that trail on Saturday.
Sure! We like to ride Saturday's better anyway....I've ridden Sylco creek several times as well, and rode it twice last year. It's probably my favorite trail in the Cherokee.
In one of your previous post you talked about riding little frog loop road but didn't because of a loose shoe....The trail head for trail #75 is about a half a mile north of the Sylco creek campground, which is maybe a half a mile past the northern intersection of Little Frog loop road and Sheads creek road (Pevine road). There is room to park 2 or three trailers at the trail head. Although horses are not allow in Sylco creek campground, I've parked there when I couldn't get a spot at the trail head.
From the Cotton patch, go north across the Jacks River bridge and turn right (east), on Ladd Springs Road. In about 75 yards, Ladd Springs road will end and at the Jack's River Trail head. Turn north on Sheads Creek Road (on some maps it's called Pevine Road) You'll pass Sylco creek campground about three miles north. There was a sign at the trail head but the last time I was there the trail head sign was gone. (see the attached map and gps log)
The Trail goes north about a mile and turns up hogback ridge at the old town of Chable..(nothing there any more). It's a steep climb and winds up on top of the ridge, goes along the road for a few miles and turns back west and then south where it crosses Sylco creek about 20 times before you get back to the trail head.....here's a map of the loop. So, for what ever the reason, it looks like one map but it's actually two, the top part being the area and the trail head starts with the green. The lower part is the trail loop itself. Not sure why it inserted that way but hey....total trail length is 15 miles. Or, you could ride north and not go up the ridge, then turn west and come back on the forest ride which takes a lot of the difficulty out of it.
Sorry for all the double posts but I just checked with the boss and she say's we're a go for Saturday if you want to meet us.
The trail head is at UTM 16 S 718771 3878625 if you have a GPS. The road is flat but has a fair amount of pot holes...takes about 30 minutes to get from the cotton patch to the trailhead....
Send me a PM and we'll take this offline.
By the way, no cell phone coverage in the area...
Hey Gunslinger- I sent you a PM.. I think!!
Hello Rhonda and Gunslinger,
I just joined after finding your posts online. Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge. My husband and I live in Old fort, TN and have never ridden Sumac but am anxious to correct that with an easier access - thanks to you. Just this past Weds my husband got lost on Sylco (he's retired but I'm not) and didn't make it out until 7:30 that night-well after dark. He thought of it as an adventure but he had me worried.
You guys are an answer to prayers!
Thanks again for your postings. I would love any other trail info about this TN/GA area.
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Hi Mitzibt- I love Cohutta and will help all I can. Gunslinger has ridden many of the trails up there also. Riding Sumac creek trail CAN get confusing if you don't know what to do.. We almost got lost once and just turned around and went back exactly how we had come because we had no idea where we were!! I finally went online to a Mountain Bicycle site that had a very detailed description of that trail and we figured it out.. now it is our FAVORITE!!
If the weather is good, meaning it finally dries out and won't be sopping wet... we plan to ride up there this coming saturday... there are a few steep places and the place we love to eat lunch would not be great for really wet trails...
We ride on most Saturdays, even in light rain or very cold weather.. if it is blowing wind then I will skip. The wind sometimes spooks the horses. We have gaited horses, what do you have??
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