Big Creek is a 4.2-mile trail that starts at the lowest trailhead elevation(1385 ft) in the Cherokee/Big Frog Wilderness trail system. And junctions with Big Frog Trail near Chimney Top at an elevation of 3645 ft for a combined difference of 2260 ft the second-biggest gain in elevation in the Big Frog Wilderness.
Big Creek Trail is the only trail in the Big Frog Wilderness that resembles the trails in the Cohutta Wilderness. The trail follows Big Creek for most of the way surrounded by the eastern hemlock before in the valley before ascending and changing into a steep ridge trail giving magnificient views below.
From its trailhead, the footpath starts on a wide roadbed following Big Creek on its right side for a short distance before diverting to the west while climbing a small ridge as the creek fishhooks to the east.
The creek comes back into view around 0.6 miles and can be seen below. At approximately the 0.9 mile mark the trail passes the Big Frog Wilderness Sign marking its boundary where it immediately crosses Peter Camp Branch that feeds into Big Creek.
From here the trail will gain 800 feet the next 1.5 miles before arriving at the intersection with Grassy Gap Trail. This section of trail is idyllic as it continues to follow Big Creek crossing several small tributaries on the way.
At the 2.4 mile mark, the trail intersects with Grassy Gap Trail which is easy to miss. Grassy Gap comes in almost due east almost merging with Big Creek Trail that detours due west before climbing to the south again. There is a small firepit located at the trail intersection with the remnant of the trail sign placed on top. Grassy Gap continues to the northwest.
From here the trail ascends over 400 feet following Big Creek which is approximately 200 meters below before arriving at a unique rock formation and swinging around to the east and crossing Big Creek for the last time around the 3 mile mark.
The trail just continues to get more impressive the higher it goes. Sometimes it is above the valley clouds. This trail continues on Bark Legging Lead Ridge before diverting to the northeast for the final 1/2 mile climb to the top of Chimney Top.
The final ascent to Big Frog Trail is majestic defined by a well-maintained trail and the views below. At the 4.2 mile mark, the trail junctions with Big Frog Trail on a narrow ridge marked by two stacks of rocks. This is a great place to take a break with the ability to sit on either side of the narrow ridge offering views of Licklog Ridge to the east.
"A wilderness...is hereby recognized as an area where the
earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man,
where man himself is a visitor who does not remain."
- Wilderness Act of 1951
Cisco, GA Access: From Eton, GA (one-red-light town) go North 8.8 miles on Hwy 411 to Cisco and Old Hwy GA2 indicated by Cisco Baptist Church, take a right onto Old Hwy GA2, the road is paved for the first 1.8 miles before turning into gravel. At mile 3.1 the road (FS Rd 16) comes to the West Cowpen Check Station on the left and the first road intersection, FS17 goes right, and FS16 continues straight, continue straight on FS16 for the next 4.4 miles until mile 7.5 where FS16 comes to another intersection with FS51.
FS51 goes right and FS16 continues straight and to the left. Continue on FS16 which immediately passes Cottonwood Patch campground on its left and then subsequently a bridge which spans the Jacks River. After crossing the bridge the road immediately enters Tennessee and a three-way intersection. Take a right onto FS 221 and immediately pass Jacks River northwestern (low elevation) terminus at the Alaculsy Valley Trailhead (968 feet) on your right at mile 8.4.
Continue straight on FS 221 to Big Frog Wilderness.
|Distance from Hwy 411|
|Wolf Ridge Trailhead:||15.7 miles|
|Big Creek Trailhead:||17.7 m|
|Big Frog Trailhead:||22.1 m|
|West Fork Trailhead:||23.0 m|
|Licklog Ridge Trailhead:||25.8 m|
Ocoee, TN Access: From Hwy 411 take US64 east toward Ocoee Lake. Drive 18 miles and take a right at the TVA #3 Ocoee Power Station. Cross river onto FS45 and drive 2.8 to the T-intersection with FS221. Take a left and West Fork is 0.4 miles on the right and Licklog Ridge is a further 2.8 miles on the right. Take a right at FS221 and Big Frog Trailhead is 0.5 miles on the left.
|Access:||FS 221 Rd|
|Trailhead Elevation:||1,385 feet|
|End of Trail Elevation:||3,645 feet|
|Out & Back:||8.4 m|
|Grassy Gap Trail Junction:||2.4 m|
|Hiking Up:||Moderate to Strenuous|
|Trail Junctions:||Grassy Gap, Big Frog near Chimney Top|
|Features:||Big Creek, Eastern Hemlock|
|Views, Chimney Top|