Fork Ridge is a 2-mile interior trail that junctions with the Big Frog Trail at mile 3.7 and descends to the northwest where it junctions with Rough Creek Trail approximately at its halfway point at 1.5 miles.
Fork Ridge Trail is part of the Benton MacKaye Trail(BMT) system. The BMT is a 300-mile trail in the Southern Appalachians. Many hikers hike the Fork Ridge Trail as part of the BMT. Others hike it as part of a loop trail.
The trail at its junction with Big Frog starts at an elevation of 3,379 ft and descends over 1000 ft to an elevation of 2,310 ft at the trail junction with Rough Creek.
Fork Ridge Trail accesses the eastern part of Big Frog Wilderness. The trail is essential for a couple of loop trails.
The first begins at Licklog Ridge and continues for 5.9 miles to Hemp Top Trail of the Cohutta Wilderness on Big Frog Mountain. The trail sign at Hemp Top mentions the BMT and Licklog Ridge. Hemp Top is not mentioned since it shares the same treadway with the BMT. Take a right on Hemp Top and hike 0.6 miles to the trail intersection with Big Frog marked by a trail sign. There is a mountain spring on the left approximately 0.2 miles before Big Frog Trail.
Take a right on Big Frog Trail and descend 1.8 miles to the trail junction with Fork Ridge. It is marked by a trail sign. Fork Ridge Trail is well maintained since the BMT volunteers assign a short section of trail to each volunteer.
Fork Ridge Trail rapidly descends over the next 1.8 miles to its junction with Rough Creek. The descent is at an easy grade. It is a quaint trail and especially pretty in the fall.
Continuing the loop take a right on Rough Creek and hike 0.5 miles to an old roadbed. Take a right and after hiking 100 meters the trail takes a left from the old roadbed and crosses the East Fork of Rough Creek. After crossing it is 0.9 miles back to Licklog Ridge. At Licklog Ridge take a left and hike 1.6 miles back to the trailhead. The total distance of this loop is 13.4 miles.
The second loop starts at Big Frog Trail on an Out & Back. On the return trip take Fork Ridge to Rough Creek Trail. Take a left and hike 0.6 miles crossing the West Fork of Rough Creek twice right before the trail intersection with West Fork Trail marked by a signpost missing its sign.
West Fork is a 2.4-mile trail that continues the BMT ending at FS221. The BMT continues across FS221 to old gated road FS45.
To continue the loop take a left at the signpost ascending Rough Creek Trail back to Big Frog Trail. Take a right at Big Frog and it is 0.9 miles back to the trailhead. The total distance of this loop is 11.7 miles.
"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.
|Hiking Up:||Easy to Moderate|
|Big Frog Elevation:||3,379 feet|
|Rough Creek Elevation:||2,310 feet|
|Trail Junctions:||Big Frog, Rough Creek|
|Features:||Benton MacKaye Trail section|