Grassy Gap is a 5-mile interior trail that traverses the midslope of Big Frog Mountain on an 18-inch wide trail that is slanted downward. No other word describes the trail but challenging.
If hiking with due regard to its rigours, it is well worth it. There is no other trail in the combined Big Frog/Cohutta Wilderness like it. The trail crisscrosses into sun & shade for most of its distance traversing over a dozen rock/creek formations in the deep ravines of Big Frog Mountain. No other trail in the combined Big Frog/Cohutta Wilderness crosses the multitude of these unique rock/ravine formations.
Grassy Gap Trail is usually hiked as part of a loop since it is an interior trail. It will be described here starting from its most western trail junction with Wolf Ridge.
From this junction, the trail starts off at 2,444 feet and will fluctuate between 2200 feet and 2450 feet for the next 5 miles. The trail immediately begins a pattern of descending to a small ravine crossing it and then ascending the opposite slope hugging its left side. This pattern happens repeatedly with some ravines steeper than others.
The ravines are always marked by medium to large rocks running the length of it. And absent a drought or late summer many will contain water. There is one ravine approximately 1/2 way across that has a solid slab of granite rock running over 300 meters. Quite impressive.
As the trail ascends beyond the ravines it offers impressive scenic views due to the steep nature of the trail.
Grassy Gap Trail crosses Big Creek Trail at mile 3.3. The trail sign marking this intersection is no longer standing. As of December 2016, the trail sign is located on top of the fire pit. Easy to miss.
There is a particular trail ascent above a ravine near the trail junction with Big Creek where there is a switchback that can be easily missed. It is either shortly before or after. This particular switchback high on a ridge is particular admirable and on top of it is a good place to take a break with its excellent ambiance.
The trail continues its pattern of ascending into a ravine and ascending out for most of its distance. Toward the end, the ravines become smaller and the trail's slight downward grade turns into a normal flat grade entering a small white Pine forest shortly before arriving at Low Gap and the 4-way trail intersection of Grassy Gap, Big Frog, and Yellow Stand Lead.
Big Frog Trail comes in from the south and continues north toward the summit of Big Frog Mountain. Yellow Lead Stand is a 2.3-mile short connector trail that zigzags back to the northwest ending near the trailhead of Big Creek.
One fun and challenging loop trail begins at the Wolf Ridge Trailhead and ascends that trail for 2 miles offering wonderful views of the Tennessee Valley before it junctions with Grassy Gap Trail at the geographic point Grassy Gap.
Turn left onto the Grassy Gap Trail and continue for 5 miles arriving at the 4-way trail intersection at Low Gap. Take the 2.3 mile Yellow Lead Stand Trail back to FS221. Take a left and walk 2 miles back to the trailhead for Wolf Ridge. Total hike is 11.3 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.
|Wolf Ridge Trail:||2432 ft/0 miles|
|Big Creek Trail:||2432 ft/3.3 m|
|Big Frog/Yellow Lead Trail:||2432 ft/5.0 m|
|Features:||Numerous Rock Formations, Perilous|