Rough Creek is a 3-mile interior trail that traverses the eastern part of the Big Frog Wilderness. It connects Big Frog Trail which bisects the wilderness to Licklog Ridge Trail the most eastern trail in the wilderness. However, it is rarely hiked that way.
Rough Creek Trail has 2 interior trails that junction with it. Fork Ridge Trail and West Fork Trail. Fork Ridge Trail descends from Big Frog Trail and junctions at approximately the halfway point. This interior trail is part of the Benton MacKaye Trail(BMT) a 300-mile trail in the Southern Appalachians.
From the trail junction with Fork Ridge if continued to the left the trail travels 0.6 miles to the west descending and crossing the West Fork Creek 2 times immediately before the intersection with West Fork Trail which is marked by a trail pole missing its sign. To continue on Rough Creek take a left from this pole and the trail begins a sharp short ascent approximately 0.9 miles from the trail junction with Big Frog.
Continue straight and the 2.4 mile West Fork Trail meanders to the northeast arriving at its FS221 trailhead.
From this FS221 trailhead for West Fork Trail, the BMT continues across FS221 and behind a gate on a roadbed of Old FS 45. Besides the BMT there is also an extensive trail system beginning here that is near the Ocoee River.
Rough Creek Trail is most often used by BMT hikers or part of a loop trail in the Big Frog Wilderness.
One loop trail starts at the trailhead for Licklog Ridge. From there it is 5.9 miles to Hemp Top Trail on Big Frog Mountain. Take a right and hike 0.6 miles passing a large mountain spring on the left shortly before arriving at the trail junction with Big Frog Trail.
Descend Big Frog Trail to Fork Ridge Trail. Another 1.8 miles. Take Fork Ridge Trail for 2 miles arriving at the trail junction with Rough Creek. Take a right on Rough Creek and hike 0.5 miles arriving at an old roadbed.
Take a right and hike no more than 100 meters before taking a left crossing East Fork Creek. Warning!This turn is easy to miss. From here it is 0.9 miles to the Licklog Ridge Trail.
Take a left at the trail junction with Licklog and it is 1.6 miles to the trailhead. Total distance for the loop is 13.4 miles.
Rough Creek Trail resembles a bowl with Big Frog and Licklog Ridge being the rim and the bottom of the bowl is where the trail travels crossing over the West and East Forks of Rough Creek.
"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|