This short section of Hickory Creek Trail is 3.2 miles starting from its western trailhead(high elevation) at the end of FS630. This trailhead is the most popular access to the Conasauga River Watershed in the Cohutta Wilderness for several reasons. The drive to the trailhead is extremely easy after taking a right off Hwy 411 in Crandall. It is only 9.3 miles to the trailhead on a well-maintained Forest Road 630. Second and probably the most important is this trail is the shortest and easiest hike into the western(Conasauga) part of the wilderness. There is not a wider roadbed in the wilderness with minimal if any deadfall.
Hickory Creek Trail starting from its high elevation FS 630 Trailhead is more or less level heading northwest on the left side of a slope for the first .4 miles. The trail begins losing elevation gradually and heads more abruptly to the northwest where approximately mile .7 the trail hooks back to the south and continues its southern route for another .5 miles before sharply swinging back to the northwest arriving at Rough Creek at mile 1.2.
The trail follows Rough Creek for the next .7 miles to the Conasauga River. The trail comes in from above viewing the creek to the right. There are a couple of decent campsites next to Rough Creek. As the trail descends further it ends up paralleling the creek on its left bank. Rough Creek with the boulders so characteristic of the Cohutta Wilderness is pretty impressive for a creek, especially after some rainfall.
The trail crosses Rough Creek shortly before arriving at the Conasauga River and its trail. Rough Creek joins the Conasauga River just to the left and the river is covered with large boulders creating some pretty whitewater.
At this point, the Conasauga River Trail merges (this is the only trail merger in the Wilderness) with Hickory Creek Trail and shares the same pathway for the next 1.3 miles hiking southeast and upstream arriving at Bray Field.
This part of the trail is easily done starting off level before rising on a small slope overlooking the Conasauga River on its left. After following the river upstream the trail detours to the west on the old logging road passing a huge spring on the left. After the spring the trail comes to Bray Field and the Conasauga River where this section of the trail ends.
From Bray Field, there are numerous opportunities. A lot of backpackers set up base camp at Bray Field and will day hike numerous trails throughout the wilderness. The trails immediate and near to Bray Field are Tearbritches (Strenuous), Conasauga River (Upstream or Downstream), Panther Creek (Panther Creek Falls), and the continuation of Hickory Creek Trail.
The Hickory Creek Trail fords the Conasauga River at Bray Field. The river is knee to thigh deep but is calm and easy to ford.
This part of the trail is considered a separate trail on this site. This 6.5 mile part of Hickory Creek Trail spans the northeast part of the Conasauga River Watershed in the Cohutta Wilderness. Its character is different than any other trail in the wilderness. It is neither a ridge trail or river trail. It is just a trail through the forest. The trail ends at the beginning of the Jacks River Watershed.
"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 1964
Crandall, GA Access: From Eton, GA go north on Hwy 411 until the 4 lane highway converges into a two-lane. 3.0 miles from Eton, GA will be Grassy Street represented by the usual small green street sign. Turn right onto Grassy Street.
Drive straight 0.4 miles over the railroad tracks and turn right onto Crandall-Ellijay Road. Drive .1 mile and then take an immediate left onto FS 630 (Mill Creek Road). Continue straight eventually driving on gravel for 8.6 miles to the FS630-FS17 intersection. Continue driving through the intersection on FS630 and a further 0.3 miles to the trailhead.
Total Distance from Hwy 411: 9.4 miles. Have Fun!
|Hickory Creek FS630|
|Hiking Out:||Easy to Moderate|
|FS 630 Trailhead:||2,280 feet|
|Little Rough Creek-Conasauga River:||1,755 feet|
|Bray Field:||1,890 feet|
|Trail Junction:||Conasauga River|
|Features:||Conasauga River, Little Rough Creek|