Tearbritches Trail is 3.5 miles with its trailhead on top of Grassy Mountain near Little Bald Mountain with an elevation of 3,622 feet.
The trail begins by ascending approximately .6 miles until it reaches the top of Bald Mountain with an elevation of 4,009 feet. From the highest western peak east of the Mississippi, the trail descends 2.9 miles losing over 2,000 feet in elevation into the Conasauga River Valley intersecting with a large camping site and a major trail intersection at Bray Field.
The trail descends in a staircase manner alternating between descending and more or less level hiking on top of a ridge before descending again. The trail comes to its first and only high elevation creek crossing at the 1.5-mile mark.
The trail continues alternating between short and steep descents interrupted with majestic level ridge hiking from the creek crossing until mile 3.
At mile 4 the trail makes its last severe descent into the Conasauga River Valley. And once in the valley, the trail parallels Tearbritches Creek on its left for 0.2 miles. The trail crosses its namesake creek at mile 3.5 and once across the creek, its terminus is indicated with a trail sign.
From here it's a short walk to Bray Field a popular camping site in the summer and the most important trail intersection in the western part of the Cohutta Wilderness with numerous waterholes nearby for swimming.
Except for the Chestnut Lead Trail, this intersection connects every trail in the western half of the Cohutta Wilderness. From here a hiker can continue on the Conasauga River Trail(upstream or downstream), Hickory Creek Trail, and Panther Creek Trail(Panther Creek Falls) is only .3 miles away located upstream on the Conasauga River Trail.
The Conasauga River is one of two major rivers flowing through the Cohutta Wilderness. It's the main river flowing through the western part of the Cohutta Wilderness and Jacks River is the main river in the eastern part of the wilderness. Cohutta Mountain which the East Cowpen Trail traverses separates the Conasauga River Watershed from the Jacks River Watershed.
The high elevation trail terminus for Emery Creek is located directly across from the Tearbritches Trailhead on FS17. Emery Creek's high elevation terminus has a campground where the Cherokee Indians used to play stickball between the tribes. The game was often played to settle disputes and only the men with the greatest athletic ability played the game. The women would dance and step on black beads which represented players of the opposing team.
An individual can begin Emery Creek Trail at the bottom of Grassy Mountain on its western side and hike 7.7 miles to Tearbritches Trailhead located on top of the mountain, therefore, hiking from the Chattahoochee National Forest into the Cohutta Wilderness.
If the Tearbritches Trail is walked as an Out and Back then the return trip back to the top of Bald Mountain is rated strenuous.
A popular loop hike includes starting from Tearbritches descending to the Conasauga River Trail hiking upstream 3.5 miles and 17 river crossings to Chestnut Lead and back 2.0 miles to Chestnut Lead Trailhead. Take a right onto FS68 service road and it is 1.5 miles to Tearbritches Trailhead for a total of 10.5 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 1964
Eton, GA Access: From Eton, GA (one-red-light town) take a right from Hwy 411 onto CCC road at the red light. Go 6.0 miles until the road turns into gravel and Forest Service Road 18. Once on gravel, it is approximately 10 miles from Potatopatch Mountain. Drive 1.1 miles and the trailhead for Emery Creek is on the left at Holly Creek. Continue 2.9 miles until the three$5;way intersection with FS68.Take FS68 and begin going uphill.
Stay on FS68 for approximately 6.0 miles until the T - intersection of FS68/FS64 at Potatopatch Mountain and take a left. Drive 3.5 miles to the trailhead on your right.
Total distance from Hwy 411: 19.5 miles - Paved: 6.0 miles - Gravel: 13.5 miles. Have Fun!
Crandall, GA Access: From Eton, GA (one-red-light town) 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 0.4 miles and straight 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.
Once here take a sharp right and drive up a steep grade onto FS17 and continue for 3.3 miles to three-way intersection. Take a left onto FS68 and drive .4 miles to Tearbritches Trailhead on your left.
Total distance from Hwy 411: 12.8 miles - Paved: 1.4 miles - Gravel: 11.4 miles. Have Fun!
|Access:||FS Rd 68|
|Little Bald Mountain:||4,009 feet|
|Bray Field:||1,890 feet|
|Trail Junctions:||Conasauga River, Hickory Creek|
|Features:||Little Bald Mountain Summit|
|Conasauga River, Bray Field|