Beech Bottom is a very popular trail in the combined Big Frog/Cohutta Wilderness because it is the easiest and shortest route to Jacks River Falls. In warm weather, it is one of the more popular outdoor swimming spots in North Georgia. In the winter after sustained rainfall the falls whitewater is epic.
Most of the trails in the Cohutta Wilderness are either ascending or descending or extremely wet crossing water. Beech Bottom Trail is the exception offering an easy out and back with a minimal change in elevation and no significant water crossings.
From its trailhead, in the Cherokee National Forest, the trail winds to the southeast on a former forest service road. The trail enters Georgia and the Chattahoochee National Forest at approximately the 1/4 mile mark. It then winds back west and then northwest back into Tennessee and the Cherokee National Forest for less than a .1 of a mile before hooking back to the southeast for its general direction to Jacks River.
The trail descends slightly and crosses a small creek at mile 1. After this, the trail begins gradually climbing until mile 2.5 gaining over 300 feet. Mile 2.5 to 3.5 is level. After descending into the Beech Bottom flood plain the last half mile is an easy level hike to Jacks River.
At mile 2.9 there is a winter vista of Hemp Top Ridge to the east and Rough Ridge to the south. The pyramid shape of the top of Big Frog Mountain which Hemp Top Trail traverses is a common sight from many trails in the Cohutta Wilderness, especially during the winter. Also from this point, if there has been sustained rainfall then the falls can be heard below on the trail.
Continuing the trail swings back to the north traversing the top of a ridge with Beech Creek coming into view below. The view of Beech Creek from above is really intimate with the trail virtually standing 150 feet above it. The trail descends slightly and to the right traveling south now into an old camping area and crosses Beech Creek at mile 3.5. The trail continues on a level grade for another .5 miles to its junction with Jacks River Trail and its namesake river.
Camping has been banned in the Beech Bottom/Jacks River Falls area from April 1st to October 31st for over a decade now due to the ecological damage caused by campers.
The floodplain is apparent at the end of the trail and sometimes omits an unpleasant odor in some areas. At the Beech Bottom-Jacks River trail junction take a right and hike downstream on Jacks River Trail for approximately .7 miles to the top of the first of two waterfalls.
The falls are their highest after sustained winter rains or spring rains. During this time the falls intensity is impressive. However, during summer droughts, the falls become a trickle, still with terrific waterholes.
"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
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.Google Map to Old Hwy GA2 indicated by Cisco Baptist Church.
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.
The next mile has several sections with pot holes full of water. A small car can easily navigate them by going slow. Continue straight on FS 221 for approximately a mile before taking a sharp right and upturn onto FS 62. Continue driving gaining elevation on FS 62 for approximately 4.5 miles to the trailhead for Beech Bottom on the right with parking across the road on the left.
Total Distance from Hwy 411: 13.9 miles Have Fun!
|Access:||FS 62 Rd|
|Out & Back:||8.0 m|
|To Falls & Back:||9.2 m|
|Trailhead Elevation:||1,568 feet|
|End of Trail Elevation:||1,535 feet|
|Trail Junction:||Jacks River, Hickory Ridge|
|Features:||Jacks River Falls, Jacks River, Winter Vistas|