Rice Camp is a 4.0-mile trail that junctions with Jacks River and Jacks River Trail approximately 1.1 miles downstream from the falls of Jacks River.
The trailhead for Rice Camp is located at the end of FS51 near the northern trailheads for East Cowpen and Hickory Creek. Hickory Creek Trail goes southwest into the Conasauga River Watershed. East Cowpen Trail goes southeast along the top of Cohutta Mountain which divides the Conasauga and Jacks River Watersheds. And Rice Camp Trail goes northeast into the Jacks River Watershed.
Rice Camp Trail begins on an old wide roadbed that descends into the valley where Rice Camp Branch is located. At the .5 mile mark, the trail crosses it for the 1 of 7 times not counting the insignificant tributaries.
The trail with rhododendron everywhere eventually descends more than 300 feet to the creek valley frequently crossing Rice Camp Branch over the next mile. The trail begins gaining elevation slightly before crossing Rice Camp Branch again for the sixth time around mile 1.7. The trail comes to the final crossing of Rice Camp Branch at mile 1.9.
After this seventh crossing, the trail immediately switches to a slope winding its way up on its left side to the southeast eventually turning to the east and the right side of the slope before leveling out on a ridgecrest at a former logging camp at mile 2.2.
From the old logging camp until mile 3.4 you will be walking on a beautiful ridge trail in a Oak-Pine forest in absolute solitude. Mile 3.4 to 4.0 the footpath descends in two stages rapidly through a forest populated with the beautiful Eastern hemlock to Jacks River and its namesake trail. Upon arriving at this junction if you turn left on Jacks River Trail and go downstream approximately .1 miles you will find a decent campsite.
The river here is stunning during the colder wet season. It is amazingly clear and wide. A picture of the campsite is to your immediate right on this page. The campsite is small compared to some others in the Cohutta Wilderness, however, it takes 20 river crossings on the Jacks River Trail to reach this campsite from its downstream trailhead at Alaculsy Valley.
Another advantage of Rice Camp Trail is Jacks River Falls. It is 1.1 miles from its terminal junction with Jacks River Trail. At the end of Rice Camp Trail, you take a right and walk a short distance where you have to cross the Jacks River to continue on its trail. This becomes an issue when it is cold or the river is high due to sustained rainfall.
If weather and fortitude permit then hike Jacks River Trail upstream for approximately a mile, which is gorgeous within itself, arriving at the falls from below. The initial climb back up Rice Camp is challenging on an Out and Back.
"These are islands in time -- with nothing to date them on a calendar of mankind. In these areas it is as though a person were looking backward into the ages and forward untold years. Here are bits of eternity, which have a preciousness beyond all accounting."
- Harvey Broome
Cisco, GA Access: From Eton, GA (one-red-light town) go North on Hwy 411 8.8 miles until GA2 in Cisco, GA. Take a right onto Old Hwy GA2 at the Cisco Baptist Church. The road is paved for the first 1.8 miles. At mile 3.1 you will come to the West Cowpen Check Station on your left and the first road intersection. FS17 goes right. Continue straight on FS16.
At mile 7.5 there is another intersection. If you continue left then the road will take you to Iron Mountain, Jack's River, Beech Bottom Trailheads. Instead, you will turn right on FS51. There is a road sign pointing you in the right direction which is shown immediately below in the image gallery.
After taking a right on FS51 the road literally crosses two small creeks at mile 9.4 and mile 9.5. The crossing is not a problem even for a small car unless there has been significant rain. The way to drive across the ford is slow and steady (don't stop for pic lol). The stream crossing on FS 51 just adds to the wilderness experience.
At mile 10.1 you will see the Horseshoe Bend Trailhead on the left. Continue another 2.1 miles to the end of FS51 where you will find the Rice Camp Trailhead, the northern terminus of East Cowpen Trail, and the northeastern terminus of Hickory Creek Trail.
Total Distance from Hwy 411: 12.2 miles Have Fun!
|Distance:||4.0 miles||Hiking In:||Easy||Hiking Out:||Easy to Moderate||Trailhead Elevation:||1,759 feet||Jacks River Terminus:||1,358 feet||Trail Junction:||Jacks River|
|Features:||Jacks River, 1 mile to Falls|