“A massive gravel loop the circumnavigates the Cohutta Wilderness with extra, extra climbing.”
— Lost Justpastnowhere
This is a long ride with a lot of climbing, but it is not technically difficult. Strong riders can do it in a day, but there are ample opportunities for camping along the way to turn this into a multiday circuit. You've also got the Tanasi Trail System at the north end and the Bear Creek/Pinhoti Trail System at the south end to add endless miles of great singletrack.
Most of the interior of the loop is the Cohutta (GA) and Big Frog (TN) Wildernesses. You'll feel like you've got the place to yourself as most of these isolated forest roads see very little traffic, although they are all open to automobiles generally year round. Half a dozen overlooks along the route offer great views in every direction.
Need to Know
Aside from a couple pit toilets, there are no services anywhere along this route. You can look to Mulberry Gap Retreat (south side), the Ocoee Whitewater Center (north side; Apr-Oct only), or take Old Hwy 2 (FS 16)
, to Cisco (west side) for basic needs.
Water is available at the start (Conasauga River), around the 30 mile mark (South Fork Jack's River), and from Tumbling Creek which you'll follow from mile 36-46. Of course, you'll need to treat it.
This route is aptly named if you're doing this in a single day. In the counterclockwise direction shown, the main unpleasantness is the 2000 foot climb on West Cowpen Road (FS Road #17)
up to Potato Patch Mountain, but there are 8-10 additional smaller climbs. In the clockwise direction, the largest of the climbs is more gradual but you've still got 8-10 lesser but still significant climbs. Of course, in either direction you've got a similar number of descents.
Extra kudos if you're doing the loop from the Tanasi or Bear Creek trail systems as either of these options adds 1000-2000 feet of climbing.
You'll want a GPS or a good map for this one as there are many forest roads that intersect with this big loop.