So, what’s the deal with Cowrock Mountain? For one, it’s located right on the Appalachian Trail, and second: it’s one of the most beautiful trail sections in Georgia.
Now, I have Wessy with me on my hikes, the way I travel has changed. More water goes with me and a collapsible dog bowl. My single walking stick converts into a monopod for the camera. Plus, I have dog treats with me and not just Kind Bars for myself. Suddenly, I’m looking on line for “bear proof” bags because of the possibility of black bears on the trails.
I keep going back up to the Raven Cliffs Wilderness and the Appalachian Trail (AT). These are pretty easy hikes that Wessy can do without a problem. On this hike, she was almost 6-months old and easily went up small rock scrambles. We walked as slowly as possible, because she was still growing! Her growth plates were not developed.
This hike departs Tesnatee Gap (view maps and driving directions) at a large parking area. Be sure to follow the white-blazed Appalachian Trail westbound. If you go east bound, you will climb a very steep mountain and be on trek for Wildcat Mountain.
You will notice that the trail for Cowrock immediately goes up steadily and gains elevation. You are walking under a canopy of young hardwoods so enjoy the peace! In early spring, the landscape is clear enough for mountain views.
Also, this time of the year, the landscape is dotted with small native-to-Georgia wild flowers. The Appalachian Trail reaches a small peak at .25 miles. I stopped for a moment to give Wessy water and enjoy the view. Then the climb paused for a short stretch as the trail rolls downward (photo below). The trail swings south at .35 miles, resuming the climb and entering a series of tight, loose, rock switchbacks.
This day we hiked to the top of Cowrock Mountain in honor of Chipley, the little spaniel who loved cows! Of course, there are no cows this high up and I have no idea how the mountain got its name. It is just a nice path especially at this point. The trail does continue down to an area that is known to have lots of yellow jacket nests in summer. Hiker beware and make sure you have Benadryl on hand!
The forest becomes increasingly rocky as the climb continues. I’m always distracted by the vibrant greens of spring and the sight of new ferns along the trail.
One reviewer said this trail is a difficult hike and another said moderate. You have to decide for yourself. I say moderate, if not easy. The only reason I would give it a moderate rating is because of the loose slate rock—there was plenty of that and Wessy had no problem scrambling up the trail.
The view at the top is really nice and offers a great place to sit in the sun and enjoy the view. By summer, you won’t be able to be out on these rocks. They will be way too hot! The AT travels right over this rocky outcropping. We easily looked across to Wildcat Mountain, which we hiked two times recently. Each time, I was working on “growing up Wessy.”
This is a hiker’s dream—water and snacks on top of a mountain with a little brown dog beside you. I have no idea why we take photos of our hiking shoes! Everyone does it so I guess it is a “view” thing.
Wessy and me. She’s getting too big to hold and to think there was a time when I would carry her part of the way up a trail though that never worked for long. Lots of hikers out again on this day. Of course, she wanted to speak to everyone! But instead, we practiced sitting, watching, and waiting. Patience.
Spring flowers pop out in force! I’ve seen some special ones on this trail—not like the wild flowers on the balds in North Carolina but certainty very sweet. The ones in the photo above are violets!
Wessy is becoming a more of a trail companion with each hike.
Yellow Trillium. I haven’t seen a lot of these and I had to stop Wessy from biting them! I think they could be special!
Finally, the very top of the mountain. People say this stretch of the AT is some of the prettiest trail in Georgia. I sort of believe it. Many report seeing a family of copperhead snakes under the rock at the top! I’m assuming this is the rock (there are several). It is just something that needs to be watched, especially if your dog is one that likes to go out in front of you!
One more yellow . . . I don’t know the name of this one! But it is simple and so sweet.