Discover U.S. Forest Big Frog Wilderness Area - It is a total of 8,082 acres. Georgia has a 89 acres and Tennessee contains 7,993 acres. It is managed by the Forest Service. Big Frog Wilderness is bordered by the Cohutta Wilderness to the southwest.
If you like the notion of crossing state lines on foot, take the steep 6.2-mile Hemp Top Trail from Cohutta Wilderness in Georgia, near the western boundary of Big Frog, until it dead-ends at Tennessee's Licklog Ridge Trail. If you want to keep hiking, the Licklog Ridge Trail is easy to access. Only a sliver of Big Frog Wilderness lies in Georgia. The vast majority of this forested mountain Wilderness is actually in Tennessee.
Distinguished by 4,224-foot Big Frog Mountain, this Wilderness not only lies over the state line in Georgia (see Georgia, Big Frog Wilderness), it borders the Cohutta Wilderness (see Georgia, Cohutta Wilderness).
The Big Frog-Cohutta combination, with adjacent Primitive areas, creates the largest tract of Wilderness on USFS land in the eastern United States. Virginia pine covers the lower elevations, and hardwoods, including white oak, red oak, and hickory, shade the upper. The Wilderness is home to a few deer, wild turkeys, and a mixture of Russian wild hogs released in the 1960s and domestic hogs gone wild. Timber rattlesnakes commonly slither across these trails.
Hikers can enjoy the most diverse and the best hiking in Cherokee National Forest in this Wilderness, choosing from pathways that wander easily with little elevation changes; long, contouring trails; and strength-sapping up-and-down routes. Although rugged, most of the trails are well maintained. The 4.5-mile Wolf Ridge Trail climbs from a trailhead near the western boundary to enter the Wilderness and ascend to the top of Big Frog Mountain, where the 5.6-mile Big Frog Trail, perhaps the most scenic in Tennessee, descends northward.
The Big Frog Trail provides access to several other trails that cross the Wilderness along ridges and streams. From the top of Big Frog Mountain you can hike south into Cohutta Wilderness on the Hemp Top Trail (eight-tenths of a mile). Even in the wet season (spring and early summer), water may be hard to find. Carry plenty.
The Big Frog Wilderness is part of the 109 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System. This System of lands provides clean air, water, and habitat critical for rare and endangered plants and animals.
In wilderness, you can enjoy challenging recreational activities like hiking, backpacking, climbing, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, horse packing, bird watching, stargazing, and extraordinary opportunities for solitude.
You play an important role in helping to "secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness" as called for by the Congress of the United States through the Wilderness Act of 1964. Please follow the requirements outlined below and use Leave No Trace techniques when visiting the Big Frog Wilderness to ensure protection of this unique area.
General Wilderness Prohibitions
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited on all federal lands designated as wilderness. This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters, unless provided for in specific legislation.
In a few areas some exceptions allowing the use of motorized equipment or mechanical transport are described in the special regulations in effect for a specific area. Contact the Forest Service office for more specific information.
These general prohibitions have been implemented for all national forest wildernesses in order to implement the provisions of the Wilderness Act of 1964. The Wilderness Act requires management of human-caused impacts and protection of the area's wilderness character to insure that it is "unimpaired for the future use and enjoyment as wilderness." Use of the equipment listed as prohibited in wilderness is inconsistent with the provision in the Wilderness Act which mandates opportunities for solitude or primitive recreation and that wilderness is a place that is in contrast with areas where people and their works are dominant.
Wilderness managers often need to take action to limit the impacts caused by visitor activities in order to protect the natural conditions of wilderness as required by the Wilderness Act of 1964. Managers typically implement 'indirect' types of actions such as information and education measures before selecting more restrictive measures. When regulations are necessary, they are implemented with the specific intent of balancing the need to preserve the character of the wilderness while providing for the use and enjoyment of wilderness.
The following wilderness regulations are in effect for this area. Not all regulations are in effect for every wilderness. Contact the Forest Service office for more specific information about the regulations listed. Campsite Restriction - In designated sites only Disposing of garbage debris prohibited Maximum Overnight Group Site for 12 campers only Maximum length of Stay - After 14 days at a specific site, the individual must move at least 1 mile away for minimum of 7 days. Stock Use Prohibited Commercial use of horses and pack stock is prohibited.
The priority for the Forest Service during the 1960's and 1970's was to restore badly eroded lands on the Oconee and restore forest health. During the 1960's construction efforts were undertaken to provide developed recreation areas within 50 miles of every major town. Brasstown Bald Visitor Information Center atop Georgia's highest mountain and Warwomen Dell are examples of areas built as a result of this effort.
The next four decades saw increased environmental legislation that governs management of the national forests to protect environmental quality and insure public involvement in the process. Wilderness areas were preserved, Wild and Scenic Rivers designated, and experts in natural resource management were employed to help meet the challenges. While the way we do things have changed many times over the years, our tradition of stewardship--caring for the land and serving people, is the same.