With more than 40,000 acres in Georgia and Tennessee (where it is known as Big Frog Wilderness Area), the Cohuttas comprise the largest wilderness east of the Mississippi. The Cohutta Mountains are part of the oldest known mountains in the world. They run from Fannin County northeast to the Tennessee-North Carolina border, where they are known as the Smoky Mountains and once bordered a prehistoric ocean. It is from these mountains that the Cohutta Wilderness Area gets its name.
Around 1900, the Cohuttas became one of the last areas of Georgia to be forested. Logging continued in these areas until WWII, when the federal government took over the management of the land. In 1976, 36,000 acres were deemed wilderness. Since that time, more wilderness area has been added.
The Cohutta Wilderness has peaks that rise to 4,200 feet and more than a hundred miles of hiking trails. Within the Wilderness Area itself are 13 trails that total more than 87 miles of unusual remote hiking. Other than the famous Jacks River Trail, it is possible to hike in this area for days during the Spring and Fall and not see other backpackers.
There are two rivers (Conasauga and Jacks) that flow through the Cohuttas, forming the major valleys on the east and west sides of the Wilderness Areas. In the river valleys, the flora is prolific. It is not uncommon to see a wide array of plant life thickly covering any land that gets available sunlight. As the Cohutta Wildnerness trails climb the mountains, the plants lessen, mainly because the trees block the sun.