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Outdoors

Hiking Cowrock Mountain in Winter

Cowrock Mountain is one of the most accessible, and best views on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. Unlike Blood Mountain, which has somewhat better views with a *much* harder hike, Cowrock Mountain is a short, fairly easy hike up from a little used trailhead along the Richard Russell Scenic Highway.

I learned about this view on my first (failed) overnight hike on the Appalachian Trail in 2011 and decided to go back for a day hike in January 2020.

The trailhead is very easy to get to. It’s a paved, well-maintained highway all the way to the trailhead at Tesnatee Gap. Heading west, it’s just right down the hill from the much more used Hogpen Gap trailhead. There’s a wide parking area on a bend (no amenities) but actually with several nice hikes in the area.

Cowrock Mountain is south from the trailhead – and straight up the hill.

Hiking Cowrock Mountain 2

My first surprise was that even though it was sunny and 60ish in Atlanta, it was below 40, *WINDY* with snow on the ground on this section. I used every layer I had for even this short hike.

Hiking Cowrock Mountain 3

There’s no real sign or marker for the mountain. I highly recommend a Trails Illustrated map or your GPS app of your choice to find the summit. The view, though, is obvious from the trail. Just peel off the trail when you see it.

Cowrock spurs off the main trail line on a little ridge that gives sweeping 270 degree views to the North, East, and South.

Hiking Cowrock Mountain 4

There are all sorts of small social trails down to little crevices and views. It’s all public land, so you can explore a bit, but also be mindful of the heavy use that this area gets (though I came on a weekday and never saw another person). Otherwise, enjoy the view and the fact that a place like this is so accessible.

By Nate

I'm Nate Shivar - I live in Atlanta and love exploring the city, outdoors, books & Internet. Read about me, my Now page, or my work.

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