Cowrock Mountain via Tesnatee Gap Raven Cliffs Wilderness, GA
miles
LENGTH 2.4 MILES
DIFFICULTY 6.6 Easy
Medium
DURATION 1-2 hours
ELEVATION GAIN
840
feet
TRAIL TYPE
There And
Back Again
Cowrock Mountain via Tesnatee Gap

Travel south along the Appalachian Trail for several epic views on this short but challenging hike to the summit of Cowrock Mountain. Winter views and summer wildflowers make this an enjoyable hike anytime of the year. Make sure you don't miss the best views along a secret side trail detailed below. For a longer version of this hike, check out Cowrock Mountain via Hogpen Gap.

The parking area is a small paved pull-off along GA-348 with room for 15-20 vehicles. This hike starts on the right side of the parking lot as you enter. The AT crosses Tesnatee Gap so make sure you are heading the right direction. You should quickly pass a sign listing the mileage for Neels Gap.

The trail begins extremely steep and rocky, heading directly up the hill toward the summit of Cowrock Mountain. At a quarter mile, the trail evens out for a bit, giving you a nice reprieve before continuing it's uphill climb. The trail stays rocky throughout and in the summer you may be practically wading through overgrowth. At .4 miles, the trail begins a series of switchbacks that continue until the summit. Along this section, the trail splits in one place but immediately reconnects.

At .84 miles, the trail arrives at the main Cowrock Mountain view via a large exposed rock face. Here you'll get views to the southeast that even include Yonah Mountain in the distance. This is where most people end their hike, but if you have the energy, the views are just beginning.

First, continue along the AT behind the view. Look for the white blazes painted on the bare rock. Hike for just over a tenth of a mile to another outstanding view, this time to the southwest. There is a third view a little further on, but it's not as good as these two so I say skip it. If you want to double your mileage, you could continue along the AT here to Wolf Laurel Top for another great view back toward Cowrock.

Hidden Side Trail

Now here's where it gets interesting. Back at the main Cowrock view, there is a hidden side trail that takes you to two more amazing views. If you're standing on the bare rock, look toward the view. A thin line of grass and brush divide a second bare rock face down the hill. Walk down to it, then turn right. Look for the trail where the rock ends at the tree line. The trail is tight and overgrown, but once you find it you'll have no problem following it.

Within a tenth of a mile the trail opens to a field with the first view on the left looking directly at Wildcat Mountain. Continue past here until the trail ends at another exposed rock outcropping. Here you'll find possibly one of the best views in Georgia! In a comment on this page (thank you Coachshot99) and one other comment on another site, this view is referred to as Story Time Rock. Other than this, I can't find any information to confirm this, but it's a fantastic view nonetheless and definitely should not be missed!

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Elevation Map Length (miles) by Elevation (feet)
Slope Breakdown
Elevation Gain
Elevation Range
Grade Range
Length
Elevation Gain
0 - 250 ft/mi
~ 0 - 5 %
0.2 mi
19 ft
250 - 500 ft/mi
~ 5 - 10 %
0.2 mi
69 ft
500 - 750 ft/mi
~ 10 - 15 %
0.3 mi
191 ft
750 - 1000 ft/mi
~ 15 - 20 %
0.3 mi
265 ft
1000+ ft/mi
~ 20+ %
0.3 mi
325 ft
For out-and-back hikes, elevation loss is the same as the gain.
Terrain Map Click to control map
Details
length2.4 miles
difficulty6.6 Easy-Medium
duration1 - 2 hours
features Dog Friendly  Summit  Views 
trail typeThere And Back Again
blazeWhite (AT)
elevation gain840 ft.
state Georgia 
park/forestRaven Cliffs Wilderness
Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest
ranger districtChattooga River District
9975 Highway 441 S
Lakemont, GA 30552
706-754-6221
parking feeNone
trailhead coordinates 34.725998, -83.847686 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 34°43.56, W 83°50.86 (Degree Minutes, MinDec)
N 34°43'34'', N 34°43'34'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Trailhead Directions
34.725998, -83.847686 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 34°43.56, W 83°50.86 most GPS units use this one
N 34°43'34'', N 34°43'34'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Google Map It
The trail begins on the west side of the parking lot (on the right as you enter).
Parking Capacity
15-20 vehicles.
Notes
In the spring you will pass numerous AT thru-hikers. Say hello.
The trail is very rocky and can be wet and muddy. Be careful along slick wet rocks.
Nearby Hikes
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Reviews / Comments
Average Review Rating
5 (4)
Smokey12-3 months ago
A fairy tale!
The whole hike is beautiful! I felt like I was walking into a fairy tale. And going through a patch of 4 foot high flowering shrubs filled with buzzing bees made me think Wizard of Oz. And then you have those view at the end!!! Wow! Not long but I had to give it a medium-hard because of the climb. So worth it though!
Medium-Hard | Hiked Summer 2020
hikethesouth-4 months ago
Updated Review: Even Better Than Before
Thanks so much to Coachshot99's review below because otherwise I would have never known about the additional views that make this hike so much better. While the view near the summit of Cowrock is great, trees are in the way and there's usually a small crowd of people here on weekends. If you find the secret trail, it leads you out to two more amazing views. The final one is probably one of the best in Georgia!
Easy-Medium | Hiked Summer 2020
Coachshot99-1 year ago
Story Time Rock
I have been to Cowrock several times and was up there last week. I went up by myself for a sunset. I came across a guy near the top and we chatted for a few minutes. He let me in on a secret. When you get to the rock face at Cowrock, there is a small side trail below that goes approx a quarter mile to possibly the best overlook in North Georgia. I was skeptical but had enough daylight to check it out myself. Once on Cowrock, walk down the rock face itself and to your right you will see a subtle trail. It is not marked but once you find it it’s easy to follow. I walked the short trail and it comes to a grassy clearing to your left and a really cool fire pit. The overlook at this point is called Story Time Rock and it’s AMAZING. It would be a perfect spot to camp. Check it out next time you hike to Cowrock. You will be the only person at Story Time, I can assure you of that. I was amazed that I didn’t know about it as I hike that area regularly.
Medium | Hiked Spring 2019
hikethesouth-2 years ago
Challenge Accepted
Although this is an Easy-Medium hike, don't let that fool you. At less than a mile to the summit, this short hike will make you work for the view. But it's worth the effort. Great views from two sides of Cowrock Mountain.
Easy-Medium | Hiked Spring 2018
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