Cowrock Mountain via Hogpen Gap Raven Cliffs Wilderness, GA
miles
LENGTH 4.1 MILES
DIFFICULTY 13.1 Medium
DURATION 2-3 hours
ELEVATION GAIN
1580
feet
TRAIL TYPE
There And
Back Again
Cowrock Mountain via Hogpen Gap

Give your heart-rate monitor something to do with this short steep hike to the summit of Cowrock Mountain from the slightly further away Hogpen Gap. A shorter version of this hike begins at Tesnatee Gap. Enjoy an expansive view from a bare rock perch along this Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail.

Parking at Hogpen Gap is just off GA-348 / Richard B Russell Scenic Highway. Since you'll be travelling south along the AT, look for posts with white blazes to the right. Follow these southeast down the road for brief distance before crossing the highway and beginning your first ascent.

From the gap it's a short steady climb for a quarter mile before beginning the descent to Tesnatee Gap. You'll pass a couple campsites and a good view. On the way back from Cowrock, this section of trail will be the most difficult climb on your hike. It's a rough 25% grade for the first .3 miles, climbing at a rate of more than 1300 feet per mile. Try not to think about it right now.

Once you reach the gap, cross the parking lot and start going right back up. The entirety of this trail is quite rocky, so watch your step and be mindful of loose rocks on the way back down. There are also several sections of bare rock that if wet will be slick. After another quarter mile the trail lets you catch you're breath, leveling out for a moment before going right back up.

Hike through a series of switchbacks before coming to the bare rock overlook of Cowrock Mountain. Bask in the fantastic view to the southeast and look for 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 Cowrock view for a tenth of a mile for another less crowded view. There is a third view a little further on, but it's not as good as these two so I say skip it.

Hidden Side Trail

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 the Tesnatee Gap hike 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 %
0.3 mi
30 ft
250 - 500 ft/mi
~ 5 - 10 %
0.3 mi
114 ft
500 - 750 ft/mi
~ 10 - 15 %
0.5 mi
335 ft
750 - 1000 ft/mi
~ 15 - 20 %
0.4 mi
325 ft
1000+ ft/mi
~ 20+ %
0.6 mi
805 ft
For out-and-back hikes, elevation loss is the same as the gain.
Terrain Map Click to control map
Details
length4.1 miles
difficulty13.1 Medium
duration2 - 3 hours
features Dog Friendly  Summit  Views 
trail typeThere And Back Again
blazeWhite
elevation gain1580 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 34.725911, -83.83989 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 34°43.55, W 83°50.39 (Degree Minutes, MinDec)
N 34°43'33'', N 34°43'33'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Trailhead Directions
34.725911, -83.83989 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 34°43.55, W 83°50.39 most GPS units use this one
N 34°43'33'', N 34°43'33'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Google Map It
The trail begins on the southeast side of the parking lot to the right. Follow the white-blazed posts along the grassy clearing a short distance before crossing the highway.
Parking Capacity
12-15 vehicles, 10+ more on grass.
Notes
In the spring you will pass numerous AT thru-hikers.
Be careful when crossing the road. You can't see too far down either direction so listen for oncoming vehicles.
The trail is very rocky and can be wet and muddy. Be careful along slick wet rocks.
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Reviews / Comments
Average Review Rating
5 (2)
hikethesouth-3 months ago
Updated Review: Even Better Than Before
I enjoyed this hike so much more the second time. Since the first hike, I have learned of a hidden trail atop Cowrock to some amazing views. See the description for more details. With this and adding the second view just past Cowrock to the route, the length has been updated from 3.3 to 4.1 miles with a slight difficulty bump as well. If you want something a little shorter, check out Cowrock Mountain via Tesnatee Gap. If you want the extra challenge then this is your hike, adding 1.7 miles round trip and an extremely steep climb at the end of your hike.
Medium | Hiked Summer 2020
hikethesouth-2 years ago
Well Worth the Effort
This is a pretty short hike, but it will definitely get your heart pumping. Heading up to the summit of Cowrock Mountain is a good climb, but the real challenge is the last incline heading back to Hogpen Gap after you're already tired. The view is well worth it though.
Medium | Hiked Summer 2018
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