The Unicoi Crest above Tellico Plains


Cherokee Hiking Club
198 Crews Drive, Benton, TN 373




to Big Frog Mountain

Saturday(-Sunday)(-Monday), April 12(-13)(-14), 2008

Low Gap Trailhead for Big Frog TrailBrief Description:   This is the annual pre-emergence work trip the local maintainers do to get the trail in shape before hiking season and, of course, to eat lots of ramps. Hikers of all stripes are welcome -- no need to camp or work trail (unless you'd like to). Some will be dayhiking, others camping overnight only, and yet others staying two nights. We'll try to accommodate everyone. Limit of 12 due to Wilderness restrictions: Please contact leaders for reservations or more information. Also, see our dayhike on Big Frog we did earlier this year with pictures, etc.

Length:  11.0 miles for dayhikers, 7.4 to 24 miles for backpackers, as desired. Trail maintainers may cover up to 24 miles.

Setting up campDifficulty Rating: Strenuous

Elevation Gain: 2100 feet

Hike Leader: Bill and Diana Ristom, 423-476-2945 

Trail Map

Elevation Profile of the Trail 

Matt Lundin lounging in campDirections to the Trailhead

(Note: Big Frog Wilderness Area limit is 12 hikers/group. Please contact leaders to reserve your place.) From Cleveland, TN: Follow US Hwy 64/74 east. From the intersection of US 64/74 and US 411 in Ocoee, TN: Proceed 18.6 mi to the transition from 2-lane to 4-lane road. Turn right on bridge over Ocoee River.
The Green TunnelFrom Ducktown, TN: Follow US Hwy 64/74 west 8 miles to bridge over Ocoee River.
After crossing bridge and passing Ocoee #3 Powerhouse, 0.1 mi, reach intersection on FS 45.
For Thunder Rock Campground trailhead parking (free), turn right and make a sharp right turn at bottom of hill.
For Big Frog Trailhead parking, turn left and go 2.8 mi on FS 45 to intersection with FS 221. Turn right and proceed 0.9 mi to parking area on left.

Trail Description:

The Big Frog Trail (BFT) climbs 400 ft in 2.2 miles, then 1000 feet in the next 1.4 miles to the Bear Scatsecluded camping area (for those staying over), then another 700 feet in the last 1.9 miles to the top of the mountain. From there, dayhikers will return to the trailhead for 11 miles total, all on the BFT. Backpackers have more options, including working trail and exploring. Ramps, one of the delights of spring, are a feature of this outing. (Wildflowers, clear views and cool weather should be icing on the cake.)
A really old signFor those camping, several culinary treats are threatened, including ramp soup, ramp cornbread and for dessert, ramp pudding. Don't want to miss it!

Post Trip Report:

The early spring ramp ritual went off pretty well as planned this year. Saturday was gorgeous, as was Sunday afternoon, but Monday's weather threatened to be no fun so all the three-day campers shortened their stays to two days. One signed up couple had to cancel at the last minute, which brought the number down from the maxed-out 12 to 10, still a good showing. About the worst thing that happened was the ramp cornbread -- it came out really dry. (There was great Randy Morris, Brenda & Rick Harris and Jakediscussion about whether this was caused by leaving it in the (Outback) oven too long vs. the absence of certain ingredients.)
Many thanks to all who participated. Dayhiking Big Frog and Licklog Ridge trails were Rick and Brenda Harris and Randy Morris. Gary Smith assisted with supervision; and James Anderson, Chuck Hall, Bill Lundin, Matt McWain, and Bill and Diana Ristom worked two days on the Fork Ridge Trail. (93 hours work and 19 travel: Total 112 hours reported to the Forest Service)

Bill and Diana Ristom

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