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Old 03-08-17, 08:12 PM   #1
dongrego
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Default Jacks River question

HI, I was wanting to take my son and go check out Jacks river in a couple spots. Any recommendations on best access, etc. would be appreciated!
I am also considering camping up there. has anyone been to Jack River Fields lately?
Also, I was wondering if the recent fires have had any impact on the area
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Old 03-08-17, 09:54 PM   #2
polus
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Jacks River Fields is closed. There's a full list of closures on the NFS alerts page - https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/conf/alerts-notices

And, the area around Jacks River Falls has had several restrictions (camping, fire, alcohol) for years (since 2012). They're set to expire April 12, 2017 - so I'd expect to see them updated soon. As it is, no camping after Mar 31, no fires or alcohol year-round.

Scroll down to Conasauga district here:
https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/c...468&width=full
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Old 03-09-17, 09:42 AM   #3
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Someone (iso, I think) posted a youtube video a few weeks (months?) back showing parts of the Cohutta since the fire - it was definitely worth viewing (and it makes me happy to just look at footage of that place). Reportedly it was mostly underbrush and of greater impact to the Jacks than the Connie... but combined with the drought, it might be a year or two before things are back to normal there.

For the Jacks, stay upstream (note that this is not north) of the falls and explore the tributaries. Access in a normal year would be down the Jacks River Trail from the trailhead or down the Rough Ridge Trail to where Rough Creek flows into the Jacks, and then hike upstream. Rough Ridge will generally have fewer people (read: you will see zero people instead of four) than the JRT, but the JRT affords you almost constant access to tributaries, branches, pools, runs, and lots of interesting features. RR provides you access to the occasional crowd of feral hogs.

There is plenty of backcountry camping along both trails, although the closer you get to the falls, the more likely the sites are to be occupied.

Given the fire and the road closures, you might be better off in the Conasauga. I *think* you can get to Chestnut Lead and Tearbritches trailheads from the west right now ... the roads out of Potatopatch are still closed. Chestnut Lead is the easier trail (Tearbritches has no switchbacks) and it takes you right to some lovely pools on the Conasauga. You can start working downstream almost immediately.

The fish in both rivers are pretty diabolical. Not sure what a good fly recommendation would be now - if you're spinning, I have found gold panther martin variations to work most of the time.

Remember to hang your food. Have fun!
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Old 03-09-17, 10:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mudrun View Post
Someone (iso, I think) posted a youtube video a few weeks (months?) back showing parts of the Cohutta since the fire - it was definitely worth viewing (and it makes me happy to just look at footage of that place). Reportedly it was mostly underbrush and of greater impact to the Jacks than the Connie... but combined with the drought, it might be a year or two before things are back to normal there.

For the Jacks, stay upstream (note that this is not north) of the falls and explore the tributaries. Access in a normal year would be down the Jacks River Trail from the trailhead or down the Rough Ridge Trail to where Rough Creek flows into the Jacks, and then hike upstream. Rough Ridge will generally have fewer people (read: you will see zero people instead of four) than the JRT, but the JRT affords you almost constant access to tributaries, branches, pools, runs, and lots of interesting features. RR provides you access to the occasional crowd of feral hogs.

There is plenty of backcountry camping along both trails, although the closer you get to the falls, the more likely the sites are to be occupied.

Given the fire and the road closures, you might be better off in the Conasauga. I *think* you can get to Chestnut Lead and Tearbritches trailheads from the west right now ... the roads out of Potatopatch are still closed. Chestnut Lead is the easier trail (Tearbritches has no switchbacks) and it takes you right to some lovely pools on the Conasauga. You can start working downstream almost immediately.

The fish in both rivers are pretty diabolical. Not sure what a good fly recommendation would be now - if you're spinning, I have found gold panther martin variations to work most of the time.

Remember to hang your food. Have fun!
Hey Mudrun, (wandering if your handle has to do with 4wheelin"??)
Thanks much for taking the time for the great responce. exactly what i was looking for! I am also considering Coopers for tomorrow. I've just never been to Jacks, and have wanted to for a long time. Love the remote places!
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Old 03-09-17, 11:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polus View Post
Jacks River Fields is closed. There's a full list of closures on the NFS alerts page - https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/conf/alerts-notices

And, the area around Jacks River Falls has had several restrictions (camping, fire, alcohol) for years (since 2012). They're set to expire April 12, 2017 - so I'd expect to see them updated soon. As it is, no camping after Mar 31, no fires or alcohol year-round.

Scroll down to Conasauga district here:
https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/c...468&width=full
Thanks for the info Polus! I'm a little confused though, the USDA website shows that campground open. I wonder if they are up to date?
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Old 03-09-17, 03:07 PM   #6
iso1600
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Those USDA sites suck, they don't really update them and sometimes have missing or just wrong info.

Yeah I posted that video a while back, it was some guys hiking down Chestnut Lead.
Chestnut lead is a VERY easy hike in, nice clear trail when I was there. Betty Gap is further down, way over on the East side of Conny. Betty Gap is a more narrow and rocky trail, with more sketchy places and tree blowdowns were all over last summer.
I think Chestnut Lead is an easier hike in, but Betty Gap seemed like an easier out- and when I did B Gap it was in a torrential downpour at the end of a 14 mile day.
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Old 03-09-17, 06:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iso1600 View Post
Those USDA sites suck, they don't really update them and sometimes have missing or just wrong info.
Huh... is there a better (onlline) source? I subscribed to their feed just to keep up to date with that side of the state. I tend to go east when I go.
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Old 03-10-17, 09:05 AM   #8
mudrun
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dongrego View Post
Hey Mudrun, (wandering if your handle has to do with 4wheelin"??)
Thanks much for taking the time for the great responce. exactly what i was looking for! I am also considering Coopers for tomorrow. I've just never been to Jacks, and have wanted to for a long time. Love the remote places!
No problem at all! If you have any further questions do not ever hesitate to ask or PM. The Cohutta is true wilderness.

Good luck at Coopers - I've been there twice, both times with someone who knew where they were going and what to do, and we did very well.

re: the handle - I do adventure, wilderness, trail, and obstacle runs. I don't trust myself to pilot anything more complicated than my legs through any kind of technical circumstances.
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