Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
3,215.00 ft (979.93 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
8.40 mi (13.52 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Big Creek, Big Frog, Yellow Stand Lead Loop is a fantastic way to get to know the Big Frog Wilderness. This loop explores some of the beauty of the eastern section of the wilderness area, including climbing up to Chimney Rock and across Peavine Ridge, a very neat, narrow section offering excellent views to the east and west. However, as a wilderness area, trail signs are few and far between, so you should be prepared with a map and compass in case you get turned around.

The starting location for the loop is on Forest Service Road 221 at the Big Creek Primitive Camping Area. Multiple first-come, first-served tent camping spots are available here, as well as parking for the trailheads. Right at the bridge over Big Creek, you will find both the Big Creek Trailhead and the Yellow Stand Lead Trailhead, the former starting on the south side of the creek and the latter starting on the north side. From FSR 221, both trails will head in the same, southeastern direction along the creek. Strangely enough, the Yellow Stand Lead Trailhead is not marked at the road; you have to hike in 0.3 mile to find the trailhead signage.

It is suggested to hike the loop in a counter-clockwise direction, starting on the Big Creek Trail and finishing on the Yellow Stand Lead Trail, because the turn onto the Big Creek Trail from the Big Frog Trail is unmarked and very easy to miss when travelling in the clockwise direction.

The Big Creek Trail travels 4.2 miles into the wilderness along its namesake creek, gaining 2,260 feet of elevation. The beauty of the Big Creek Trail is unparalleled in the Big Frog Wilderness Area, as it is the only creek side trail. Enjoy the sounds and sights of the cascading water as you climb your way up to the Big Frog Trail and Chimney Rock. There is one tricky spot on the trail: At the 2.4 mile mark, the Big Creek Trail intersects with the Grassy Gap Trail. Right at this intersection the Big Creek Trail makes a U-turn. Be sure to cross over, and be careful you don’t accidentally end up on, the Grassy Gap Trail, as both trails will initially appear to head in the same southwestern direction.

Ultimately the Big Creek Trail will hit a T intersection with the Big Frog Trail near Chimney Rock on top of Peavine Ridge. Take a left-hand turn onto the Big Frog Trail heading in a north-northeastern direction. Take in the splendid views on both sides of the ridge. Alternatively, you could turn right onto the Big Frog Trail and hike another 1.2 miles to submit Big Frog Mountain—backpackers will find a handful of campsites in this direction. But for those going left, stay on this trail for 1.9 miles until arriving at a four-way trail intersection at Low Gap. The Big Frog Trail is probably the most popular trail in the area, and makes for a most enjoyable hike.

A trail sign marks the intersection at Low Gap. There is also an excellent backcountry campsite located here, a perfect pitstop for backpacking adventures. The signage should clearly indicate the left-hand turn needed to access the Yellow Stand Lead Trail. This 2.3-mile trail offers tremendous tree-lined views as it drops back down to Big Creek and Forest Service Road 221, where your hike began and now will end.

Backpackers should be aware that shortly after crossing the Grassy Gap Trail, you will leave Big Creek behind as you climb up Bark Legging Lead Ridge to Peavine Ridge. At this point, there will be no reliable water sources until near the end of the loop on Yellow Stand Lead Trail.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall
Winter

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Days

2

Pros

Solitude. Adventurous. Big climbs.

Cons

Isolated. Little trail signage. Big climbs.

Trailhead Elevation

1,384.00 ft (421.84 m)

Highest point

3,662.00 ft (1,116.18 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Wildlife
Wildflowers
Fishing

Typically multi-day

Yes

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Hiwassee/Ocoee Rivers State Park
Southern Blue Ridge Mountains, Georgia

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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