Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
2,460.00 ft (749.81 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
11.00 mi (17.70 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 Frog Wilderness Area lies mostly in Tennessee, right above the Georgia-Tennessee border. Comprising some 8,132 acres, this wilderness protects some of the oldest mountains on the planet. The Big Frog Trail is the area’s crown jewel, cutting through the middle of the wilderness area and allowing hikers and backpackers to easily climb the more than 2,000 feet to summit Big Frog Mountain. Big Frog Mountain dominates the landscape as there is no other comparable mountain peak in the vicinity. Fun fact: At an elevation of 4,224 feet, there is no higher point in the United States west of Big Frog Mountain until you get to Big Bend in Texas or the Black Hills in South Dakota.

The trail itself is well maintained and very scenic, and it makes for a great hiking experience in any season. Trail highlights, apart from summiting Big Frog Mountain, are the walk along Peavine Ridge near Chimney Top, with dramatic drops to the east and the west, and the so called “Enchanted Forest," an area just 0.5 mile from the summit, where the trail tunnels though large, bewitching rhododendrons.

Unless you are visiting in winter when the trees have lost their leaves, do not expect too much of a view. As is typical in the southern Appalachians, the trail and mountain tend to be long, green tunnels. Even in winter, the top of Big Frog Mountain offers little in panoramic views. For the ambitious and those willing to put in a few extra miles, an excellent view in any season lies about 2 miles northwest of Big Frog’s summit along Wolf Ridge. Nevertheless, should you visit in winter, the Big Frog Trail is even more impressive with views of the mountains rolling into the distance seen through the leafless trees.

Backpacking this area can be a fantastic experience. Being a ridge trail with no rivers or streams, backpackers should take care to bring plenty of water. There is a small spring about 0.25 mile from the summit toward Licklog Ridge—look for an area with mossy rocks. As for backpacking campsites, one good spot is found 2.4 miles into the trail at the intersection with the Yellow Stand Lead and Grassy Gap Trails. There are also good spots as you near the summit and plenty of places to set up camp right on top of the mountain.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Days

2

Pros

Solitude. Rhododendron tunnels. Winter views.

Cons

Remote. Little water. No summer views.

Trailhead Elevation

2,152.00 ft (655.93 m)

Highest point

4,224.00 ft (1,287.48 m)

Features

Backcountry camping

Typically multi-day

Yes

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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