Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 34.72200°N / 83.8567°W
Additional Information County: Lumpkin & Union
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 3852 ft / 1174 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Wildcat Mountain from Cowrock MountainWildcat Mountain from Cowrock Mountain

Cowrock Mountain is a chunky and substantial mountain with dramatic, bald-faced slides on its slopes. It rises between Baggs Creek Gap to the northwest and Tesnatee Gap to the northeast. Numerous streams start their journey on the slopes of Cowrock Mountain. Cowrock Creek deeply carves the southwest slopes while the upper reaches of Town Creek separate Cowrock Mountain from neighboring Wildcat Mountain. The headwaters of Hatchet Creek are on the northern slopes of this Cowrock Mountain.

The namesake of the Cowrock USGS quadrant, Cowrock Mountain is the 27th highest peak in the state of Georgia. AT through Hikers and section backpackers enjoy the vistas to the southeast from the open rock just below the summit, and many day-hikers make the journey, as well, to take in the sweeping, panoramic views.

Rank: 27th peak in Georgia
Prominence: 432 feet
USGS Quad: Cowrock
Planning Map: The Appalachian Trail Conservancy Chattahoochee National Forest Springer Mountain to Bly Gap GEORGIA

Rank & Prominence Source: Lists of John

Getting There

Along the AT across Cowrock MountainAlong the AT across Cowrock Mountain
Wildcat Mountain, Adams Bald and Rocky MountainWildcat Mountain, Adams Bald and Rocky Mountain

The AT crosses over the summit of Cowrock Mountain, though nothing I found indicated the highpoint had been reached (such as a cairn or other marker). As with many mountains in this region, the highpoint is rather indistinct.

From the west: The peak can be accessed from the west via Neels Gap for an undulating, 9 mile roundtrip outing.

From the east: For a short but steep outing, park where the AT intersects Rt 348 for a 2 mile roundtrip with 750 feet of net vertical gain.

Getting There & Route Information

Red Tape

Raven Cliffs WildernessRaven Cliffs Wilderness
GA SR 348GA SR 348

There is no fee to visit this part of the Chattahoochee National Forest and permits are not required for overnight stays in the backcountry. Please be mindful of posted Forest Service user warnings, such as “problem bear” alerts and campfire bans. Note that the Appalachian Trail is open to foot traffic only. Motorized vehicles and pack animals are not permitted. Cowrock Mountain lies within the 9,100 acre Raven Cliffs Wilderness. Please practice Leave No Trace principals:

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
4. Leave What You Find
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
6. Respect Wildlife
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors


Bare rock overlookBare rock overlook
Misty MountainsMisty Mountains

AT Backpacker Camping
The nearest shelter to Cowrock Mountain is the Whitley Gap Shelter. This small shelter sleeps only about 6 people and requires a 1.2 mile side-trip from the main AT corridor.

Hiker Hostel
The Walasi-Yi Center at Neels Gap has lodging in their historic hiker hostel. The hostel is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, lodging is available on a first come, first served basis.

Weather & Seasons

Click for Hiawassee, Georgia Forecast Spring and Fall are considered by many the most pleasant time to visit the Southern Appalachians.

Spring: In the Spring, daytime temperatures and warm and evenings are cool while the flowering shrubs are in bloom and the waterfalls are running. Water sources such as springs are most reliable this time of year.

Fall: In the fall, the broadleaf deciduous trees put on a bright display of autumn color, though waterfalls may not be as impressive and springs and other water sources less reliable. The air is cooler and crisper and visibility should be prime for long-range views.

Summer: in this part of the country can be oppressively hot and humid and even the higher elevation and ample tree cover will not keep the hiker from feeling overheated, sticky and dirty. High humidity and haze plus deep leaf cover mean limited long-range vistas, though it is in summer that the term “temperate rainforest” will have the most meaning to and be most appreciated by the visitor.

Winter: in the South Appalachians can range from cool and damp to cold and severe with bouts of deep snow following major storms. In other words, while this range may be relatively low in elevation and southern in latitude, mountains are still mountains and can bring unpredictable and potentially dangerous weather.

Northeast from overlook
Tesnatee Gap
View from the smaller overlook