COHUTTA MOUNTAINS, NORTH GEORGIA AND SOUTHEAST TENNESSEE
The Death March is a 76 mile circumnavigation of the federally protected Cohutta Wilderness in North Georgia and adjoining Big Frog Wilderness in Tennessee. Utilizing US Forest Service roads for all but one mile, the Death March route lives up to its name.
Bring low gears and leave extra time for this route. It will be more difficult and take longer than you think. The Death March route is a special treat and a great accomplishment. Doing it for the first time is like doing your first Century. You will never forget it.
Rock walls, rushing creeks, wildflowers and sustained 10% climbs should all be expected. There is one mile of pavement on this route. The rest is remote US Forest Service roads. Ridden mid-week you may not see another human being at all, especially in the off season. Expect no services, not even cell service. Self sufficiency is a requirement.
This version of the Death March starts at the trailhead for the Jack’s River trail in Alaculsey on the Georgia/Tennessee border. It is ridden clockwise to get the many rollers out of the way early and to coast to the finish – the last 16 miles are almost all downhill.
An 88 mile Death March Revival version of this route is raced yearly during the first week in December.
- Black flies can eat you alive in summer. 2019 was particularly bad. Some kind of bug juice is recommended.
- US Forest Service roads between Jacks River Fields Campground (mile 44) and West Cow Pen Rd (mile 55) are officially closed during winter. The road will be gated and inaccessible to motor vehicles.
- Bears are active in this area. Educate yourself on what to do should you have an encounter.
- The Cohutta and Big Frog Wilderness Area’s are federally protected. That means only horseback and hikers limited to parties of 12 or less are permitted. No machines of any kind are allowed including drones and bikes. Please don’t venture inside the wilderness boundaries on your bike.
- The Jacks River trailhead in Alaculsey is very popular. You may need to park off the road nearby, especially during peak season.
- Vault toilets are available at Cottonwood Patch campground 1 mile from the start and seasonally at Lake Conasauga which is just off the route at mile 56.