Blue Mountain: Drive to Trailhead & Trail Guide

Drive Guide Altanta to Blue Mountain

NOTE: Do not follow Google map through Helen!

  • Duration: 1:45 (actual, 2015)
  • Google Maps URL from I-285 at 33.91819, -84.33747: http://goo.gl/maps/u85WX
  • Seasonal/Limited Access: All seasons; all weather.
  • Directions: * GA-400 N and go 47.
    • At GA-400 end, go straight on GA-115 and go 4.8
    • R on GA-115 and go 11.5
    • L on Tesnatee Gap Valley Rd. There’s a left turn lane. Go 2.8.
    • Go straight onto McAfee Rd. (Tesnatee turns left.) Go 0.2
    • L on US-129 and go 0.8
    • R on GA-75-Alt and go 8.1
    • L on GA-75 and go 7.9
    • Park in the big lot on the right at Unicoi Gap. The gap is marked with a roadside sign.
    • There are no dirt roads involved in getting there. High ground clearance vehicle is NOT required.
  • Food
    • Last McDonalds: GA-53, Dawsonville
    • Penultimate McDonalds:

Trail Guide

  • Duration: 1:15 up; 0:50 down
  • Navigation
    • The AT is easy to follow. From a navigation perspective, this is a piece of cake. Park on one side of the highway, take the obvious trail on the other side of the highway, and follow it until there is no more ‘up’ to climb.
    • Some maps show about a 1.1 mile hike. Not a chance. My GPS says we walked 1.6 miles. The maps don’t show some big switchbacks. It was about a 15% grade, so it was not a ‘walk in the park.’
    • Portions of the trail require hiker agility. There are sections of the trail composed almost entirely of large rocks. If you’re frail, this is not a good hike.
  • Trailhead altitude: 2941’ @ Unicoi Gap Parking (34.80210, -83.74285)
  • Summit altitude: 4020’
  • GPS tracks/waypoints:
    • Trailhead: 34.80210, -83.74285
    • The trail is obvious and it is well blazed. Just pay attention at the double blazes, which will ensure you don’t miss a switchback.
    • GPS trace: GPX
    • There appears to be an alternate route, following USFS trail 44F from N34.79306, W83.75578 to its merge with the AT at N34.80986, W83.75380. Flatter, but much longer walk.

Summit Guide

  • Hang antenna from tree: Easy
  • Space to guy mast: Good
  • Cell coverage: Marginally adequate. Came and went. I did get off an SMS. Web browsing was difficult.
  • Unique features:
    • Busy section of Appalachian Trail.