Buzzard Knob: Drive to Trailhead & Trail Guide

Drive Guide - Buzzard Knob via Blue Ridge Gap

  • Duration: 2:10 Estimated.
  • Google Maps URL from Ashford Dunwoody Rd and I-285 at 33.91998, -84.33898: https://goo.gl/maps/yRzXq7qJRrG2
  • Seasonal/Limited Access: Last bit is steep, dirt road. Impassible in 2014; re-graded in 2015.
  • Directions:
    • Take a good street-capable GPS and pre-load maps, if necessary. You’ll want it for your final approach, where Google Maps and reality diverge.
    • N on GA-400 and go 47 miles.
    • At end of 400 (@ GA-60) go straight onto GA-115. Go 4.8
    • GA-115 turns R. Go 11.4.
    • 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 N at T. Go 0.8.
    • R on GA-75A. Go 8.2.
    • L on GA-75 and go 16.6
    • Stop – Make sure all of your GPS are turned on and you’re tracking your route.
    • R on GA-2/US-76E and go 5.2.
    • The final approach to the trailhead (about 15 minutes):
      • L on Upper Hightower Rd (sign to Mt Pleasant Church of God) and go 1.6
      • Upper Hightower Rd makes a 90 degree left turn; follow it. Go 1.6.
      • Road becomes 1 lane and loses the center stripe. About this point, it forks, and the left fork is Jack Branch Rd. Stay to the right. Go 0.2.
      • There is a gravel road to the right. Do NOT take it. Go 0.2.
      • Fork to left is marked private. Keep right. Go 0.1.
      • If the road is too rough to continue, park at wide spot in road. Room for 3-4 cars. There’s a buried-fiber-optic post marking the spot.
      • Otherwise, continue 0.8 miles to the AT.
    • In 2014, there were 2-foot deep erosion gullies which could tip a Jeep and had been observed to break a truck frame.
      • Be prepared to back out, if necessary.
  • Food
    • Last McDonalds: GA-53 on GA-400.
      • There is a McDonalds in Hiawasee that opens at 6 AM 7 days a week, but it is out of your way.
  • Notes
    • If you can’t reach Blue Ridge Gap, you can safely get a Prius as far as 34.95928,-83.60615. This adds 0.8 miles and 560’ of climb to your hike (one-way).

Trail Guide

  • **Durations: 2.6 miles; 1:55 up, 1:30 down. (Estimated)

  • Navigation
    • Head south (to your right, as you drive up Charlies Creek rd) on the AT for 2.6 miles.
    • The trip begins with an 0.6 mile 400’ climb up As Knob.
    • Then you descend As Knob for about 3/4 mile to Plumorchard Gap Shelter.
    • Then you make a 1/2 mile climb to an unnamed gap.
    • There’s 1/2 mile of minor up and down.
    • Ending with an 0.2 mile, 300’ climb from Bull Gap to the high point of the trail near Buzzard Knob.
    • Heading back to the car, there’s a little climb after the initial drop, and the only other real climb is the 150’ ascent up As Knob near the end, so you can hustle.
  • Trailhead altitude: Blue Ridge Gap = 3035’
  • Summit altitude: 3740’
  • GPS tracks/waypoints:
    • Buzzard Knob: 34.9335,-83.6025
    • Blue Ridge Gap Trailhead: 34.95871,-83.59633
    • Prius Parking: 34.95928,-83.60615

Summit Guide

  • The high point on the trail is definitely within the activation zone. I have measured 34.93261,-83.60191 as being 80-90 feet down from the summit, and the trail high point is well above that.
  • The summit is nothing special. Activate anywhere convenient within the zone.
  • Hang antenna from tree: Heavy vegetation makes it challenging.
  • Space to guy mast: Heavy vegetation makes it challenging.
  • 2013 Cell coverage: Good. AT&T had 3G internet. VZN SMS good. No APRS msgs or beacons worked.