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Buzzard Knob: Drive to Trailhead & Trail Guide
Drive Guide - Buzzard Knob via Blue Ridge Gap
: 2:10 Estimated.
URL from Atlanta (33.91998, -84.33898): https://goo.gl/maps/yRzXq7qJRrG2
: Last bit is steep, dirt road. Impassible in 2014; re-graded in 2015.
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.
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.
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).
**Durations: 2.6 miles; 1:55 up, 1:30 down. (Estimated)
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.
: Blue Ridge Gap = 3035’
Buzzard Knob: 34.9335,-83.6025
Blue Ridge Gap Trailhead: 34.95871,-83.59633
Prius Parking: 34.95928,-83.60615
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.
Kevin P. Kleinfelter.