Copper Ridge Bald Drive Guide & Trail Guide

Drive Guide - Copper Ridge Bald (via Tellico Gap) from Atlanta

  • Duration: 2:50, 150 miles

  • Google Maps URL from Ashford Dunwoody Rd and I-285 at 33.91998, -84.33898: Maps URL

  • Seasonal/Limited Access: Dirt road. No scheduled closures, but there is a gate so it could be closed in bad weather.

  • Directions: Note: Two routes exist - via I-985 or I-575. I think I-985 is faster. The entire route is very drivable for my Prius. The dirt road is always well-graded with no potholes or runoff gulleys.
    • I-285 West to I-75 North

    • I-575 N / GA-5 / GA-515 and go 72 miles

    • Straight on US-76 E and go 3

    • L on GA-60 / NC-60 at Dunkin Donuts and go 14

    • R on US-74 E (stay on US-74) and go 32

    • R on (paved) Wayah Rd (parking for Nantahala River access) and go 5. Note: Beautiful drive; watch for anglers and don’t run over them.

    • L on Otter Creek Rd (1365) and go 4

      • “Tellico Gap” brown sign with white lettering and arrow pointing to Otter Creek Rd, on R.
      • Note: Bear L at Vestal Cochran Rd at 1.3 to stay on Otter Creek Rd (1365)

      • Turns to dirt at 2.7
    • Park at timber-walled pull-out under high power lines

    • On the way home: On Wayah Rd, look right and up to see a beautiful 150’ waterfall (narrow).

  • Food
    • Last McDonalds: Murphy, NC - on US-74 on L just before the Hiwasee River
    • Penultimate McDonalds: Blue Ridge, GA, on L when GA-5 goes L.
    • Antepenultimate McD: East Ellijay, on L, just past Ingles on R.
    • Dinner
  • Car Wash: Canton GA - 301 Adams Jenkins Memorial Dr, Canton, GA 30115

Trail Guide

  • Duration:
    • 2:05 / 3 miles to summit (includes 10 minute bushwhack)
    • 1:00, 2 miles more to Burningtown Gap.
    • 1:40 back to summit from Burningtown. (Trailhead to Burningtown to summit = 5:00)
    • 1:30 back to trailhead from summit.
  • Navigation
    • Head south (R, as you drive up) on AT and go 3 miles.
    • Bushwhack up to your left. About 400’ horizontal and 100’ vertical. This would be a tough bushwhack in full green season. Leaf budding was well underway when I did it on April 15.
  • Optional Navigation on to Burningtown Gap
    • Return to bushwhack origin and turn L and go 0.7 to
    • Cold Spring Shelter. Continue 1.1 to Burningtown Gap and Ben Creek Rd.
  • GPS Failure Return: Head NW, downhill to AT.
  • Trailhead altitude: 3860’
  • Summit altitude: 5256’
  • Grid Square: EM85ff
  • GPS tracks/waypoints:
    • Trailhead at Tellico Gap: 35.2681, -83.5723
    • Bushwhack: N35.23695° W83.56037°
    • Summit: 35.2365, -83.5596
    • Cold Spring Shelter (and water): 4920’ elevation at 35.231093, -83.55996
    • Burningtown Gap: 4,236’ elevation at 35.22244,-83.5623

Summit Guide

  • Hang antenna from tree:
  • Space to guy mast:
  • Cell coverage: SMS intermittent but usable w/patience on Moto X 2nd gen AT&T; APRS did not get spotted; only 5 beacons got picked up for the entire 10 mile round trip, including 1 from summit.