Trip-specific: Grassy Mtn - Drive to Trailhead & Trail Guide

Drive Guide - Grassy Mtn From Atlanta

  • Special: Take cash ($2 in 2013) to pay parking fee.
  • Duration: 2:30
  • Google Maps URL from Ashford Dunwoody Rd and I-285:
    • Via Ellijay: http://goo.gl/maps/wcc21
    • The part of the Google directions after Bald Mountain are confusing.
  • Seasonal/Limited Access:
    • Picnic and campground were closed in 2012.11.18 when I visited; the boat ramp was open.
    • Appears that the boat ramp and “overflow camping” is closed after Dec 31 until spring.
    • Overflow camping is open after the regular camping because it has no running water.
    • At the “Conasauga T” (34.84158, -84.59447), there’s a gate blocking the R turn during winter. A little ways up the road to the L (past some cabins) there’s a gate that might get closed in January and February.
  • Directions: Ellijay Route 2:15 (Chattsworth drive moved to separate file. 30 minutes longer.)
    • Caution. Google Maps has an obsession with USFS-78/78G, which is a jeep trail intersecting Old CCC Camp Rd at 34.815539, -84.666.
    • I-285 West, I-75 North
    • I-575 North. Reset trip odometer. Continue onto GA-5 and GA-515. Go 54 miles to Ellijay McDonalds.
    • Go 0.5 past Ellijay McDonalds.
    • Left on 1st Ave, to cross bridge to Ellijay. Go 0.1
    • Left on River St (a.k.a. GA-52). Go 1 mile
    • Ellijay downtown roundabout. Stay on 52 and go 5.1 to Gates Chapel Rd. From Gates Chapel Rd:
      • R on Gates Chapel Rd. (There’s a pond that you’ll see just after you turn.) Go 5.4.
      • Pavement ends at fork. Bear R on Wilderness Trail (Becomes FS90) Go 1.5.
      • Hairpin R onto FS 68 (a.k.a. Conasauga Rd), go 3.2.
      • L on Conasauga Lake Rd (FS 68 goes L; FS 64 goes R) at “Conasauga T” (34.84158, -84.59447). Go 3.4.
      • BALD MTN TRAILHEAD: At this point, you are at the trailhead for Bald Mountain.
        • (Note to self: Retain this. Bald Mtn trip refers the reader here.)
      • Continue on FS 68 / Conasauga Rd. See “Final Turns” below.
    • Final turns - from Bald Mtn / Tearbritches Trail:
      • On USFS-68 at Tearbritches Trail (Bald Mtn trailhead and also group camp driveway) heading west, go 0.4.
      • At camping entrance, go straight - do not turn R to “Camping Loop A.” Go 0.6.
        • Do NOT park in the campground. They will ticket you.
      • Follow main road slightly to right. (Don’t turn left.) ** and go 0.2**.
      • At this point you can choose whether to hike the trail or the gravel road:
        • To gravel road route:
          • Continue straight onto road/trail 49 toward overflow camping and Windy gap Cycle Trail. Go 0.6.
          • Park at the gate at the end of the road. Hike the gravel road to the top.
        • To trail past the dam:
          • Bear R on 68A toward picnic and boat-launch areas. Go 0.1.
          • The road to the boat ramp turns L on USFS-68C. If picnic area is open, continue straight. Picnic area was gated in November.
            • Picnic area parking is in a few hundred feet. It has flush toilets.
            • If you go to the boat ramp:
              • Park in parking area near (not at) the boat ramp. No restroom in this area. GPS coordinates: 34.86002, -84.65275
              • Walk the circum-lake trail counter-clockwise about 0.1 mile to reach the dam.
            • The trail description begins from the dam.

              Drive Guide - Bald Mountain TO Atlanta

  • Head back the way you came until you get to the Bald Mountain trailhead.
  • Head east on FS-68, toward the “Conasauga T” and go 3.5
  • R at “Conasauga T” to stay on FS-68 (straight becomes FS-64) and go 3.2
  • Sharp L on FS-90 (becomes Wilderness Trail) and go 1.5
  • L on Gates Chapel Rd and go 5.4
  • L on GA-52 and follow GA-52 for 6 miles.
  • R onto bridge and go 0.1
  • R on GA-515/GA-575

  • Food
    • Last McDonalds: Ellijay - 0.5 miles before L onto 1st Ave.
    • Penultimate McDonalds: Jasper - at Hwy 53, about 0.1 mile to the right

Drive Guide - Grassy Mtn From Dyer Cemetery

  • Duration: 1:00; 15 miles
  • Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/xNjFm
  • Seasonal/Limited Access: (See text under drive from Atlanta.)
  • Directions:
    • Take USFS-64 south/east (toward the spur to Flat Top) and go 5.1.
      • Road turns sharp left and Cowpen parking is on R.
    • Continue on USFS-64 4.2 miles to the Conasauga T and go 3.4.
    • Pass Bald Mtn trailhead and group camp driveway. Continue at “Final turns - from Bald Mtn” in directions.

Drive Guide - Grassy Mtn From Sassafras Knob, TN

  • Duration: 2:00
  • Google Maps: http://goo.gl/maps/ZiEJh
    • The part of the Google directions after Bald Mountain are useless.
  • Seasonal/Limited Access: (See text under drive from Atlanta.)
  • Directions:
    • Do NOT let Google route you onto Compbell Cove Creek Rd (4WD required)
    • Head E on Kimsey Mtn Hwy (back the way you drove in) and go 5.4
    • R on TN-68 and go 8
    • R on GA-5 and go 10.1
    • R on GA-515 at Blue Ridge McDonalds and go 13.5
    • R on GA-5 S (leaving GA-515) and go 2.1
      • Road is unmarked at hill-top, near a sign pointing straight saying “Ellijay Bypass”
    • R on Tabor St (or Teem St if you miss Tabor) and go 0.1
    • R on GA-52 W and go 4.9
    • R on Gates Chapel Rd
    • See “From Gates Chapel Rd” above, under drive from Atlanta

Trail Guide - Gravel Road From Overflow Camping (“Gravel Road”)

  • Duration: 0:40
  • Navigation: Just follow the gravel road to the fire tower at the summit.

Trail Guide - Hiking Trails Past the Dam (“Trails”)

  • Duration: 1:20
  • Navigation
    • The hike took 1:20 going in and 47 minutes coming back, moving fast.
    • The trail notes begin from the dam, at Lake Conasauga. There’s a trail around the lake.
    • You want to start your hike proceeding counter-clockwise, from mid-dam.
    • At the end of the dam, turn right on trail 99.
    • Follow the trail. After a bit, it will head downhill a lot. It is a good trail, but in Fall, it can be indistinct, due to heavy leaf cover.
    • You’ll come to a T, with a huge trail map sign. (You enter the T from the base.)
    • Turn right. Almost immediately, you’ll cross a beaver dam.
    • Immediately after crossing the dam, take the trail to your left.
    • When Songbird and the Fire Tower trails split, take the right fork. It has a metal post with “99” on it.
    • When you pass a large boulder on your right, in a small valley, look right. The trail makes a 90 degree right turn here. Hikers sometimes miss this turn. There may be small, bright green, metal tags, but vandals sometimes remove blazes.
    • After a long, up-hill slog, you’ll join the grassy dirt road, running up the ridge to the fire tower.
    • There’s a big clearing at the fire tower. It is a short, wide tower.
  • Overflow Camping Trailhead: 3220’ @ 34.85896, -84.66184
  • Dam Trailhead: 3145’ @ dam @ 34.86156, -84.65124
  • Summit: 3692’ @ 34.8619, -84.67
  • GPS tracks/waypoints:
    • Trails Trailhead – FS trail 99: 34.86163, -84.65147 –Elevation: 3154
    • Waypoints on “trails” route:
      • T with huge trail sign: 34.86377, -84.65566 –Elevation: 3119
        • Turn right.
      • Beaver Dam: 34.86408, -84.65605
      • Songbird/Tower Trail Split: 34.86362, -84.65814 – Elevation: 3184
        • Take right fork.
      • Trail turns 90 degrees right: 34.86591, -84.66333 – Elevation: 3317
        • Trail gets steep after a few hundred feet.
      • Trail joins road: 34.86708, -84.66740 – Elevation: 3614

Summit Guide

  • Hang antenna from tree: Yes, around edges of clearing.
  • Space to guy mast: Yes.
  • Cell coverage:
    • AT&T=Intermittent. It was tough. Try different areas on the summit and try facing different directions.
    • Verizon=Intermittent, but it worked eventually.
    • APRS send/receive = Succeeded
  • Unique features: Short, squat fire tower. Beaver dam on trail.
  • Note that there are flush toilets at the picnic area at Lake Conasauga. You have to pay $2 to park there, and don’t forget that the picnic area isn’t open for the full March-December season that the road is open.

Plan-B Candidates

  • Bald Mountain