Trip-specific: Drive to Trailhead & Trail Guide

Drive Guide - Horsetrough Mountain

  • Duration: 2:20
    • 1:40 from Perimeter Mall to Chattahoochee UMC.
    • 0:40 from Chattahoochee UMC to USFS-44C.
  • Google Maps URL from Ashford Dunwoody Rd and I-285 at 33.91998, -84.33898:
    • http://goo.gl/maps/Hl1Qr
    • WARNING: The Google Maps directions don’t match up well with reality on the ground after you leave 75A. Use a good GPS.
  • Seasonal/Limited Access:
    • USFS-44C: You’ll begin your hike by walking up this road. If you have 4WD, the gate is reportedly open 20 days a year (maybe related to hunting seasons). This road is also known as Poplar Stump Rd, but there’s another Poplar Stump Rd on this route.
  • Road Notes:
    • From GA 74-Alt, just before it reaches GA-75, a road heads north. Its name changes from Poplar Stump Road to Chattahoochee River Road. It emerges at Unicoi Gap at GA-75. You can reach the trailhead from either end of this road. The full length of the road was drivable by a Corolla in March 2016.
    • Next trip, consider this: From the Chattagoochee UMC, you could also drive up to Unicoi gap and come in from that side. Drive time is: * 14 minutes - church to Wilks Rd turn-off from GA-75, near Unicoi gap. * 25 minutes, GA-75 to trailhead. * Distances: Church to Wilks Rd = 8.5, Campground is 1.3 miles before trailhead, bridge is 1.1 miles before reaching trailhead.
  • Camping:
    • Upper Chattahoochee Campground (34.78646, -83.78294). The campground was open on Saturday, March 30, 2013. It was closed on Saturday, March 3, 2016.
    • Andrews Cove Campground at 4.1 miles on Chattahoochee River Rd from 74-Alt. Open on April 6, 2013. Closed on Saturday, March 3, 2016.
    • Roadside, unofficial camping at the trailhead and along the road.
  • Directions:
    • 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. (About 60 minute drive to this turn.) 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. (About 1:15 total drive time to this turn.) Go 0.8.
    • R on GA-75A. Go 7.9. (Pass Richard B Russell Scenic Hwy at 1:25 from trip start.)
    • L on Poplar Stump Rd at Chattahoochee United Methodist Church. (1:30 driving to here.)
      • Road is marked as “Chattahoochee River Rd” on maps, shortly after this turn.
      • Go straight for 4.3 miles.
      • At Andrews Cove Campground, the road turns R, crosses a bridge, and becomes USFS-44. * Campground was open 2013.04.06 and closed 2016.03.05.
      • 2.3 miles after you turned right, the road forks. Keep right. Left fork is gated.
      • 1.6 miles past the fork, the road turns sharply right and is gated. You’re at 44C (a.k.a. Poplar Stump Rd) and just past Vandiver Branch. The Forest Service informally calls this area “Vandiver Fields.” There were many park-by-the-side-of-the-road campers here on a spring Saturday.
  • Food
    • Last McDonalds: GA-400 at GA-53 (38 miles north of I-285)
      • If you miss it, you can swing by 1550 S MAIN ST, Cleveland, adding 5 minutes.

Trail Guide

  • Duration: 2:10 – about 3 miles. 2.4 trail miles and 0.6 bushwhack.
    • Gain 865 ft on road/trail to Poplar Stomp Gap + brief stretch on AT – 2.4 miles @ 865 ft @ 1:15
      • It is a continuous, moderate climb and not too taxing. From the fire brake to the barrier (end of 4WD access), it is a smooth surface, covered with short grass, and is beautiful.
    • 0.7 bushwhack @ 625 ft @ 0:55
    • Note: The hike down took LONGER. 2:20 total.
      • It was a rough bushwhack (1:10) because I kept drifting west, which wore me out.
      • An easy 5 minutes on the AT.
      • I took some breaks coming down 44C (1:05).
  • Navigation
    • Starting altitude = 2510’ (Calibrate GPS altimeter)
    • Follow dirt road/trail shown on National Geographic map (and Delorme) to Poplar Stomp Gap
    • North on the AT 0.15 miles
    • Bushwhack north up the ridge to the summit of Horsetrough Mountain.
    • Note: When you come down the mountain, do not drift west. The terrain will cause you to drift west, and the route is tougher to the west.
  • GPS Failure Return:
    • Head due south from summit. Stay on the ridge line. The ridge makes a brief, slight turn toward the east, but other than that it is due south.
    • Keep the drop-off to your left in sight in order to avoid drifting right.
    • Staying on the ridge ensures you meet AT at Poplar Stomp Gap.
  • Trailhead altitude: 2510’ @ parking for 44C @ N34.78274 W83.78916
  • Summit altitude: 4060’
  • GPS tracks/waypoints:
    • Trailhead @ Poplar Stump Rd (USFS-44C) and Chattahoochee River Rd = 34.78262, -83.78914
    • As you climb USFS-44C, you’ll come to a fire break to your left at 34.7834, -83.8001. There’s the fire break to your left, 44C to your right, and a short road in the middle. Stay right at this point.
    • Stay left. (Faint trail goes to right.) = 34.79172, -83.81113
    • Poplar Stomp Rd meets AT = 34.78965, -83.81346
    • Start bushwhack about 34.79225, -83.81177
    • Bushwhack trail bears left (half-way point): 34.79661, -83.81099
    • Summit: 34.80200, -83.81210
  • Alternate route from Unicoi Gap via AT past Blue Mountain is 5.4 AT miles and 0.8 bushwhack (one way).
  • Alternate route from Jacks Gap (GA-180) is 4.1 AT miles and 0.8 bushwhack.
  • Alternate route from Hogpen Gap (GA-348/Richard B Russel) is 5.8 AT miles and 0.8 bushwhack.

Summit Guide

  • Hang antenna from tree, guy a mast, or bungee to a tree.
  • Cell coverage: Good AT&T from summit. AT&T is also available at Poplar Stomp Gap.
  • Area repeaters:
    • W4NGT - 147.210 (input 147.810 PL=100.0) Blairsville, GA
    • W9QXW 146.955 (input 146.355 PL=100.0) Blairsville, GA W9QXW

Other Resources