Drive to Trailhead & Trail Guide
Drive Guide - Atlanta to Mt Hardy
- Duration: 171 miles, 3:05
- Google Maps URL from Atlanta (33.91998, -84.33898): http://goo.gl/maps/9zN9u
- Seasonal/Limited Access: Check the BRP Closure Map.
- I-285 to I-85 N
- I-985/GA-365/US-441 N and go 96
- US-23 N and go 20
- US-23 N (Great Smoky Mtn Expressway) and go 13.1
- L to Blue Ridge Pky ramp
- L onto Blue Ridge Pky and go 18.1
- Park at Rough Butt Bald at MM 425.4. (MM get smaller as you travel north.)
- Note: If Parkway is closed due to weather, alternate trailhead at 35.30339,-82.90863 on NC-215. (Longer hike.) If you reach the parkway entrance at 35.4378, -83.0761 and it is closed (50 minute drive + an extra round-trip hour of hiking):
- Continue straight on US-23 N and go 4.1
- Exit 98, US-23 Business.
- R on US-23 Biz and go 2.3
- R on US-276/Pigeon St and go 4.6
- R on Edwards Cove Rd and go 1.6
- Bear R on NC-215/Lake Logan R and go 15.5
- Parking on R, just before Parkway.
- To get home from here:
- Continue south on NC-215, turn R on US-64, turn L on NC-281/SC-130, R on SC-11, I-85 south.
- Last McDonalds:
- Penultimate McDonalds:
Side Trip to Tallulah Gorge State Park Group Camping
- After crossing the Tallulah Gorge bridge, do NOT turn L at big park sign and gate.
- Next R, at light, turn lane, and small “Tallulah Gorge State Park Campground…” sign
- Group camp is on L, across from entrance to main campground.
- Park map shows a shelter symbol on a creek, north of “Terrora Campground”
- “Pioneer Campground” is marked on this map
- Duration: 1:40 up; 1:15 down; 2.2 miles
- You will need a GPS to follow the route. Even with a GPS and an accurate trace, I made two wrong turns.
- Trail is too wet for sneakers; need dry hiking boots.
- The trailhead is across the street from one end of the parking.
- The compass says it is the north end of the lot. Parkway mileposts say it is the southern end of the lot because the northbound parkway heads south here.
- After a few hundred yards, note the metal posts. When you return, you need to retrace your route, and there’s a risk you’ll wander off to the right.
- At 1.3 miles (about 0:40 for me), there is a steep, vague trail climbing up to your right. Take this trail. (I missed it, and went an extra 0.6 on the level trail.)
- Trailhead altitude: 5300’ @ parking lot @ 35.3041900, -82.9422550
- Summit altitude: 6140’
- GPS tracks/waypoints:
- 35.3087,-82.92525 = Intersection with route from NC-215
- Hang antenna from tree:
- Space to guy mast:
- Cell coverage: No cell; Yes APRS
- Unique features:
- summits listed here with some clue as to where/how