Drive to Trailhead & Trail Guide - Mt Hardy - 10 points

Drive Guide - Atlanta to Mt Hardy

  • Duration: 171 miles, 3:05
  • Google Maps URL from Atlanta (33.91998, -84.33898):
  • Seasonal/Limited Access: Check the BRP Closure Map.
  • Directions:
    • 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.
  • Food
    • Last McDonalds:
    • Penultimate McDonalds:
    • Dinner

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

Trail Guide

  • Duration: 1:40 up; 1:15 down; 2.2 miles
  • Navigation
    • 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

Summit Guide

  • Hang antenna from tree:
  • Space to guy mast:
  • Cell coverage: No cell; Yes APRS
  • Unique features:

Plan-B Candidates

  • summits listed here with some clue as to where/how