Rabun Bald (W4G/NG-002): Drive to Trailhead & Trail Guide

Drive Guide - Rabun Bald from Atlanta

  • Duration: 2:05 (a little longer than Google Maps says)
  • Google Maps URL from Ashford Dunwoody Rd and I-285 at 33.91998, -84.33898:
    • To Clayton: http://goo.gl/maps/Ib4j2
    • Clayton to Beegum gap: http://goo.gl/maps/ECuOq
    • Beegum to Black Rock: http://goo.gl/maps/OAZtE
  • Seasonal/Limited Access: While Rabun Bald is open all year, if you want the Black Rock Mountain double-header, that park is closed Dec 1 - March 15. Paved road all the way.
  • Directions:
    • Atlanta to Clayton GA - 1:45
      • I-285 E to I-85 N
      • I-985 N and go 23.8
      • Straight on US-23 N for 52
    • From Clayton GA (intersection of US-441 and US-76) to Beegum Gap trailhead - 0:30 :
      • US-441N and go 7.5
      • R on GA-246/NC-246/NC-106 and go 4.2
      • R on Old Mud Creek Rd/Bald Mtn Rd (@ “Mountain Jct Store/Sinclair Gas”) and go 1.7
      • Keep R to stay on Bald Mtn Rd and go 1.2
      • R onto Kelsey Mtn Rd and go 0.5
        • Park at end of pavement. Limited parking available.
      • Note: Some people may try to drive the jeep trail past this point. There are some deep erosion gullies and you’ll do some boulder climbing. If I get a Forrester, I’m not going to drive it.
    • Alternate Trailhead: From Clayton (intersection of US-441 and US-76) to Hale Ridge Rd trailhead:
      • R on Rickman Dr (across from where US-76 joins from the west) and go 0.5
      • R on Warwoman Rd and go 9.5
      • L on Hale Ridge Rd (USFS-7) and go 5.6.
      • Trail marker is on left. Probably near 34.99081, -83.28227; maybe near 34.99570, -83.28197
  • Food
    • Last McDonalds: Clayton, GA (busy on Saturday mornings)
    • Before that: Cornelia, on Level Grove Rd (just BEFORE Cornelia)

Drive Guide - Rabun Bald TO Atlanta

  • Drive out on the only road for 0.5
  • L on Bald Mtn Rd / Old Mud Creek Rd and go 1.2
  • Keep L to stay on Bald Mtn Rd and go 1.7
  • L onto GA-246/NC-246/NC-106 and go 4.2
  • L on US-441

Trail Guide

  • Duration: 1:05 (1.6 mi) via hiking trail; 1:20 (2.0 miles) via jeep road. 0:40 down
  • Navigation
    • Beegum Gap Trailhead (2 miles; +1000’)
      • Elevation 3690’
      • After the pavement ends, continue in the same direction 30’. The left fork is the trail (which joins the Bartram Trail) and the right fork is the jeep road. They’ll meet up about half-way to the top. Shorter route is the trail to the left:
      • There is a sign post. There is also a post with a green blaze.
      • Bartram is yellow blazed (when you get to it, after about 0.2 miles).
      • Stay on the main trail to the right, when you reach the Bartram.
      • At 0.8 miles, the trail meets the jeep trail at a 4x4 camp area.
      • The Bartram Trail to the summit continues on the left.
    • From Hale Ridge Rd Trailhead (2.9 miles; +2100’) (per my yellow Bartram Trail book from http://www.emapstore.com/outdoor/hike/bartram_trail.html): * Trail marker is on left side of road (headed N on Hale Ridge Rd). * Elevation at trailhead = 2500’
  • Trailhead altitude: 3690’ (Beegum Gap)
  • Summit altitude: 4696’
  • GPS tracks/waypoints:
    • Trailhead: 34.976, -83.3 (Beegum Gap)
    • Summit: 34.9656, -83.2998 Grid: EM84ix

Summit Guide

  • Antenna: The only sensible antenna setup is to climb to the top of the tower and bungee cord a mast to the railing.
    • If you are really stubborn, you can tie one end of your antenna to the railing and run an antenna to one of the trees below the tower.
  • Cell coverage: AT&T 2015 SMS success; AT&T 2014 = intermittent; Verizon 2014 = intermittent; APRS = good send/receive.
    • I had best success with Verizon by putting the phone flat on the deck and giving it some space.
  • Unique features:
    • 20’ stone tower atop the summit. Great views.
    • I reached an Alpharetta ham on 2 meters FM National Calling Frequency.