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

Drive Guide - Rabun Bald from Atlanta

  • Duration: 2:00
  • Google Maps URL from Atlanta (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: 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 :
      • CAUTION: Google Maps may try to direct you into Sky Valley. Ignore it if it tells you to turn R into Sky Valley.
      • 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.
      • 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:
    • Trail: 1:10 (1.6 mi) up; 0:50 down. Meet-up with jeep road is about 1/2 way point.
    • Jeep road: 1:20 (2.0 miles) via jeep road
  • Navigation
    • After pavement ends, continue in 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 about half-way to the top. Shorter route is the trail.
      • 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.
    • Note: After you turn the last switchback, it is ~800 steps to the summit
  • GPS tracks/waypoints:
    • Trailhead: 34.976, -83.3 (Beegum Gap) at 3690’ altitude
    • Summit: 34.9656, -83.2998 Grid: EM84ix at 4696’ altitude

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.
  • 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.