Drive to Trailhead & Trail Guide - Rocky Mtn (W4G/NG-011)

There are 2 routes to Indian Grave Gap:

  • Indian Grave Gap Road - this has a shallow creek ford. The creek bed is lined with fist-sized rocks. I’ve never had a problem crossing it with my Corolla, but it is always scary because I can’t really see what the creek bed looks like. The road itself is always in very good condition for a forest service dirt road.
  • Tray Mountain Road - Tray Mountain Road from GA-75 to Indian Grave Gap Road. In 2020, this had scary erosion gullies and a huge mud wallow. I had to leave the road and drive between trees to get around it. There is a metal towing company sign nailed to a tree by the mud wallow! Note that this is Tray Mountain Road before reaching Indian Grave Gap road. (The stretch of Tray Mountain Road from Indian Grave Gap Road to Tray Gap is different problem stretch.)

Note: Shorter hike and less climb from the Indian Grave Gap trailhead.

NOTE: Do not drive through Helen!

Drive Guide - Rocky Mountain via Indian Grave Gap from Atlanta

  • Duration: 2:15
  • Seasonal/Limited Access: All seasons; all weather.
  • Directions:
    • TM Road (USFS-79) could be a problem when muddy. Not listed as seasonal on USFS maps.
    • IGG Rd (USFS-283) ford could be a problem after heavy rain. Seasonal close Jan 1 - Mar 9.
    • Gates at both ends of IGG Rd. Season is unknown. No gates on TM Rd.
  • Directions:
    • Getting to near the destination:
      • 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 8.0. (Pass Richard B Russell Scenic Hwy at 1:25 from trip start.)
      • From intersection of GA-75A and GA-75, on GA-75 go north
    • Final approach (60 minutes - tell Google Maps iPhone app to take you to 34.79921, -83.69089. Much slower than Google estimates.)
      • Watch for mile marker 8. This is about 0.2 before TM Rd.
      • Watch for brown house on left, close to road, with no windows. TM Rd imminent.
      • R on Tray Mountain Rd. Small, thin sign “Bison View Lodge”.
      • After about 15 minutes, large gate made of black logs on right. “No trespassing”.
      • 5 more minutes to junction w/IGG Rd. Keep left on Indian Grave Gap Rd and go about 2 minutes to the trailhead.

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Drive Guide - Rocky Mountain (Unicoi Gap) from Atlanta via GA-400

  • Duration: 1:45
  • Google Maps URL from Atlanta (33.917, -84.3378): https://tinyurl.com/rocky-near-helen
  • Seasonal/Limited Access: All seasons; all weather.
  • Directions:
    • GA-400 N and go 47.
    • At GA-400 end, go straight on GA-115 and go 4.8
    • R on GA-115 and go 11.5
    • 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 and go 0.8
    • R on GA-75-Alt and go 8.1
    • L on GA-75 and go 7.9
    • Park in the big lot on the right at Unicoi Gap. The gap is marked with a roadside sign.
  • Food
    • McDonalds: GA-53 in Dawsonville. Before that: 2815 Keith Bridge Rd, Cumming

Drive Guide - Rocky Mountain via Indian Grave Gap from Blue Mtn

  • Duration: 0:15
  • Seasonal/Limited Access: All seasons; all weather.
  • Directions:
    • North (R out of parking) on GA-75 and go 2.0
    • At green mile post 2, sharp R onto Indian Grave Gap Rd and go 3.5
      • The turn is too sharp for an SUV. You may have to go past and turn around.

Drive Guide - Rocky Mountain via Unicoi Gap from Tray Mtn

  • Duration: 0:30
  • Seasonal/Limited Access: All seasons; all weather.
  • Directions:
    • SW on Tray Mtn Rd, back toward Indian Grave Gap. Go 1.8
    • At fork for Indian Grave Gap, you have two choices: The 15-minute faster route includes a ford. I’m 4-for-4 in successfully crossing it in my Corolla, but it always gives me the sweats. The 15-minute slower route bypasses the ford.
      • Fast, ford route:
      • At the fork for Indian Grave Gap, turn R and go 4.1
      • At GA-17/GA-75 go sharp LEFT and go 2.0
      • Slow, no-ford route:
        • At the fork for Indian Grave Gap, turn L and go 6 on Tray Mtn Rd.
        • At GA-17/GA-75 go RIGHT and go 7.1

Drive Guide - Rocky Mtn (NG-011) via Unicoi Gap from Rocky Mtn (NG-050)

  • Duration: 1:05
  • Google Maps URL:
  • Seasonal/Limited Access: All seasons; all weather.
  • Directions:
    • Head out on FS 236 and go 0.4
    • R on Cavender Gap Rd and go 0.8
    • L on GA-60 S and go 7.5
    • R on SR-80 and go 11.2
    • L on US-129 and go 2.4
    • R on SR-180 and go 12.6
    • R on GA-17 S and go 2.5

Trail Guide - From Indian Grave Gap

  • Duration: 1.2 miles. 1:00 up, 0:45 down
  • Navigation: Head west on AT.
  • Trailhead altitude: 3050
  • Summit altitude: 4014
  • GPS tracks/waypoints: Trailhead: 34.79314,-83.71422. Summit: 34.79835, -83.72978

Trail Guide - From Unicoi Gap

  • Duration: 1.5 miles, 1:25 up, 0:50 down
  • Navigation: Head east on AT. (Stay on parking lot side of the road.)
  • Trailhead altitude: 2941
  • Summit altitude: 4014
  • GPS tracks/waypoints:
    • Trailhead: 34.80210, -83.74285. Summit: 34.79835, -83.72978. Grid Square: EM84dt

Summit Guide

  • Hang antenna from tree: YES
  • Space to guy mast: YES
  • Cell coverage: Good AT&T 2020; APRS text worked

Miscellaneous Notes

The ford on IGG Rd went OK in a dry week. Don’t try it after heavy rain. Maintain momentum crossing creek, to avoid trouble climbing out.