Drive & Trail Guide - Shepherd Bald, W4C/WM-045

Drive Guide - Shepherd Bald from ATLANTA

  • Duration:
  • Google Maps URL from Ashford Dunwoody Rd and I-285 at 33.917, -84.3378:
    • (includes Shepherd Bald and Cowee Bald)
  • Seasonal/Limited Access:
  • Directions:
    • Pat says: access isn’t bad
  • Food
    • Last McDonalds:
    • Penultimate McDonalds:
    • Dinner

Drive Guide - Shepherd Bald From Shortoff Mtn (Cole Gap)

  • Duration:
  • Google Maps
  • Seasonal/Limited Access:
  • Directions:
    • Head North / East on Buck Creek Rd (Turn L if you parked in FS-4535 across from the trail) and go 9.1
    • Straight on NC-28 N and go 8
    • L on NE Main St and go 0.3
    • R on Depot St/Riverview St and go 1.4
    • Straight on NC-28 N and go 4.8
    • Bear R on 1340 / Cowee Creek Rd and go 0.2
    • R fork on Cowee Creek Rd and go 1.2
    • L on Leatherman Gap Rd, bearing L at 2.0 to stay on Leatherman and go another 0.9
    • S on USFS-70 (dirt) and go 2.6
    • Keep L at fork on USFS-70 and go 1.4
    • The road bumps R around a minor ridge to your L. There is a faint wash at the bump (at the GPS coordinates listed below). Park just past this point on the narrow shoulder. Room to park 2 small vehicles.

Trail Guide

  • Duration: 1.1 mile, 735’ climb, 0:50 up, 0:40 down
  • Navigation
    • The ‘trailhead’ is in the middle of the bump. The trail is just a faint wash, in the middle of the draw.
    • Follow the wash at the bump, up the draw, to the saddle. (Pat says there is a well-defined trail, but leaf-fall was dense so maybe we are talking about the same thing.)
    • Find a faint roadbed at the saddle and follow it left.
    • You’ll come to a road junction shortly. Follow the road to the L and then immediately R (heading up-hill).
    • Roadway becomes clearer here, with just a few blow-downs.
    • It is a steep climb all the way from where you parked up to where the road makes a sharp R, paralleling the final ridge. It is level as it parallels the final ridge.
    • When the road makes a hairpin L, you need to levitate up about 10 feet in the middle of the turn, onto the final ridge line. Bushwhack up the final ridgeline to the summit. Lotsa brambles on the summit. Looks like a tough bushwhack, but the final ridge was frozen, so I didn’t attempt it.
  • Trailhead altitude: ~4045 @ 35.32478,-83.37609
  • Summit altitude: 4780 @ 35.3267, -83.3865
  • GPS tracks/waypoints:
    • x

Summit Guide

  • Hang antenna from tree:
  • Space to guy mast:
  • Cell coverage:
  • Unique features:
    • Pat says: access isn’t bad. There is a nice clearing on the summit but it is a briar patch though.

Plan-B Candidates

  • This is on the route to Cowee Bald (W4C/WM-039)