Tray Mtn: Drive to Trailhead & Trail Guide
- Update: 2016.05 - Tray Mtn Rd from the junction with Indian Grave Gap Rd to Tray Gap is deeply rutted and unsafe to drive in a sedan. Deep ruts, big rocks. Note to self - Don’t do it!
- Corbin Creek Rd is 10.1 miles and 45 minutes to Tray Gap. Corbin Creek Rd is rough but not “Wonder Mode”.
- Back in 2012 I was told that Tray Gap Road beyond the gap (i.e. the right fork at the gap) is deeply rutted and unsuitable for 2WD.
- Either take the long, rough drive up Corbin Creek Rd or park at Indian Grave Gap and hike an extra 1.7 miles one-way.
NOTE: **Do not drive through Helen. Traffic is often 2 MPH. **
Drive Guide - Tray Mountain (Tray Gap trailhead) via Tray Mtn Rd
- Duration: 2:15 to Tray Mtn. Tray Mtn Rd is slow.
- Google Maps URL from Atlanta (33.91998, -84.33898):
- SOTA Extra Info Page: http://sotawatch.org/summits.php?summit=w4g/ng-005
- Seasonal/Limited Access:
- Condition of road from junction with Indian Grave Gap Rd to Tray Gap varies from year to year. Sometimes it is drivable in a sedan; sometimes it really needs 4WD + HGC.
- Gates at both ends of IGG Rd. Season is unknown. No gates on TM Rd.
- 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 to take you to 34.79921, -83.69089. This is much slower that Google estimates.):
- Watch for mile marker 8. ~ 0.2 to 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 right on Tray Mountain RD (USFS-79).
- 10 more minutes to Tray Gap. Roads to L and R with AT in center. (Both roads un-gated.)
- Last McDonalds: GA-400 at GA-53 (38 miles north of I-285)
- If you miss it, you can swing by 1550 S MAIN ST, Cleveland, adding 5 minutes.
- Dinner: Barbecue in Helen or Barbecue at GA-400 and Hwy 53
Drive Guide - Tray Mountain (Tray Gap trailhead) from Rocky Mtn at Indian Grave Gap Trailhead
- Duration: 0:10.
- Drive south about 0.6 miles
- Acute Left turn and go 1.8
- See notes elswhere in this guide regarding road condition to Tray Gap.
Drive Guide - Tray Mountain (Indian Grave Gap trailhead) from YELLOW BALD
- Duration: 2:00. Although Tray Mtn Rd is SLOW, the roads near Yellow Bald are very good.
- Note: This is a very good quality dirt road.
- Note: You will pass right by the route to Standing Indian.
- Head back out the way you came in on USFS-67 (the only way - you’re at the end of the road!) and go 2.1
- R on USFS-67, following sign to Standing Indian and go 9.5. (Last mile or two is paved.)
- L on Allison Creek Rd / Old Murphy Rd and go 1.9
- L on US-64 West and go 16.4
- Note: You will briefly pick-up a 3G AT&T signal, about 2 miles before you leave 64. This would be a good time to get Google Maps to route you to your destination. (I needed it because the road had been re-routed.)
- L on NC-175 S and go 0.8. Turn R to cross bridge, staying on NC-175 and go 3.4 more.
- S on GA-75 S and go 3.5
- Bear L on GA-2/GA-75 and go 3.3
- Fast food, including McDonalds here.
- R on GA-75 S and go 6.8
- L onto Indian Grave Gap Rd, marked USFS-283 and “High Shoals Scenic Area” and go 3.5 to Indian Grave Gap
- Road fords a creek. I had no trouble at 6” deep water level in my Corolla.
Drive Guide - Tray Mountain TO Atlanta
- Head southwest out of the gap and go 1.8
- Bear L to stay on Tray Mtn Rd and go 6
- or go R 3.7 on Indian Grave Gap to GA-75. This is a little faster.
- L on GA-75 S and go 0.7
- R on GA-75 Alt and go 8.1
- L on US-129 S and go 0.8
- R on McAfee Rd / Tesnatee Gap Rd and go 3
- R on GA-115 S and go 11.5
- L on GA-115 S and go 4.8
- South on GA-400
Trail Guide - Tray Mountain from Tray Gap
- Distance (one way): 0.7 (0:35 up, 0:25 down)
- Navigation - Follow white AT blazes.
- Tray Mtn - 0.5 miles, 500’ climb
- Trailhead is straight ahead as you drive into the gap)
- 0.7 summit - You’ll find the benchmark embedded in granite in the path.
- Trailhead altitude: 3760’ @ Tray Gap parking @ 34.79918, -83.69108
- Summit altitude:
- GPS tracks/waypoints:
- Indian Grave Gap trailhead 34.79292, -83.71414
- Tray Gap trailhead 34.79921, -83.69089
- Tray Mtn Summit 34.80140, -83.68380
- For the view, stop at the summit. For a better operating site, continue about 1/10 mile to a campsite, which I measured to be within the activation zone.
- Hang antenna from tree:
- Poor on the summit (mostly dwarf trees & Rhodadendron);
- Very nice at the campsite.
- Space to guy mast:
- Challenging on the summit (I did bungee a mast to shrubs)
- Better at the campsite.
- Cell coverage: Good AT&T and Verizon; APRS text worked (on the summit - did not test at campsite)
- Unique features: Nice view. Easy to find benchmark on summit.
- I drove Indian Grave Gap Rd in a Corolla with no problems in dry weather. Don’t drive too fast - there are some surprise potholes and runoff gullies. The ford on IGG Rd went OK in a dry week. Don’t try it after heavy rain. Maintain momentum crossing the creek, to avoid trouble climbing out.
- There is a very weak Internet/data connection in Tray Gap.