Drive to Trailhead & Trail Guide - Vineyard Mountain
Caution: Use bug dope. I got bug bites that took over 6 weeks to heal from my ankle to my knee while wearing hiking boots, over-the-calf socks, and long pants. My son also got similar bites (while not as thoroughly clothed). (Summer 2013)
- Duration: 0:45
- Google Maps URL from Atlanta (33.91998, -84.33898):
- To the easy, seasonal trailhead: http://goo.gl/maps/TNXri
- To the difficult, year-round trailhead at 34.14386, -84.73565: http://goo.gl/maps/5C2k1
- Seasonal/Limited Access:
- The easy, sensible trailhead is in the Riverside Day Use Area, near Alatoona Dam. I don’t know the season, but it was closed on December 2, 2012. I found an alternate route. It didn’t take me past any “No Trespassing” or “Area Closed” signs, but it is definitely not a documented trail.
- Easy trailhead:
- Note: There is no “almost there” parking. If the road is closed, you’d have to walk past a manned guard house (which is there to permit trucks to service the dam).
- I-285 West
- I-75 North
- Exit 285 for Red Top Mountain Rd. Turn Left. Go 0.5.
- Turn right to stay on Red Top Mountain Rd. Go 0.1.
- Turn right on US-41 at the T. Go 1.1.
- Turn right on Alatoona Dam Rd. Go 1.4 and park in the lot.
- Tough trailhead:
- I-285 West
- I-75 North
- Exit 285 for Red Top Mountain Rd. Turn Right.
- Park at the gate, across the road from the gas station’s driveway.
- Last McDonalds:
- Penultimate McDonalds:
Trail Guide (Easy Route - a.k.a. “Eagle Scout Trails”)
- Duration: 0:40
- Well-marked trailhead. There’s a side road to a picnic shelter at 34.16184, -84.73504. The trailhead is about 10 yards closer to the dam than this road.
- Follow the well-marked, yellow-blazed trial until it intersects the blue-blazed trail and the red-blazed trail at a small bench.
- Follow the red-blazed trail up.
- When you arrive at the cell tower, you’re on top.
Trail Guide (Hard Route)
- Duration: 1:20
- Park at the gate. Facing the gate from Red Top Mountain Road, you’re going to take the old pavement heading to your left.
- Follow the old pavement to the gravel lot.
- Exit the gravel lot on the north, following the narrow, abandoned dirt road.
- After a bit, the road crosses a dry creek bed.
- A bit more, and the road crosses a wet creek. Slippery rocks!
- A bit more, and you’ll pass a small site with a small diesel generator, and you’ll start following power lines.
- Then you come to the paved road with picnic “Shelter B” and restrooms that are shown on the Alatoona Lake Trail Guide, south of Alatoona Dam Road, just below the dam.
- When you arrive at Alatoona Dam Road, turn right, and you’re at the trailhead for the Eagle Scout Trails.
- From here, follow the Eagle Scout Trails (the ‘Easy Route’ instructions).
Trail Guide (My Route Out - All Season. Risk of getting hassled.)
I’ll describe my route out. You could follow it in the opposite direction to get in. It goes through a gated, not-yet-built subdivision. I carefully avoided “No Trespassing” signs.
- Hang antenna from tree: Yes
- Space to guy mast: Yes
- Cell coverage: Good
- Unique features:
- Pine Mountain
- Kennesaw Mountain