Trip-specific: Drive to Trailhead & Trail Guide

Drive Guide - Walnut Mountain (Lemon Gap) from Max Patch Parking

  • Duration: 0:15
  • Google Maps URL from Knoxville to Max Patch to Walnut to Knoxville: http://goo.gl/maps/20ybb
  • Seasonal/Limited Access:
  • Directions:
    • North on Max Patch Rd (Turn R, exiting parking lot) and go 3.6
    • USFS-3505 (AKA Rattlesnake Branch Rd) road Ts in from right at Lemon Gap. AT crosses it.
    • Park at AT crossing at Lemon Gap.
  • Food
    • Last McDonalds: n.a.

Drive Guide - Walnut Mountain (Rattlesnake Gap) from Max Patch Parking

  • Duration: 0:25
  • Seasonal/Limited Access:
    • USFS-96 has a gate. It was open 2014.08.30 and 2015.09.27.
  • Directions:
    • Drive north on Max Patch Rd (right, out of Max Patch parking) and go 3.6 to Lemon Gap
    • Continue (assuming you came from Max Patch) north on Max Patch / Round Mountain Rd and go 1.1
    • Turn R on USFS-96 / Wolf Creek Rd and go about 1.6 miles to Rattlesnake Gap.
      • Note: Google maps shows this intersection at 35.83849, -82.95455. It is really at 35.83328, -82.95083.
    • Park at the T in the road

Drive Guide - Walnut Mountain (Rattlesnake Gap) TO Atlanta

  • Duration: (40 minutes to I-40) 3:50
  • Directions:
    • S/SW on Wolf Creek Rd (back the way you came in) and go 1.6
    • L on Round Mtn Rd and go 1.1
    • Pass the Lemon Gap trailhead on your L.
    • Continue at “Drive Guide - Walnut Mountain (LemonGap) TO Atlanta”

Drive Guide - Walnut Mountain (Lemon Gap) TO Atlanta

  • Duration: (30 minutes to I-40) 3:40
  • Directions:
    • South (away from Walnut Mtn trail) on Round Mtn Rd / Max Patch Rd and go 3.6
    • Pass Max Patch trailhead and continue 1.6
    • Keep R on 1182 (not L on 1181) and go 0.2
    • Sharp R on unnamed road at Robert Gap and go 2.5
    • R on Fall Branch Rd and go 0.5
    • S on Cold Springs Creek Rd and go 3.2
    • Cross under I-40 and go L onto I-40 EAST and go 20.3
    • Exit 27, US-23 south, to US-441 south to Atlanta

Trail Guide from Lemon Gap

  • Duration: 1.4 miles, 1:00 up (GPX trace walks back down some), 0:45 down
  • Navigation
    • Follow AT 1.25 North to Walnut Mtn shelter at 35.8365,-82.93649
    • Follow faint trail past shelter, to left of AT, 0.2 to summit at 35.8367, -82.9341
    • Note: Shelter is about 50’ elevation below summit, as measured by my GPS.
    • Grab the first good clear spot you see past the shelter. There’s nothing really good at the apex. Or operate from the picnic table at the shelter.
  • Trailhead altitude: 3550
  • Summit altitude: 4300
  • GPS tracks/waypoints:
    • Trailhead: 35.82536, -82.93744
    • Creek crossing (dry in boots; wet in sneakers): 35.83346,-82.93664
    • Shelter: 35.83651,-82.93644
    • Summit: 35.83670,-82.93410

Trail Guide from Rattlesnake Gap

  • Duration: 1.4 miles (565’ climb), 0:45 up, 0:35 down (via gated road - not the shortcut trail)
  • Navigation:
    • USFS-96 comes into a T at Rattlesnake Gap. 96 turns R on the top-right of the T. There’s a seasonally gated road making the top-left of the T.
    • There’s another dirt road that ends inside the right-turn of 96. Standing in the gap, face SE and walk toward 35.847824, -82.94429. It arrives at a gate pretty quickly. This is the trail. (FS Trail 135.)
    • Follow this road to the Walnut Mtn shelter, in Walnut Gap.
    • This might be 1/10 mile longer than from Lemon Gap, but it climbs 200’ less. I think it is easier.
    • Coming back from the shelter, there is a sign near the shelter that points to a well-defined trail marked “Rattlesnake Gap 0.9 miles”.
    • Pat Harris has a GPX trace at http://smkymtns.com/sota-resources/sota-gpx-tracks/viewtrack/118-/118-.html
    • Going up, you’ll encounter a “Walnut Trail” sign, part way up. This is a shortcut. Pat says it comes out in the clearing near the top, but I didn’t see it. I thought I’d hike up on the road and down on the shortcut, but I couldn’t find the top. If you want to compare it, hike up the shortcut and down the road. Pat says it is much shorter but steeper. Pa says it enters the clearing downhill from where the road enters the clearing.
  • GPS tracks/waypoints:
    • Rattlesnake Gap Trailhead: 35.84758,-82.94426

Summit Guide

  • Hang antenna from tree: yes
  • Space to guy mast: yes
  • Cell coverage: ATT=no; Vzn: 2013 no, 2014 yes, 2015 no; APRS=yes