Drive to Trailhead & Trail Guide - Walnut Mountain

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 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 no longer shows this road (2017).
    • 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) from Max Patch Parking

  • Duration: 0:15
  • Google Maps URL from Knoxville to Max Patch to Walnut to Knoxville:
  • 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.

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, 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, 0:30 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. Lemon Gap is prettier.
    • 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
    • Going up, you’ll encounter a “Walnut Trail” sign, part way up. This is a shortcut. You won’t be able to find the other end on the way back down (35.8388,-82.93836) unless you hike the shortcut up. The shortcut is overgrown and becomes a bushwhack. I do not recommend it.
  • GPS tracks/waypoints:
    • Rattlesnake Gap: 35.84758,-82.94426

Summit Guide

  • Hang antenna from tree: yes
  • Space to guy mast: yes
  • Cell coverage: ATT: 2017 no; Vzn: 2013 no, 2014 yes, 2015 no; APRS=yes but no ACK