Drive & Trail Guide, Wildcat Mountain W4G/NG-020

Drive Guide - Wildcat Mountain from ATLANTA

  • Duration: 1:35
  • Google Maps URL from Atlanta (33.917, -84.3378):
  • Seasonal/Limited Access: Paved roads, BUT Richard B Russell is sometimes closed for repairs/ice. Check with GDOT. Plan an alternate.
  • Parking: Plenty of parking on a clear January Saturday at 8:30 AM; most of muddy overflow full at noon.
  • Directions:
    • 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 5.9.
    • L on Richard B Russell Scenic Hwy (GA-348). (About 1:25 from trip start.) Go 7.0
    • Parking lot on right, at AT crossing. If lot full, another is 0.1 mile farther on GA-348.
  • Food
    • Last McDonalds: GA-400 at GA-53. Miss it? Add 0:10 and try 1550 S Main St Cleveland, GA.
    • Dinner: 5 Guys in Home Depot shopping center, just south of GA-53

Drive Guide - Wildcat Mountain from Sassafras Mtn (W4G/NG-040)

  • Duration: 1:00, 30 miles
  • Google Maps URL:
  • Seasonal/Limited Access: All seasons, dirt and paved roads, BUT Richard B Russell sometimes is closed for repairs/ ice. Check with GDOT. Plan an alternate.
  • Directions:
  • Travel ESE on Coopers Gap Rd and go 5.2.
    • This will be the mostly level road, moving away from where you just left the AT and toward the continuation of the AT. (The AT briefly joins the road.)
    • Note: Google Maps on the phone often sends you on the wrong road (downhill).
  • Keep L as road merges from R and go 3.5
  • L on GA-60 North and go 0.5
  • R on GA-180 and go 11.2
  • L on US-129 North and go 2.4
  • R on GA-180 and go 0.9
  • R on GA-348 (Richard B Russel Scenic Hwy). Go 6.9
    • Parking lot on left, at AT crossing.
  • Food: None on the way
    • Dinner: 5 Guys in Home Depot shopping center, just south of GA-53

Drive Guide - Wildcat Mtn to Atlanta (partial)

  • Left out of the lot and go 7
  • R on GA-75 Alt and go 5.9
  • L on US-129 S and go 0.8
  • R on McAfee Rd / Testatee Gap and go 3
  • R on GA-115 S and go 11.5
  • L on GA-115 S and go 4.6
  • Straight onto GA-400 S

Trail Guide

  • Duration: 0.8 miles / 0:40 up (if fresh), 0:25 down
  • Navigation
    • Take the AT on the south side of GA-348. Trail crosses highway SE of the lot; it is obvious.
    • Climb steeply (w/switchbacks) for 0.2 miles.
    • Turn left (south) on Whitley Gap Shelter trail. Blue-blazed ridge trail.
    • Reach summit in 0.6 miles.
  • Trailhead altitude: 3472’ @ parking
  • Summit altitude: 3780’
  • GPS tracks/waypoints:
    • Parking lot: 34.726, -83.84. Summit: 34.71740, -83.83820
    • Left turn to Whitley Gap Shelter Trail: 34.72479, -83.84104
    • Grid: EM84br

Summit Guide

  • Hang antenna from tree: Yes, but they are short. String it through multiple trees.
  • Space to guy mast: Yes.
  • Cell coverage: 2020: AT&T SMS OK 4 of 4 times, but it took 2-3 minutes.
  • Unique features: Nice views near summit. Hard to see if trees are in full leaf.

Plan-B Summit(s)

  • Blood Mountain, W4G/NG-004, via Neels Gap
  • Blue Mountain, W4G/NG-010, via Unicoi Gap; Rocky Mountain, W4G/NG-011, via Unicoi Gap