Hike Unicoi Gap to Rocky Mountain and Indian Grave Gap

  • February 22, 2014 · 10:00 AM

We will start the hike from the trailhead at Unicoi Gap. A large boulder marked with a bronze plaque marks the Appalachian Trail crossing of Unicoi Gap in the parking area. The Appalachian Trail departs Unicoi Gap, climbing a set of wooden stairs to enter a rocky forest strewn with moss-covered boulders.

This stretch of the Appalachian Trail – a heart-pounding hike over Rocky Mountain with rapid elevation gain – is one of the most difficult in Georgia, but rewards with stunning views from the mountain summit. The trail rises over 1,000 feet in its initial 1.3 mile stretch to climb Rocky Mountain from Unicoi Gap before plummeting over 850 feet on the Western face to meet Indian Grave Gap at 2.6 miles. From here, double back to retrace your steps along the Appalachian Trail, hiking in reverse to climb back over and down Rocky Mountain to return to the Unicoi Gap trailhead.

Note: This will be a difficult hike.  First time hikers may want to rethink RSVP.  Total Hike will be approximately 8.5 miles.  After hiking 2.6 miles to Indian Grave Gap, we will hike another 1.5 miles towards Tray Gap, there is a valley and mountain view.  No major climb in this section, just some up/down.  Trail passes through an area filled with Rhododendron trees.

The pace of the hike? We will hike as a group and make brief stops to allow anyone to catch up if needed. Hiking boots are recommended. Hiking poles are also recommended. Bring plenty of water, snacks, poncho/rain gear, camera.  Change of clothes for post hike activities (dinner in Helen?) and the drive back.

Directions: From Cleveland, take 75 north/east to Helen.  Go thru Helen and continue north on 75/17.  The trailhead is on the right , approximately 9.2 miles from the center of Helen.

My cell number is[masked]



Car pool meet up locations:

Mansell Park & Ride - Highway 400 Exit 8  8:00AM Parking area is marked A in the pic below.





 

Buford Park & Ride - I-985 Exit 4 Highway 20 and I-985  8:15AM The parking area is on the west side of I-985.







 

Post hike dinner.  Will find something in Helen.  Suggestions welcome.

View looking SSE.  There are 2-3 areas with open views to the south/southeast.





 

 

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  • A former member
    A former member

    I very much enjoyed meeting everyone. See you on the next hike!

    February 23, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Gorgeous weather, kick ass hike, literally, and terrific hikers and scenery. Way to go Gary.

    2 · February 23, 2014

  • Christine G.

    Thanks Gary, a lovely day, a great hike and a great group of people.

    2 · February 22, 2014

  • Jane E.

    I had a wonderful time, beautiful day in the woods.

    February 22, 2014

  • Marie333

    Great meeting all. Thank you Jill for ride. And thank you all for encouraging words when times were down. It really brought us back up. :P I'll post pics soon.

    1 · February 22, 2014

  • Jill S.

    Great hike on a beautiful day. I will definitely be back.

    1 · February 22, 2014

  • Diane

    Great fun & a really good group. Loved it!

    2 · February 22, 2014

  • Eugene B.

    Excellent, good job Master Hike Leader Gary!!!

    1 · February 22, 2014

  • Jann

    Enjoyed the many ups and downs!

    1 · February 22, 2014

  • Patrick G.

    Super fun today everyone! It was great to meet you all!

    February 22, 2014

  • Deborah

    Coming down with stomach bug and can't make the travel today to hike with you:(

    February 22, 2014

  • Patrick G.

    Hey guys... I've been in meetings all week and wanted to RSVP earlier today. Looks like the meet up is technically 'full' any chance I could still join you all tomorrow?

    February 21, 2014

    • Patrick G.

      On our way - call my cell phone if you need to[masked]

      February 22, 2014

    • Patrick G.

      I'm in a silver Tacoma

      February 22, 2014

  • Jann

    I get carsick. See you at the trailhead!

    1 · February 21, 2014

  • Jill S.

    Bryan, Lars and Trinh I will see you at Buford Park & Ride at 8:30 Saturday. I drive a black Cayenne SUV.

    February 16, 2014

    • Jill S.

      I have room for 4 people besides myself.

      February 21, 2014

    • Marie333

      Thank you! See you all there.

      February 21, 2014

  • Christine G.

    Hello Steve, I can carpool from Dahlonega walmart, around 8.45, if you like. I am not planning on eating in Helen this time..Christine

    February 21, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      You're on Christine. I don't need a meal either. See you at the end of the parking lot, where they give away puppies and kittens at 8:45.

      February 21, 2014

  • Marie333

    Buford park and ride anyone?

    February 21, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Like this hike, but I'll be coming from Dahlonega area through Cleveland and Helen to trailhead. Carpool from Dahlonega/400 or Cleveland?

    February 21, 2014

  • Deborah

    Looks like maybe 2.5 hrs if I head north of Chattanooga over to Cleveland TN then take 64 along the Old Cooper road along the Ocoee, then cut south toward Blairsville, and keep on 180 til I hit 17 and go north.... that's where I worry because not sure how far into Vogel SP is the trailhead. I hope it's marked well.

    February 19, 2014

    • Gary C

      Yes, Bing Maps seems good for this one. The large parking lot does stand out. There is a green sign marking: 0 miles 2949 ft just before the parking lot and a brown sign on the other end: SWALLOW CREEK WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT. North of Helen 8-9 miles on US 75/17.

      February 20, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      GPS Coordinates[masked], [masked] (N[masked] W[masked])
      Deborah, when you hit 17 from 180, turn right, south. You will hit trail head on left in a few miles.

      February 21, 2014

  • Gary C

    Mansell Park & Ride carpool 2? Anyone else interested in starting a second carpool at this location? Car 1 is full. Thank You!

    February 18, 2014

    • Girish

      let me know what time I need to be at MAnsell P&R

      February 18, 2014

    • Gary C

      Girsh- I don't see any 2nd car volunteers yet. If you want to meet at the Mansell P&R and we can see if anyone else wants to drive, we are departing at 8am. If no 2nd car volunteer, maybe you could follow us to the trailhead.

      February 20, 2014

  • Deborah

    Can someone offer me some clear directions where to find the trailhead? I am driving from east side of Chattanooga to get there. Any idea what weather conditions to expect? I am not prepared with ice spikes or anything.... thoughts? The pictures I found are great but looking challenging... all steep up then down then up again!

    February 19, 2014

  • Jill S.

    I would like to do this hike. Is anyone going to be at the park and ride in Buford? I am happy to drive but would like to have a few others with me.

    February 16, 2014

    • Lars

      Trinh, do you want to meet at Best Buy and drive to Buford together?

      February 17, 2014

    • Trinh D.

      Hi Lars. Best Buy is opposite direction for me...See you at Buford.

      February 19, 2014

  • Nick B

    Hi Gary, Sonja and I are car pooling and will meet everyone at the trailhead.

    1 · February 18, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I will be meeting everyone at the trailhead also. Looking forward to this hike!

    1 · February 18, 2014

  • Eugene B.

    Ill be meeting you at the trailhead Gary

    1 · February 18, 2014

    • Gary C

      Sounds good.

      February 18, 2014

  • Sonja

    Anyone from the Rabun/Habersham area want to carpool?

    February 18, 2014

  • Dan L.

    Hope I can join y'all on this hike, it's an excellent workout with nices views, I won't know until the day before - Here's a post hike dinner suggestion- http://www.theoldbavariainnrest.com/Menu.htm

    February 16, 2014

    • Gary C

      Dan- Hope you can make it and thanks for the dinner suggestion!

      February 17, 2014

  • Deborah

    Is anyone coming from the Chattanooga area or nearby?

    February 16, 2014

  • Gary C

    Carpooling. The above mentioned carpool locations are just suggestions. Please post what area you would like to carpool from and others can join in on the conversation. Always better to carpool with a fellow hiker or 2. There is plenty of free parking at the trailhead.

    February 16, 2014

    • Diane

      Can I still carpool with u, Gary C?

      February 16, 2014

    • Gary C

      Mansell P&R carpool 8am- Jennifer, Diane, Sharon F, Laura M and me. Easy/ straight drive with just a little zig zagging at the end! 8 am departure gives us "plenty" of Racetrac pit stop time. Will let you "all" decide if we grab a bite to eat in Helen on return trip.

      February 16, 2014

  • Kelly R.

    This one's too tough for me. I'll join you guys in the future on one that's not so strenuous!
    :)

    February 16, 2014

    • Gary C

      Kelly- Keep on hiking and I am sure we will see you on these tougher day hikes soon.

      1 · February 16, 2014

  • Gary C

    From Helen it is 7-8 miles, last 3 or so at 20-25 mph zig/ zag uphill. At the parking lot on right you will see a GREEN sign on right (MILE 0 ELEVATION 2949)/ then a brown sign (SWALLOW CREEK WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA).

    February 8, 2014

  • Gary C

    Jennifer- Thanks for the details on this hike. We will plan on a slow "one step at a time" pace. Looking forward to the views.

    February 7, 2014

  • Deborah

    Hi, This seems like a great, beautiful hike. I am just a little concerned whether you prefer "advanced" hikers only. I consider myself intermediate . Do you fore see any issues with this particular hike for less than advanced? let me know and I can change my rsvp but it does look awesome.

    February 7, 2014

    • Jennifer

      There is a good bit of elevation gain in both directions. Think more about that than speed. On the hike back out to Unicoi, it's rocky, so expect sections where your steps up will be large as you climb. In my experience, groups tend to naturally divide up into smaller groups by pace and then from time to time meet up and gather. I know if someone is falling behind, I'm happy to stay with them so they have support. The views with the leaves down will be pretty! Hiking poles will help on this one! ; )

      1 · February 7, 2014

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