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.