Appalachian Trail
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Appalachian Trail Access Points in Union County

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The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, (white blazed) also known as the AT, is over 2,100-miles long, mostly following the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains' backbone from Springer Mountain in North Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. North Georgia's Chattahoochee National Forest portion of the trail extends over 75-miles, traversing some of the most exceptional regions and mountain vistas in its entire 2,100-miles.

Along the southern regions of the Blue Ridge Mountain Range in Union County, the trail traverses three high mountain gaps. These gap locations are direct access points to the AT and are reached by paved roadways. Other access trails that intersect the Appalachian Trail are also listed below and are GPS'd at large recreation areas or notable points of interest. The entire Appalachian Trail should be regarded as moderate to strenuous in difficulty.

Byron Herbert Reece Memorial Trail to the Appalachian Trail

Located along US 19/129 just north of Neel's Gap and the Walasi-Yi Interpretive Center. A spacious parking area at the memorial site provides access to the trail. Blue blazes mark the memorial trail as it ascends to the top of Blood Mountain at Flat Rock Gap, about 2-miles in distance. The trail intersects the Appalachian Trail (white blazed) at the top of Blood Mountain.

Trail Rating: moderate to strenuous in difficulty

Hog Pen Gap and the Appalachian Trail

Hog Pen Gap is located along Richard Russell Road (GA 348) in the southeast region of Union County. A large boulder marker inscribed with the words Hog Pen Gap Appalachian Trail (white blazed) sets along the eastern side of the roadway next to the trail, plus there's an information kiosk with displayed maps. The trail can be accessed along either side of the roadway. This access point works well for either day hikes or backpackers. Backpackers should always register with the local Blue Ridge Forestry office in nearby Blairsville before setting out on any overnight or several day hike.

Trail Rating: strenuous in difficulty

Jack's Knob Trail to the Appalachian Trail

This trail will access both Brasstown Bald to the north, or intersects the Appalachian Trail to the south. Jack's Knob Trail is 4.5-mile trail stretches from Brasstown Bald parking area at the top of the mountain, and to the Appalachian Trail to the south. The trip up to the top from the lower entrance along GA 180 is only half the 4.5-mile distance of the trail's full length. The trail to the south is 2 to 2 1/2-miles to the AT.

Jack's Knob Trail was originally constructed in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and then reconstructed by the Chattahoochee Forest Service in the 1980's. The trail is rated moderate to strenuous as it follows southward along a ridgeline dividing the boundary between Union and Towns Counties. The trail continues along the ridge just west of and parallel to the ascending paved roadway to the summit of Brasstown Bald. The trail crosses GA 180 at Jack's Gap then continues on to the Chattahoochee Gap where it accesses the Appalachian Trail.

Trail Rating: moderate to strenuous in difficulty

Jarrard Gap Trail to the Appalachian Trail

This moderate in difficulty 1-mile hiking trail (blue blazed) begins at the Lake Winfield Scott Recreation Area and climbs gradually to the Appalachian Trail (white blazed) at Jarrard Gap.

Trail Rating: moderate in difficulty

Logan Turnpike Trail and the Appalachian Trail

Located to the north, just below Hog Pen Gap along Richard Russell Road (GA 348), is the old Logan Turnpike, an abandoned toll road that was operated prior to motorized vehicle days.

This steep mountain terrain turnpike passes through the Tesnatee Gap. The old historic turnpike began at the lower southern side of the Blue Ridge Mountain Range, and acted as a corridor into the upper southern reaches of Union County. Tesnatee Gap offers a sizable parking area for Logan Turnpike Trail (blue blazed). The trailhead leads to the south for approximately 2-miles and is considered moderate to difficult hiking down the mountain slope, and strenuous in difficulty climbing back up the trail. Considering the difficulty the steep trail is to hike, just imagine how difficult it was for horse drawn wagons, whether fully loaded or empty.

Also passing through the Tesnatee Gap is the Appalachian Trail (white blazed) making its way up to Hog Pen Gap. The trail from Tesnatee Gap to Hogpen Gap is a 1/2-mile plus hike.

Trail Rating: strenuous in difficulty

Neel's Gap and the Appalachian Trail

This access location to the Appalachian Trail (white blazed) is located along US 19/129 in south central Union County. A special feature is found here at Neel's Gap, the Walasi-Yi Interpretive Center. The Center's stone structure was constructed between the years 1934 to 1938 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The Center operates as a store offering books for outdoor enthusiasts, clothing, maps, camping equipment, and includes mountain crafts and gifts for their many visitors and hikers.

The Appalachian Trail literally passes through the breezeway of this historic center near its restrooms. This covered breezeway is the only covered structure the Appalachian Trail passes thru in its entire 2,100-mile length. The parking at the Center is available to 'visitors only' due to the lack of space along the steep gap. Day hikers and backpackers will need to park at the Byron Herbert Reece Memorial parking area just north of the center, and take the Byron Herbert Reece Trail (blue blazed) up to the Appalachian Trail on top of Blood Mountain. This access point works well for either day hikes or backpackers.

Trail Rating: moderate to strenuous in difficulty

Slaughter Creek Trail to the Appalachian Trail

A moderate in difficulty 2.7-mile (blue blazed) trailhead begins at the Lake Winfield Scott Recreation Area and climbs gradually to the Appalachian Trail (white blazed) south of Blood Mountain. A portion of this trail is within the Blood Mountain Wilderness.

Trail Rating: moderate in difficulty

Whitley Gap Trail just off the Appalachian Trail at Hog Pen Gap

The southern bound Appalachian Trail (white blazed) access at Hog Pen Gap, is located just across the roadway (Richard Russell Road). This southbound Appalachian Trail access connects to the Whitley Gap Trail a short distance from the roadway. This side trail off the AT, leads up to Wildcat Mountain about 1-mile, and an additional 1/2-mile leads you up to Adams Bald.

Trail Rating: moderate to strenuous in difficulty

Woody Gap and the Appalachian Trail

In the upper southwestern reaches of Union County, located along GA 60 just above the township community of Suches, is Woody Gap. The gap is an excellent location to head out onto the Appalachian Trail (white blazed) when visiting Union County. The AT can be accessed on either side of the roadway. At the gap there's an informative kiosk with displayed maps, several picnic tables and restrooms, plus plenty of parking. This access point works well for either day hikes or overnight backpackers.

Appalachian Trail Rating: moderate to strenuous in difficulty



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