Atlanta, GA: Tray Mountain

This 10-miler to a 4,430-foot summit is great for dayhikes, especially in the non-green season (after the leaves fall). There are several campsites along the way if you want to overnight.
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This 10-miler to a 4,430-foot summit is great for dayhikes, especially in the non-green season (after the leaves fall). There are several campsites along the way if you want to overnight.

Unicoi Gap to Tray Mtn and back is one of the perennial favorites of many of the outings clubs in N Ga. At the trail head you'll see my photo of members of the Atlanta Outdoor Club taking photos of a Boy Scout Crew training for their upcoming trip to Philmont this summer. Good luck guys! The AT is "training ground" for Boy Scout troops and folks preparing for high adventures in other parts of the world with alpine conditions.
At 10 miles round-trip with 3,000 feet of climbing, this makes for a nice, challenging day hike. On a clear day from October to May, you'll spy the stony half dome of 3,166-foot Yonah Mountain to the south and the 4,784-foot state high point (Brasstown Bald) 9 miles northwest.

During February, March, and April, you'll find an assortment of would be Appalachian Trail thru-hikers. Only a small percentage actually complete the total trip; the north Georgia mountains "knock out" many a would-be participant because of the rugged conditions.

If you don't have time to hike all of Georgia's AT, put this section on the top of your list as one of the sections to visit.

-Mapped by Scott Sanders

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 8.1

Waypoints

TRA001

Location: 34.801513, -83.742855

Start of trail at the Unicoi Turnpick. White rectangle (Appalachian Trail) blazes.

TRA002

Location: 34.804018, -83.73227

Bear right at a three-way intersection.

TRA003

Location: 34.798367, -83.730161

Optional campsite with great views.

TRA004

Location: 34.796434, -83.721331

Campground.

TRA005

Location: 34.792926, -83.714293

Go straight across the Forest Service Road. Ignore Blue Rectangle Blazed trail to right.

TRA006

Location: 34.793364, -83.703272

Go straight across gravel Forest Service Road.

TRA007

Location: 34.793489, -83.698328

Really nice campsite in a gap. Ignore Blue blazed cross trail. Water access here.

TRA008

Location: 34.799126, -83.690936

Trail skirts a gravel road/parking lot and heads up hill to the right. Follow white rectangle blazes.

TRA009

Location: 34.801388, -83.683933

Top of Tray Mountain. Look closely and you'll find the survey marker. A small campsite is about 1/4 mile ahead on the AT.

TRA010

Location: 34.79999, -83.681145

Overlook. (shhhhh, it's a secret)

Campsite.

Location: 34.80207, -83.738801

Views to the south.

Location: 34.802255, -83.73525

Trail conditions

Location: 34.803268, -83.733791

Campsite

Location: 34.804008, -83.732085

Tray Mountain

Location: 34.797594, -83.692303

Tray Mountain from the ridge

Location: 34.797946, -83.692131

Parking lot at Tray Mountain Road and AT.

Location: 34.798951, -83.691273

White blazes mark the AT

Location: 34.799057, -83.690146

The Big Green Tunnel

Location: 34.799656, -83.688494

The AT is sometimes called "The Big Green Tunnel for all of the lush vegetation that "tunnels" the trail in the green summer months.

Summit view

Location: 34.801418, -83.684052

Summit view 2

Location: 34.80147, -83.684192

View from summit of Tray.

Brasstown Bald

Location: 34.801382, -83.684042

Brasstown Bald (barely visible) in the distance. It's the one with the tower.

Farther view

Location: 34.800554, -83.6796

View from outcrop to the northeast of the top of tray.