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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
- Distance: 8.1
Location: 34.801513, -83.742855
Start of trail at the Unicoi Turnpick. White rectangle (Appalachian Trail) blazes.
Location: 34.804018, -83.73227
Bear right at a three-way intersection.
Location: 34.798367, -83.730161
Optional campsite with great views.
Location: 34.796434, -83.721331
Location: 34.792926, -83.714293
Go straight across the Forest Service Road. Ignore Blue Rectangle Blazed trail to right.
Location: 34.793364, -83.703272
Go straight across gravel Forest Service Road.
Location: 34.793489, -83.698328
Really nice campsite in a gap. Ignore Blue blazed cross trail. Water access here.
Location: 34.799126, -83.690936
Trail skirts a gravel road/parking lot and heads up hill to the right. Follow white rectangle blazes.
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.
Location: 34.79999, -83.681145
Overlook. (shhhhh, it’s a secret)
Location: 34.80207, -83.738801
Views to the south.
Location: 34.802255, -83.73525
Location: 34.803268, -83.733791
Location: 34.804008, -83.732085
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.
Location: 34.801418, -83.684052
Summit view 2
Location: 34.80147, -83.684192
View from summit of Tray.
Location: 34.801382, -83.684042
Brasstown Bald (barely visible) in the distance. It’s the one with the tower.
Location: 34.800554, -83.6796
View from outcrop to the northeast of the top of tray.