View Full Version : 1st overnight w/ my 11yo son - Testnatee Gap to Neels Gap -Any thoughts/suggestions?

03-04-2017, 14:25
Mid March

The plan is have Mom drop us off at Testnatee Gap and hike SB to Swain Gap and camp overnight there. Then a short hike to Neels gap the next day. Its only about 3 miles per day, so leave after lunch and then be complete by lunch the next day.

We have done plenty of tent camping but this will be his first backpack overnight. He just crossed over to Boy Scouts so is used the outdoors. And we summited Blood Mountain so he know what to expect from the trail.

Does anyone have a recent water report from Swain?
Is the Testnatee Gap trailhead on GA348 easy to find?
Ice cream and Mom will be waiting at Neels Gap, so using this as bait to keep him going.

03-05-2017, 09:28
I've been through there a couple times recently. It will be a good section for your son. The hardest climb will be leaving testnatee and climbing Cowrock, but on a nice day the views more than make up for it.

I forget exactly how far in Wolf Laurel Ridge is but that would make a really nice stopping place for camp.

I wasn't looking for water on the way through so hopefully someone else will chime in.

In mid-march it will be like swimming upstream against the flow of thrus coming at you I imagine.

Good luck and let us know how it went!

03-05-2017, 10:36
The trailhead is easy to find. If you come from the Helen side you will see Hogpen first, then Tesnatee is right around the corner.

Good hike, great views from Cowrock and another at Wolf Laurel Top, which also has campsites. I can't remember if there are any tentsites at Swaim or not, but I'm sure you could find something if you look long enough. Just remember to camp 200 ft away from water.

Water should be fine at Swaim, most, if not all, water sources in Georgia are flowing now.

If he has done Blood southbound before, you will have no problems with this trip. The climb up Cowrock is 1/3 of the climb up Blood.

And as said above, you will be in the thick of the NOBO bubble, but going against it. You will meet tons of people, although you shouldn't have too much of a worry about camping crowds since most will stop at Neel Gap or Bull Gap for the night and will move to Low Gap the next.

Have fun!