View Full Version : Campsites btwn Woody & Tesnatee Gaps, GA

05-21-2006, 13:27
I'm planning a hike next weekend SB from Hogpen Gap to Hightower Gap. Since it's Memorial Day, planning to not use shelters to avoid the crowds. We're thinking about using the Leveland Mountain area and Big Cedar mountaing areas. Anyone have thoughts on these? Our group will be three solo tents. What about water nearby?

Dances with Mice
05-21-2006, 15:26
What time are you leaving from Hogpen?

05-21-2006, 15:45
Probably late morning on Saturday. I'm somewhat local, but one is from Macon, and the other Knoxville, so it will take us a while to get off the pavement.

Dances with Mice
05-21-2006, 16:42
OK, maybe somebody else can help me out on the Leveland area, it's always been kind of 'fly-over' territory for me. I've never camped there but have walked past it a number of times. I remember there being springs and camping areas on either side of Leveland, but the top of Leveland was kinda unfriendly. Before Leveland, going your direction, is Rock Spring Top with a small spring that can be kinda iffy in dry weather. On the other side of Levalland is Bull Gap, with a big camping area and a spring that I confess I've never checked out because I've never needed water at that point. I think that would be your best shot if you don't want to get any closer to Neels, which is then only about a mile away.

The next day you'll pass Neels, get the full Blood Mtn experience from the fun direction (N-S), pass the Slaughter Gap camping area too early to stop, and pass by the Woods Hole Shelter sidetrail. The next landmark will be Jarrard Gap, a gravel road crossing the trail. About 2 miles past that is a stream, the only one so far big enough to have to step across. When you get to the stream you have just passed a great campsite about 50 yards or less behind you (north). It'll be Trail East about 30 yards off the trail, easy to see, in a rise above a bend in the stream. That point will be about 10 miles from Bull Gap. Stop there and evaluate the situation. Either stop there for the night or water up and stop anywhere for the night between there and Woody.

Can you make it as far as Woody? Here's my super-sekrit camping area at Woody, promise you won't tell anybody: Walk between the 2 tables on the N. side of the road. There's a trail that goes straight up the embankment. It'll come to a little campsite just above the picnic tables. Forget that. Continue on the trail and stay to the right since all left hand trails lead back to the AT. You'll come to a huge, open, secluded camping area in the old rock quarry that was blasted years ago to build the road. If you turn right too soon you'll be directly over GA-60, go back and look to your right for the trail. From the quarry you can still hear motorcycles whining through the Gap but all other traffic noise and lights are buffered. It's really a nice area, there's a public privy at the Gap, and the Woody Gap spring is beautiful.

From there it's about 12 miles to Hightower. Camel up at Justus Creek, there will be no water for the next 6 miles.

05-21-2006, 17:03
I heard you say that you want to stay away from shelters due to the memorial day holiday. If you want more solitude you can run over to Cohutta Wilderness for a few days instead of the crowded AT at that time. If you don't mind the crowd and have the time there are plenty of Camping areas during that route though you have to plan water. You can always take a side Trip from Jarrard Gap and go enjoy Lake Winfield Scott.

05-21-2006, 17:38
I camped in Bull Gap on my section hike of Ga. in March. It's quite a way to the water source (trail is to left when northbound). There are two large campsites with fire rings and a huge tree which I used to bearbag my food.

05-21-2006, 19:38
What Dances said.

But you may want to make your first day a bit more challenging in order to make your last day less so. If you get on the trail before noon the first day, travel 2 miles per hour, and don't dally at Wa-La-Sa-Yi, you can make Slaughter Creek campsites by 5-6 pm. Doesn't get too dark to see before @ 8:30 PM these days.

Do a little over 10 miles on day 2 and camp at Gooch Gap which has a large, cushy expanse of grass with water nearby. Only drawback is the forest service road that bisects it(sort of).

Day 3 is still a challenge with the Justus and Sassafras Mtn. tag-team(easier from South to North, IMO), but now it's an 8.3 mile day instead of 12+.

Enjoy the hike whatever you decide.:)

05-22-2006, 08:33
Dances, your secret's safe with me.

Tinker, how far is "quite a way"? I think you guys have sold me on Bull Gap for the first night. We'll probably do the tank up south of Jarrard Gap and see what we can find on Big Cedar the second night.

Sir-P-alot, if you see me in the Cohutta's it will be with a flyrod in my hand. I go there all the time for the trout. Great for summertime hiking in sandals with all the river crossings!

Thanks everyone for your help!

05-22-2006, 09:16
There is an unreliable and usually muddy spring (on the right side of the trail for southbound hikers) with campsites near the top of Big Cedar, but MY faviorite hidden campsite is on a 100 yard blue blaze trail just past these sites. The blue blaze trail will be on the left for southbounders and angles back at about 8 o'clock. The campsites are at a big rock face with views similar to the ones at Preaching Rock. Its about a mile and a half from this spot to Woody Gap.

If you are planning on staying on top of Big Cedar, remember to bring water. As I said, the spring is very unreliable.