Appalachian Trail: Unicoi Gap to Tray Gap is a 13.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Hiawassee, Georgia. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
stopped at Indian Grave Gap but was a wonderful hike
My first venture on the AT, Dicks Gap to Neel Gap 37 miles, 3 days.
Unicoi Gap to Tray Mountain, beautiful view, clear skies-- could see Downtown Atlanta and Stone Mountain. Nice camping spots along the way. There were 4 good view spots, two early on, one about 75% there that had a view of Tray Mountain, and then Tray itself.
My second trek on this section of the AT during the fall season once again left me often just standing in awe, taking in the beauty viewed from the ridgeline. The strenuous climb to and from Tray Mtn was made all worthwhile with a view beyond the summit before reaching the nearby shelter marked by the blue blazes.
This is a piece of the AT that serves as a reminder of why so many thru hikers quit before the North Carolina border. If you had several days of this type of hike behind and ahead of you, you might reconsider your level of commitment. That said, it's a great hike, if quite strenuous at times. We went beyond Tray Gap to the AT shelter atop Tray Mountain and stayed the night. It was overcast and rainy, but we spotted several places that probably feature some great views when the weather is clear. The shelter area had water and a privy, a few proper campsites and bear cables.
If you're headed to Tray Gap (and anywhere outdoors), please please pick up your trash, and maybe even pick up the trash that was there before you arrived. It looked a little messed up when we passed through this weekend. It's not just to keep nature beautiful...having a clean campsite also helps keep the bears away.
Protip on the shelter water source: No idea if the source is clean, so I would filter by default. It's a little spout that empties into a puddle just a few inches below. If you have a dirty water bag with the opening on the side rather than the top, bring it. It's a lot easier to slide your bladder into that space sideways.
VERY hard, but well worth the hike. The views from the summit are amazing! There is only one small creek running through the hike in the beginning, but mountainous views for sure make up for no waterfalls. There are many camping spots with indescribable views to wake to. It being part of the Appalachian Trail...it is amazing to hike a trail that so many have hiked on to end their journey in Maine.
My favorite autumn tradition is to do the first mile and a quarter or half of this section to reach Rocky Mountain and its pure vistas overlooking all things natural in every direction. It's a pretty good climb to reach this out cropping of rock which is very well named.
My first AT experience with a Meetup group. Saturday morning was cold as heck and windy - gusts of over 35mph. I was cold and miserable. I wasn't impressed with the views. Not a lot of interesting things to notice along the way - the scenery didn't change. No critters, no waterfalls, just uphill...
Trail was icy in some parts, rooty, but easily marked. My hip was killing me, so I went VERY slow.
Entire trail review on my blog with more pics and gpx files ...link below