Appalachian Trail: Neels Gap to Hogpen Gap

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Cohutta Wildlife Management Area

Appalachian Trail: Neels Gap to Hogpen Gap is a 16.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Dahlonega, Georgia that features beautiful wild flowers. The trail is rated as moderate and offers a number of activity options. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 16.1 miles Elevation Gain: 4,547 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash




nature trips





wild flowers

4 months ago

We hiked this trail in 17 mph wind and rain. Trail was still easy to follow. We had to camp off trail because winds direction. Temperature dropped during the night and froze all our gear so we left trail at hogspen gap. Our original plan was to get to Uncoi gap but we didn't have cold weather gear. Heads up leave car at Logan's trail heads the road or climb to hogspen is brutal in frozen/windy conditions

Some parts were very steep but the views were worth it!! Some things you can only see in winter.

6 months ago

Beautiful day on the trail, no leaves on the trees so every mountain was spectacularly in view. We are novice hikers so we hired a local man, Jeff Moon, who usually shuttles (Jeff's Appalachian Shuttles) as a trail guide Would have missed so many sights without him.

Nice view of cliffs, leaves were starting turning colors, few SoBo thru hikers were in hurry to end their long journey. The last mile through Wildcat Mountain was surprisingly tough.

8 months ago

Siuper day on the trail. Hogpen to Neels Gap. First mile great workout. Top of the moountain was great sceens of mts to the south. medium ups and downs. Only issue, trail was narrow due to "overgrowth".

Great trail! Lots of flowers and awesome views. It does have some difficult climbs - but nothing as severe as sassafras and blood mountains.

over grown
9 months ago

A very nice trail but it is getting narrow in spots and that is expected in August. I was hoping for more scenery but it is beautiful nonetheless.

11 months ago

Just beautiful in every since of the word. Love love love this trail. FYI the map above does put you at the Byron Reese trailhead. I was unaware but happily received once I arrived. IE: no worries trying to connect the two trails. Ran into black bear just past testanee gap headed to hog pen gap at top of the ridge. Make sure to stop in and buy something from the store on the way out. Fantastic people and the coolest store!!!

Wed May 01 2019

Hiked from Neel Gap to Dicks Creek Gap this past weekend. Trail was great. This section of our hike had some amazing views on Levelland, Cow Rock and Wildcat Mountain. Starting out from Neel Gap up Levelland was pretty tough as its an immediate climb out of Mountain Crossings. The worst was the climb up Wildcat Mtn out of Testnatee Gap which I have renamed “Test-Nasty Gap”. Water sources were good. We pushed on past Hogpen Gap and camped at White Oak Stamp about a mile past the road crossing.

Fri Apr 19 2019

Was a fun hike NOBO from Neel Gap. Last mile or so was the epitome of the AT’s PUDs moniker as it was very steep while running close to the highway which would have offered a more moderate incline.

Sat Oct 20 2018

Great trail. Going out was somewhat of a slight incline. The rough rocky switchbacks were a challenge. Especially coming back. Ugh! Plenty of camping spots. It rained on our way beck and boy does the trail get flooded. But it is all good.

Wed Jul 11 2018

Great trail, very rough climb on the way back. Saw a black bear around mile 4.4 so keep a look, apparently he likes to stay around those parts. Nice campsites all over the trail (obviously, it’s the AT!) Great intermediate backpacking trail.

Fri Oct 13 2017

Gnarly simple trail lots of hill and camp sites not much water

Sun Aug 06 2017

Good summertime views from Wolf Laurel, Cowrock, and Wildcat. Pump filter would be better than a Sawyer for this ridge line hike.

A very nice section of the Georgia trail. No views but you won't mind since you actually get some extended flat sections.

Mon Apr 24 2017

Hiked this SOBO with a friend from work. My GF was hiking Blood with her ladies hiking group, so she dropped us off at Hogpen Gap with plans to meet her at the Byron Reece parking area. The descent from Wildcat into Tesnatee Gap is quite steep and you would be well advised to bring some trekking poles. Coming out of Tesnatee you will hit a 600' ascent to the Cowrock Mountain overlook. It's not a hard section as there are numerous switchbacks to help ease the elevation gain. Be sure to rest a few minutes and take in the view when you get to the overlook There are also a couple more views to the south (left if SOBO) just after Cowrock. You will be walking on a fairly narrow ridgeline for part of the way which offers a great North and South view. Be sure to relax and have a Pizza at Mountain Crossings when you reach Neel's Gap. You'll also get a chance to walk the only part of the AT which passes through a building. Sign the log on the left as you pass through.

Fri Mar 10 2017

Nice area, parking across the street for day hikers or overflow of the Raven Cliffs. Heading up for a nice day hike to Cowrock is always welcoming.

Thu Sep 29 2016

This is my favorite trail so far. The initial walk on the highway threw me off a bit but after .7 miles I saw Neels Gap official start. Parking isn't allowed at Neels Gap unless you are a guest at the cabin. I didn't hike the entire 7.3 miles. I turned around after 5.8 miles when I got to Cow Rock which had an amazing view. The hike took about 6 hours with several stops. I didn't see any water spots along the way. Definitely worth the trip.

Sun Aug 09 2015

Excellent dayhike in summer or overnight in winter, unless you are a speedy hiker or can start early. My friend and I went from Neels Gap to Cowrock Mountain and back (about 10.5 miles) in about 7 hours, with plenty of stops for snacks and views. A few parts are steep, but mostly you ascend and descend peaks with gradual saddles between. Several clean, flat campsites. One small spring about 2 mi from Neels Gap was running at a low flow (possibly normal for high summer). We passed more than one hiker who did not carry enough water. I carried two liters of water and one of Gatorade. More would be better, less would be unwise. If you have poles, bring them. I will do this one again in fall and winter for views and leaf peeping, and in spring for wildflowers on the ridges.

Thu Jan 15 2015

A great hike with magnificent mountaintop views, particularly the gorgeous panorama from the summit of Cowrock Mountain. If you start early enough, you can make this a long day hike out and back, although allowing yourself 2 days to fully enjoy the stunning views and nature is ideal. I did the whole stretch in a day but I was in a race with the rapidly-setting sun for the last 2 miles, as I didn't bring camping gear (hindsight, it was a mistake). The hike is moderate-to-difficult; I wouldn't recommend this stretch for beginners, young children or the physically unfit, as there are several very steep grades both ways and the trail is easy to lose at a couple points.

Sat Sep 20 2014

Awesome day hike!!!!

Tue Aug 27 2013

I'll have to do this one again to add a review that is up to date, now that I've in my late fifties, compared to when I did it last around 2005. I remember it being moderate. I'd also like to add Cleveland as a nearby starting point, since it isn't too far from that north GA hamlet as well as Dahlonega.

Tue Aug 13 2013

Last leg of the 1/2 Georgia AT I did in November. It was easier than some other portions of AT. Lots of traffic with hikers and a big Boy Scout group. Rained the last 2 hours and missed a turn. Watch for white blazes painted on rocky areas

Thu Jul 18 2013

The best day hike in georgia! I've done this hike several times. I normally don't repeat hikes because I want to try new hikes but this is a must hike. You will need to drop a car off at hog pen and drive back to neels gap. It would be a cool over night trip if you stayed at the wildcat mountain shelter and hiked back the next day.

Fri Mar 08 2013

March 4-5th 2013 out and back. Lots of through hikers out. Day one sunny, great day 50 degrees for high and 30s low. Started to Rain around midnight and very foggy and wet for the hike back. Pretty scenery Moderate output and not too technically difficult.

Thu May 24 2012

I have done this trail with my family and it was fantastic!

Sun Dec 25 2011

Beautiful hike this time of year.

Thu Jul 14 2011

Great hike. Excellent views. The climb up Wildcat Mountain is only a few hundred feet but it's practically straight up. We stayed at Whitley Gap Shelter overnight and hiked back to Neels Gap.

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