3.5 miles
807 feet

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wild flowers


Monday, March 07, 2016

This area is really out of the way but has a nice "official" camping area and some "unofficial" sites around it that are even better. The rail system is actually 5 trails totaling just over 8 miles. This site is only talking about the yellow mountain trail, which truthfully, is the only trail really worth the effort.

Yellow Mountain: Nice out and back or as part of a loop. 3.2 miles one way crossing a really nice large stream about 2.7 miles in. There is a great camping spot there. It is a nice climb up to the top of, I suppose, yellow mountain, then down across the stream and out to a FS road. Turn around and go same way for an out and back of 6.4 miles. I did this in the early spring/late winter with the leaves down and it was nice. I think with the leaves up, though, there will be no views and it will be pretty unremarkable.

Take the first right on the way back for the ,6 mi Shope Gap, which takes you to Mill Shoals, which you can take for 2.4 miles back to within about 100 yards of where you went in on yellow mountain trail. Instead of 6.4 out and back you have about a 7.5mi loop. Hope Gap is boring, and the first mile of Mill Shoals is along a FS road, so boring. Pay attention on the left for a pretty well hidden trail sign to get off the road. It is easy to miss. The rest of Mill Shoals is interesting for the first half mile into the woods with some really nice stream crossings, but forgettable beyond that, especially considering the road hike.

Take the second right back onto Cooper Creek trail for .4 and catch Mill Shoals in for about a 6 mile loop. The only advantage is you don't have to see the same scenery twice, and you get a few more steps in.

ThereIs another Cooper Creek, which is a loop off of the parking area by the main river. It is 1.6 miles and is an OK walk in the woods if you are staying there. Don't make the trip for it.

All in all, if you want an out of the way camping area with some nice day hikes, this wouldn't be a bad place. Beyond Yellow Mountain, though, you aren't getting much, especially considering the top notch trails nearby with the AT, AT connectors, and Brasstown Bald area. But, a day in the woods is always a nice day and my lab loved it for sure.