High Shoals Trail & Appalachian Trail- Tray Mt. - GA

May 31, 2011

Today's hike was on two trails in Towns Co. GA. First, we hiked the High Shoals Trail which is a 2.4 miles round trip hike featuring two beautiful waterfalls (Blue Hole Falls and High Shoals Creek Falls). Next, we hiked the Appalachian Trail from Indian Grave Gap to the summit of Tray Mt. (the second highest peak on the GA portion of the A.T. at 4,430 ft.)

HIKERS: John Bellamy, June Bellamy, Karen Brown, Phil Brownrigg, Greta Driggers, Jim Driggers, Pam Euliss, Kris Lewicki, Vic Robson, Dan Ross, David Whitaker and Geri Whitaker .

TRAIL INFO. - The High Shoals Trail is an absolutely beautiful 1.2 mile trail featuring two very nice waterfalls. First Blue Hole Falls, then High Shoals Creek Falls. Both falls have nice observation decks. Next, the Appalachian Trail section starting at Indian Grave Gap - The trail climbs steadily through a beautiful hardwood forest featuring oak, hikory, beech, magnolia, rhododendron, azalea and mountain laurel among others. The trail is maintained very well and the climb up Tray Mountain rewards the hiker with beautiful mountain views.

Today's hiking distance - 7.4 miles - High Shoals 2.4 mi. and A.T. 5 mi. Both trails are moderately strenuous due to elevation change.

Directions: Take GA 75 north from Helen for 11.4 miles (this takes you past Unicoi Gap). Turn right onto Indian Grave Gap Road (High Shoals Area sign), graveled Forest Service Road 283. Follow this road 1.1 miles to a small parking lot on the left with sign for High Shoals Trail. For Indian Grave Gap, drive an additional 2.4 miles up Indian Grave Gap Road to a small parking lot on the right. You will see a sign here for Andrews Cove Campground.

Another great day for a hike! Sunny with warm temperatures ranging from 74 to 78 degrees F.

WILDFLOWERS IN BLOOM: Tall Bluet, Cow Wheat, Mountain Laurel Rattlesnake Weed, Foam Flower, Partridgeberry, Indian Cucumber Galax, Yellow Star Grass, Goat's Beard, Fire Pink, Indian Physic, Whorled Loosestrife, Oxeye Daisy, Columbine, Yellow Wood Sorrel Squaw Root, Spiderwort, Blackberry, Deerberry, Flame Azalea, Catawba Rhododendrun, Hooked Buttercup, False Solomon's Seal Solomon's Seal, Alternate-leafed Dogwood, Fox Grapes and Four-leafed Milkweed.

BIRDS IDENTIFIED: Crow, Turkey Vulture, Ruby Throated Hummingbird, Red Eyed Vireo, Pileated Woodpecker, Hooded Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Junco, PeeWee, Rose Breasted Grosbeak, Black & White Warbler, Towhee, Ovenbird and Blue Bird.

OTHER FAUNA: Grey Squirrel, Cottontail rabbit, Chipmunk, Toad and Timber Rattlesnake.

Scroll down for photos from today!

Getting ready to hike at the High Shoals Parking lot.
Our group enjoying the observation deck at Blue Hole Falls.
Beautiful Blue Hole Falls!
Flame Azalea!
Now we are on the Appalachian Trail headed for Tray Mt.
Yikes! A large Timber Rattler beside the trail.
He rattled loudly when Dan picked him up with is hiking
stick and moved him safely away from the trail.
Getting ready to tackle the climb up to the summit of Tray Mt.
Beautiful Catawba Rhododendron!
Beautiful but hazy view from Tray Mt.
Cooling off in the shade at lunchtime.
Lunchtime on Tray Mountain!
Mountain Laurel!
The old trail sign at Tray Gap.
The OFHC gang for today's hike. (l-r) Jim Driggers, Vic Robson, Greta Driggers, Dan Ross, Pam Euliss, June Bellamy, John Bellamy, Geri Whitaker, Phil Brownrigg, David Whitaker, Karen Brown and Kris Lewicki .

See More Photos - click below!

High Shoals Trail and Appalachian Trail to Tray Mt. 5-31-11

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