Chimney and Tray Mountains 

 
Chimney and Tray Mountains are two exceptional and distinct peaks in this area.  Tray Mountain, at an elevation of 4,430 ft, is the seventh-highest peak in Georgia, offering stunning mountain views, and tons of hiking/biking trails and some of our beautiful local waterfalls.  Chimney Mountain, at an elevation of 3,357 ft also offers incredible views and beautiful waterfalls and hiking/biking trails, but is only accessible with 4WD.  Both offer access to an expansive area of the Chattahoochee National Forest!  

Tray Mountain can be accessed from the Alpine Village of Helen from either side of the mountain.  The first entrance is just under a mile from the north end of Helen (where the flea market and tubing outpost are located).  That entrance road (right side of Hwy 75) allows street vehicles, although low lying vehicles or luxury vehicles are not recommended. The road winds up to the top of Tray Mountain and continues along the ridgeline, exiting on Indian Grave Gap Rd, just south of Hiawassee.  High Shoals Falls and Bue Hole Falls are located closer to the Hiawassee side of the mountain, and both are beautiful waterfalls.  We love Blue Hole - perfect for picnics and cool dips in the waterfall pool during summer months.  

The second entrance to Tray Mountain is located off Chimney Mountain Rd, and is closed to street vehicles. It's a favorite for 4-wheeling or mountain bike enthusiasts, with visitors and locals alike flocking to take their street legal motorcycles, 4WDs for a ride on the wild side!  From Helen, just head north out of the village and take a right onto Hwy 356 (towards Unicoi State Park).  Go 4.5 miles to Chimney Mountain Road on the left, and follow approximately 3 miles.  You'll see signs indicating steep mountain roads (with the bridge over McClure Creek on the right).  You can park and enjoy McClure Creek at the bottom of the road, but the real adventure starts there!   Once you head up the mountain, you will pass by waterfalls, drive through waterfalls, and eventually reach the top where it intersects with Tray Mountain Rd.  It's an adrenaline rush, surrounded by national forest!
 

Excerpt from Sherpa Guides describing the Tray Mountain/Chimney Mountain area, located south of the Appalachian Trail
as it passes over the mountains and heads north.

The wilderness south of the AT is rough and steep terrain. It is not well known at all. Private land currently blocks easy access up the Soque River. The most interesting hike is to the top of Chimney, reached by the ridgeline from a gap and an access trail up Rich Cove.  To get to this trailhead, one either comes down 4.4 miles on FS 79 east out of Tray Gap or up a similar distance from GA 356.

A four-wheel-drive vehicle is advisable on FS 79. The views from Chimney Mountain (3,357 feet) are exceptional. The trail to the top passes through high-quality pitch pine and scarlet oak ridge forest and is very pleasant walking. The south and west faces of Chimney Mountain have extensive rock outcrops. The southern outcrop is surrounded by red cedar, which appears to be quite old. It is unusual for red cedar to appear on mountaintops. The summit is a flat outcrop covered in lichen-sedge. There are three rather hollow rock cairns about 4 feet high on the summit of Chimney Mountain. They are of unknown origin.


 
Close up of the most prominent rock outcrops on the pinnacle of Chimney Mountain 
 

A longer view, displaying outcrops and layers of the mountain ranges behind Chimney Mountain's Peak


From our cabins, its a short mile drive on Chimney Mountain Road where you can take a right onto Tray Mountain Road (also known as Old Chimney Mountain Rd) and enjoy the area with small park with McClure Creek right there, or you can continue up the road and enjoy beautiful waterfalls, and ultimately the fantastic views as you reach the top of the mountain road where it intersects with Tray Mountain Rd (no street vehicles allowed - you need 4WD or Mountain Bike).   Below are photos of the area, beginning with McClure Creek at the bottom of the mountain . . . and heading up the mountain road to the top!

 
McClure Creek Area at the bottom of Tray Mountain/Old Chimney Mountain Rd
McClure Creek on Tray Mountain Road

 
One of several waterfalls as you ascend up Tray Mountain/Old Chimney Mountain Rd
Waterfalls on Tray Mountain


OK, so this is probably everyone's favorite part of the road, about halfway up the mountain . . . 
Waterfalls over Tray Mountain Rd


And the grand prize is this view once you reach the top of the road!
View from the summit on Tray Mountain Rd
 


For those who love to off road, below is a video of some incredible mountain biking on Tray Mountain/Old Chimney Mountain Rd.  It doesn't get much better than this, especially if you love the sound of an engine with a hefty side of nature!
 


For those who are more into the tranquil side of nature, below is a map of the Tray Mountain Wilderness Area mapped out with the Appalachian Trail, along with excellent local hiking trails in the Tray/Chimney Mountain area.  There are miles and miles of beautiful trails waiting to be explored . . . 
 
           Tray Mountain Map  Tray Mountain Hiking Trail List


So where do you stay to enjoy all this natural beauty?  Chimney Mountain Cabins of course!  Our cabins are nestled against the Chattahoochee National Forest at the base of Chimney Mountain and are perfect for families or larger groups.  The four cabins will sleep 16-18 people, offering each group of 4-5 their own space while still offering a wonderful group setting! You will see our cabins in the middle bottom of the screen at the 4:30 minute mark on the video as the view pans out from the peak of chimney out to the surrounding area!

Check out the video below that shows the layout of our cabin community and the common area, which now has a raised stone fire pit and stone bench seating as the centerpiece.  It's a great place to relax and let the kids play on the playset, or a challenging game of outdoor Jenga, Horseshoes, Ping Pong, Corn Hole! There's also a grill for (in addition to gas grills at each of the cabins) for family meals, or just build a campfire in the community fire pit!  Don't forget the hot dogs and S'mores! 

Coming soon is a video of the walking trail that adjoins the cabins and leads to Snake Branch Creek, which is a small mountain creek (no fish) but very tranquil and an enjoyable short walk! 

 
 



For those of you who prefer a view from above, below is a video of The Cherokee which is one of our luxury cabins located in the rugged outback high atop Tray Mountain. The Cherokee sits on top of Tray Mountain and has the most incredible views in this area!

 
 

Should you have any questions about our cabins or Tray/Chimney Mountains, just give our office a call at 706.754.2533 or 888.906.4334 and we'll be happy to assist!