Trail Reviews: 800 points
Questions Answered: 0 points
2017 Jeep Wrangler (2 door) (2"
lift, 33" tires)
I love nature, photography, hiking & paddling. Owning a Jeep just allows me to get off the beaten path more.
My Garage (1)
2017 Jeep Wrangler (2 door)
Lift Size: 2"
Tire Size: 33"
Wrangler Sport, 2" SkyJacker JK20-B Lift w/Black-Max Shocks, 33" Tires (Mammoth Black 16x8 Rims w/BF-Goodrich KO2 305/70R16)
My Trail Reviews (8)
(within last 6 months)
Yesterday was my first time driving this road. The area had gotten 2"-4" of recent rain topped with 3" of snow the previous night. I wasn't sure how high the river would be. I passed at least a dozen other 4x4 out there having fun on this road. I can now see why it is such a popular off road destination.
I drove it East to West in the mid afternoon after much of the snow had already melted.
Because of all of the recent rain and the apparent popularity of this trail, some spots have some serious tire ruts and mud holes right now. The river was probably 24"+ deep and came right or over my rock rails on my Jeep, but it was no issue crossing. Everything from the east river crossing entrance to the start of the mtn climb was mild to a few moderate spots. However once you got away from the creek and started 1/2 way up the mtn there were several massive crater wash outs and boulder scrambling that I'd rate as difficult for the average driver. It required precise tire placement.
All in all it was a blast!
Both Chestnut Cove Rd and the Connecting Helton Creek Rd are quite nice. I actually enjoyed Helton Creek rd more as it includes (2) nice river crossings and a waterfall view of Helton Creek Falls. With current winter views you can see the entire double falls from the road without even getting out of your truck.
The road conditions were good overall with some mud/puddles from the recent rains. I would say that 4x4 is not required on either these roads, except for this fact. On the larger of the two river crossings (eastern most crossing) on Helton Creek Rd we found a 2 wheel drive Honda stuck in the middle of the stream. Fortunately another 4x4 that had a front end winch was already pulling him out backwards when I got there. Once the Honda was removed from the river and turned around, I run through the crossing in 4wd like a hot knife through butter. So I would say make sure you have 4x4 for these crossings.
After 2 days of rain this road had plenty of mud pits to run through. I did use 4x4 in several sections. In fact there is no need to turn around on this road. You can drive it all the way through and come out on Doublehead Gap road. You just have to ride past a few sketchy backwoods hillbilly compounds on the northern end.
I had to get out and move some med. size branches from the windstorm. Has some more aggressive rock and road ruts the farther you get past the swinging bridge pull off. Overall was a fun road.
This road is shown as FS-95 (also Ravencliff FAA rd at the top) on both Google Maps and Garmin. Not sure if the Gumlog "Gap" rd is just an old local name, but nothing on any maps calls it as such. Same goes for the connecting Ivylog "gap" rd. That road is shown as FS-100 on maps.
That being said its a nice ride up to 3000' elevation in the backwoods just north of Blairsville. It was 36 degrees and snowing/sleeting sideways at the top on Saturday. 4x4 not really required but I used it a few times for better climbing traction here & there. I'd like to do this road again when it's sunny as you should have some nice long range views.
Took the Jeep down here on Saturday. Nice ride through the woods. Enjoyed seeing the trout stream and small lake. Even with all the recent rain the road was pretty dry and clear. Handful of nice roadside campsite along the way. Nice ride up to the intersection with the A.T.
Ran this road from the north down after coming off of Corbin Creek. If you take Tray mountain road past the Corbin Creek Rd intersection farther up the ridge the road is more knarled with exposed rock until you get to the Tray Mountain turn-around at the A.T. intersection. Taking Tray Mtn Rd south down the mountain there were several large and deep mud holes to run through. About 1/2 down the mountain there are a couple deep wash outs I was able to straddle. The road was a mix of decent and easy conditions with some surprisingly rough spots here & there. Nice long range winter views of the surrounding peaks with all the foliage down.
Nice initial creek crossing from the north end entrance. Overall good road condition with some hit and miss wash out areas. No issues for any truck. The 2.5 mile High Shoals Waterfall hike off this road is a nice section to stretch your legs.
Finally got to drive this road in my Jeep. Easy drive in any high clearance truck. Pack a lunch and stop and hang out to enjoy the views at Jumping off Rock. If you like to hike like I do, about 2.5 miles in from Hwy 178 is a parking area with a trailhead sign. Do the 3 mile round trip hike to the very beautiful Virginia Hawkins Waterfall. If your into photography bring your tripod, ND filter and enjoy.
Learn more here: http://www.ncwaterfalls.com/va_hawkins_sc1.htm