|Trail Length: 4.5 miles||Type of trail: In and out|
|County: Union County, GA, Towns County, GA||Our rating: D|
|Features: scenic, ATaccess||Your rating:|
|Usage: Light||Added on: January 01, 1997|
|Last hiked: October 09, 2015||Updated on: October 19, 2015|
|About these ratings|
Hiking trails in Union County, GA
Hiking trails in Towns County, GA
The trail begins on the south end of the Brasstown Bald parking area at a break in the fence between the two areas of picnic tables and climbs the unnamed knob visible from the parking area. Jacks Knob Trail then begins a steep descent over the next 1.7 miles, closely (but not exactly) following the Union/Towns county line south to Jacks Gap. Across Georgia 180 the trail leaves Wolfpen Ridge and follows Hiawassee Ridge as it reenters the Chattahoochee National Forest. Jacks Knob is on your right just before entering Chattahoochee Gap.
Jacks Knob Trail Narrative
Following Wolfpen Ridge, the footpath begins with an easy-to-moderate climb (easy at the bottom, moderate closer to the top of the unnamed knob). The rocky soil is occasionally root-filled, and watch for rock-outcrops near the trail. Notice the rhododendron at the beginning of the hike and compare it to the rhododendron at the top, shorter and less full, similar in many ways to the changes in flora that occur on the trail to the top of Brasstown Bald. At 0.5 miles there is a scenic view on the left.
At the top of the knob the trail is briefly up and down, but this is short-lived. From this point to Jacks Gap the trail descends steeply for 1.7 miles to Jacks Gap. Typical of high ridge trails there are limited water sources and nearby forest is mostly pine. Since we first hiked this trail in the 1980's, switch-backs have been added to make the hike easier, but we still consider the trail to be difficult on the way down and strenuous if hiked from Jacks Gap. There are scenic views throughout the hike and it is possible to run into snakes.
After 2.0 miles notice the increase in the number of hardwood trees. As the drop in the trail begins to moderate, the trailhead board for the Jacks Gap parking area is directly ahead. From this, cross the road and follow the 'V' in the road to the left, cross Georgia 180 to find the second entrance. Care should be taken when crossing both roads here as drivers tend to be distracted looking for the turns and parking places.
Almost immediately after crossing Georgia 180 (the second road if you are walking this trail from Brasstown Bald) there is a distinctive difference in the path. The steady descent off Wolfpen Ridge now becomes a repetitive up and down pattern and the trail takes on an entirely different personality. The changes in both flora and fauna are significant as the hike is in a hardwood forest. From Jacks Gap the trail climbs towards Henry Knob, but skirts this feature, moving towards a gap, making a difficult climb up Brookshire Top, the start of the Hiawassee Ridge. A brief dip in the ridge, then the uphill climb continues, passing over Eagle Knob then climbing about halfway to the top of Jacks Knob.
From Jacks Knob it is a short, relatively easy hike to the Appalachian Trail, which this trail meets at Chattahoochee Gap.
The trail, after it crosses Highway 180 is an excellent hike in part because of an abundance of wild game. In the air, raven, hawks and crow are common. Other large airborne predators also make appearances from time to time. On the ground small mammals such as squirrel and mice make an adequate food source for larger animals such as fox and, reportedly, bobcat. During our latest trip we saw evidence of both deer and bear.
Chattahoochee Gap is about 200 feet above the spring that is the source for the mighty Chattahoochee River. It is possible to walk down the mountain and see the spring. Look for the "drinking water" sign for AT hikers and follow the path down Coon Den Ridge. From Chattahoochee Gap it is less than a mile to Red Clay Gap and 2.3 miles to Enota Resort. To get to the resort follow the Appalachian Trail to Red Clay Gap, then hike the unmaintained trail (occasionally called the Joel Creek Trail) 1.3 miles to Enota.
When hiking the Jacks Knob Trail, GeorgiaTrails enjoyed a stay at Enota. We recommend this resort for any hikers, campers or visitors to Brasstown Bald