Yonah Mountain Trail - near Helen, GA

June 27, 2006

This week's hike was on the new Yonah Mountain Trail that leads to the summit and rock cliffs of Yonah Mountain. This trail allows access to the rock cliffs and involves several sections to explore as well as access to the grassy knoll at the summit. (3,166 ft.)

HIKERS - Phil Brownrigg, Bob Magee, Bruce O'Connor, Bob Presley, Donna Presley, Tony Presley, Dan Ross, Bill Taylor, Bob Thompson, David Whitaker, Geri Whitaker and Carole Wintle.

TRAIL INFO. - This is a nice new trail that was developed to give access to the cliffs of Yonah Mountain. Private land owners had blocked access with gates and this beautiful natural resource was cut off from the general public for some time. The Southeastern Climbers Coalition, The Access Fund (rock climber supported activist organizations), and the Land for Public Trust arranged to purchase a tract of land which would give public access to the mountain. The land was then donated to the U.S Forest service with an agreement that a new gravel road would be built and a trail developed to allow public access to this beautiful mountain. The trail is moderately difficult due to elevation gain but it is a very nice walk through a lush hardwood forest with very nice views at the top of the cliffs.

With our walking several segments including to the top grassy field and several side trails to overlooks, we estimated our hike to be 5.5 to 6 miles.

Directions: To reach the new access take Hwy 75 north from Cleveland, GA towards Helen. Turn right on Tom Bell Rd at the West Family Restaurant. Then take an immediate left on Chambers Rd. looking for the second gravel road on your left. You will see the parking lot with kiosk and restrooms.

Another great day for a hike! Partly cloudy, temperatures ranging from the upper 60's to low 80's F.

FLOWERS IN BLOOM: Black Cohosh, Butterfly Weed, Fire Pink, Daisy Fleabane, Bull Thistle, Wild Mustard, Tall Bluet, Passion Vine, Indian Plaintain, Joe Pye Weed, Whorled Coreopsis, Black-eyed Susan, Potato Vine,Spiderwort,Bush Honeysuckle, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Phlox and Mountain Hydrangea.

BIRDS IDENTIFIED: Red Eyed Vireo, Oven Bird, Scarlet Tananger, Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Pileated Woodpecker, Hooded Warbler, Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, Towhee, PeeWee, Rose Breasted Grosbeak, Summer Tananger, Great Creasted Flycatcher, Black Throated Blue Warbler, Red Shouldered Hawk, Crow


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The new parking lot - complete with kiosk and restrooms!
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View of Yonah Mountain from the parking lot.
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As we climb the mountain, we start to get an occasional view.
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We were not sure what all of these meant but we tried most of them.
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One of the early over-looks.
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Exploring the base of the cliffs.
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From the top of the upper cliffs.
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These massive rock cliffs on Yonah remind us of Pickens Nose in NC.
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Some folks just stand too close to the edge.
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Back at the parking lot we zoom in to see the cliffs that we explored.
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Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
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The OFHC gang for today's hike. (seated l-r) Tony Presley, Bruce O'Connor, Geri Whitaker, "Nugget" and David Whitaker. (standing l-r) Bob Presley, Bob Magee, Donna Presley, Phil Brownrigg, Dan Ross, Carole Wintle, Bob Thompson and Bill Taylor.


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