Tray Mountain (Georgia)

 
Tray Mountain Road
Tray Mountain Road
Tray Mountain Road

 
Quick Stats
 

Location: ,
 
Vehicles: , ,
 
Trail Head: 34.761041,-83.667305
 
Weather: Find more about Weather in Helen, GA Click for the 5-day weather forecast.
 
Fun Factor
8.0


User Rating
28 total ratings

 

What We Liked


This is a great trail to check out to see if you would like off-roading. It has a little of everything, including rocks, waterfalls, whoops, mud and a scenic view.


Bottom Line

New to off-roading? If you live in Georgia, you should definitely check out Tray Mountain as one of your first rides. Not only does the trail have a little bit of everything, it’s also located right next to Helen, GA – a great place to eat and drink after you day.

63
Posted April 22, 2013 by

 
Our Thoughts
 
 

Tray Mountain Road, or Tray (commonly misspelled as Trey) Mountain as most local calls it is a forest service road in northern Georgia that goes up and down Tray mountain. The trail is a great scenic ride for beginners and has a little bit of everything for your first time off-roader. Some of the highlights include a mini waterfall, a few rocky patches, and a couple of off camber spots.

Tray Mountain Road

At the peak of the trail, there is a nice little flat area for primitive camping. If you’re new to off-roading and want an easy drive to get your feet wet, this is a great place to start.

Tray Mountain camping area

Don’t forget to get some grub in Helen, GA when you’re done! It’s quite a nice little area to check out.

Click For MAp

Have you been on this trail before? Tell us what you drove and what your experience was like in the comments below!


Wei

 
Wei lives in Atlanta, GA, wheels a 2013 JKUR, and is a co-founder of Jeeps on Trails.


  • joedakota

    Drove this trail about 4 years ago, starts out as a dirt road with a dude ranch at the top, then turns into a boulder field for about 2 miles, Nothing major just bouncing along on top of boulders. Meet a wrecker and 2wd pickup on way in. Pickup dropped rear wheels off road while turning around. Wife didn’t look to happy. Nice little creek running over road some mud holes . Towards the end the road narrowed, to a tight squeeze if another car was coming. Chimney Mountain Rd. will take you back to 356.

    • John Wallace

      How long of a ride is it?

      • Dave G

        Approximately 2 hours.

  • This was my first mountian trip in my jeep. It was AWESOME!!! I cant wait to go back, even though i was white knuckled all the way LOL BEWARE VERY VERY ROCKY Like rocks the size of volkswagons!!!

    • Dave G

      Heh, it’s only rocky going up/down the Chimney Mountain side. If you go out on Corbin Creek Road or Indian Grave Gap or back down the Tray Mountain side of Tray Mountain Road it’s much much much easier.

    • willsanders30

      How do you get to this clearing? Like what road did you take?

  • Let the fun begin!

  • Jimi Sherman

    This past weekend was my first time on this trail…it was cool.
    Here is a pic of part of the rocky part, a lot of bouncing around! LOL
    I went over this in my STOCK jeep with no issues. 🙂

    • Paul Mooney

      I’m planning a trip to see my daughter in Atlanta, and of course I’m looking for trail maps for the area. I’m having trouble locating some. An area map that is marked///high lighted with the trails In North Georgia near Helen or Blue Ridge. Tray mountain, Bell mountain, Dick’s Creek, and Charlie’s Creek. Any suggestions of points of interest, hotels/camping, and place to stop and eat would be appreciated.
      Thanks

    • Jesse Schmittou

      i have a truck and some atvs could i still go on it with my atvs? i would love to still go on it if allowed

      • Michael

        I have some buddies going up there tomorrow. Ive been up there on ATVs due to my buddy having land close to the trail but im not sure its “allowed”. Been through the trail in a stock H3 with my friend behind in a stock 2wd colorado.

  • Guest

    First time on this trail for me too….went up Tray Mountain Road off of Unicoi Turnpike. Once we got to Tray Gap (fork in the road) we went right, down towards Chimney Mountain Road where it got a little more “technical”…..a few twist ditches, larges holes, and mud pits. I actually did not disconnect my sway bar because I didn’t think I’d need to and bent a sway bar linkage from articulation…Up until then then, it was pretty much a dirt road. On the Chimney Mountain Road side, we passed a few stock pickups and Jeeps so you’d probably be ok stock….downtown Helen is fun afterwards too!

  • Patrick Kelly

    First time on this trail for me too….went up Tray Mountain Road off of
    Unicoi Turnpike. Once we got to Tray Gap (fork in the road) we went
    right, down towards Chimney Mountain Road where it got a little more
    “technical”…..a few twist ditches, larges holes, and mud pits. I
    actually did not disconnect my sway bar because I didn’t think I’d need
    to and bent a sway bar linkage from articulation…Up until then then,
    it was pretty much a dirt road. On the Chimney Mountain Road side, we
    passed a few stock pickups and Jeeps so you’d probably be ok
    stock….downtown Helen is fun afterwards too!!

    • Guest

      A shot from the Chimney Mountain Road side…

    • Patrick Kelly

      Sorry about the reposts…..it was acting screwy with the photos..

  • Dustin Biddle

    Should have disconnected sway bars. Some three wheel action at the rough part east of Corbin Creek Rd fork, but bone stock R51 Pathfinder made it through. Previously rode Indian Grave Gap Rd to west Tray Mountain Rd in Forester with ease.

  • Dustin Smith

    I live pretty close to tray. we ride it once or twice a month its a fun ride. when you go through helen and turn off 75 on to tray mtn rd take it all the way to the top of the mtn and you have the option to fork to the right and go down chimney side, or go to the left and go down corbin creek torge hiwassee. chimney is a great ride a little bit of a rougher ride. corbin creek is a nice enjoyable ride.

  • Jeep30345

    Thoughts on Tray Mountain Road: Good for beginners if you go slow and choose your lines carefully. Went up and over in my stock JKU, though I did have the Rubi mud-terrains. Images won’t load on this discussion board so you can see more on imgur: http://imgur.com/a/GqNTD

    First of all, full disclosure: This is my first Jeep and my first significant foray back into the world of four-wheeling in 20 years. Things a have changed a lot.

    Enter from Unicoi Parkway, the road is unmarked, but is on the right and is about one mile north of the intersection of 356 and 17. The first “half” of the trail is your basic dirt road. Grandma’s car could (and sometimes does) make it up here. Count on about a 20 minute or more fairly uneventful ride up to the intersection of Corbin Creek Road and Tray Mountain Road. Enjoy the scenery and watch out for cars coming down and hikers on the AT crossing the road about 2/3 way up.

    Foot of Tray Mountain Summit: If you have the time, I recommend parking at the intersection of Corbin Creek Road and Tray Mountain Road (you’ll know it – it’s a huge dirt intersection with a mudpit in the middle). Incidentally, the AT also crosses again here. Take about 30-45 minutes to hike up to the summit of Tray Mountain. The views are worth it. Bring some water. Plan on about a 25 minute descent. The hike is moderately strenuous (for me at 44 – probably easier for you whippersnappers).Now it’s decision time: Did you come up here for a scenic drive down a dirt road or do you want to go down an actual 4X4 trail? No shame in avoiding the more serious stuff. It’s what I did the first time up here. If the former, go down Corbin Creek, back to the Unicoi Turnpike. It is very scenic, you won’t be disappointed. If you want a bit more of a challenge, continue along Tray Mountain Road.

    Disconnecting your sway bar before descending Tray Mtn. Road is probably a good idea, though I did not because it was getting dark, I had never disconnected it before (I got it about ½ way off and it felt like there was A LOT of pressure on it, perhaps I wasn’t level enough). I tightened it back up and hoped for the best. Anyway, I survived with no damage, though I did go very slowly of the rougher stuff. Other people have reported damage when not disconnecting. YMMV. While not very technical for the entire length, there are a few locations where it is important to choose your lines carefully. The road is very, very bony in many places and scattered through the road are many washes and rogue boulders that would like to shred a sidewall or dent an undercarriage if you aren’t careful. You will need to go very slow, or at least I did. I was in 4L for many of the more extremely rocky or rutted parts. This actually helped to minimize the jostling. Just work the brake where needed and let the Jeep idle of the rest. In many places, small creeks don’t just cross the road, the *become* the road, though they weren’t particularly muddy. I found no hidden boulders in the larger pools. Nothing deeper than mid-wheel at the most. If I wasn’t such a noob, I probably could have gone faster, but as it was, I was being unwise, breaking many of the cardinal rules of wheeling: I was alone, it was dark and I was on an unfamiliar trail. I took all the time I wanted (the only other vehicle I saw (another Jeep) passed me, but he was very familiar with the area.

    Eventually, it dumps out onto Chimney Mountain Road, which felt like the Autobahn after an hour of coming down mount bounce-a-lot. All in all a fun ride. Unless you want to night-wheel, don’t be like me and start the descent nearly at sundown. I would have like to have been able to see more on an unfamiliar trail.

    I have an album of pictures available on imgur: http://imgur.com/a/GqNTD

  • GoobyPLS_15

    Thank you to the guy (and his lady) in a white stock 90s 4Runner who Sherpa’d me through this rocky bounce fest.

    There is one spot in particular that has big rocks/boulders and zero room for error, he struggled for a minute but pushed through, I gave him ample room. I almost said screw it and turned around but after I readjusted my line I gunned through, dude was waiting to see if I was ok.

    That was classy, and very cool.

    As an intermediate off-roader I wouldn’t do this solo again – I have stock rims with larger tires, a WARN wench and LED lights, still felt totally unprepared.

    Next time I’m going w/a pal, group and a HiLo jack.

    My ’13 Sport Wrangler was creaking and popping the whole way.

    Fun yes, and unnerving.

  • thestruggleisrealsparky

    Bumping this thread….. is this trail still open?

    • Stu

      Yes. As of this past Spring the USFS doesn’t even have a gate on it to close.

  • Hunter Prince

    Has anyone been camping out here? Is there a designated camping area, or just where ever i can find a spot?

  • Casey Steele

    Nice ride and worth the drive.

  • Chris Barrett

    Clicking on map gives error: docs://0BzDTdvxO3NTwZmRXUXh0QUJESE0

  • Charlie Ball

    I have been here once. As others have said if you have never been off road before this should be your first place to try. It was an easy ride for me but it was a pleasant one as well.

  • Jonathan R.

    HI everyone, I recently bought a 2015 Sahara JK and I wanted to take it on a easy trail and I thought tray mtn might be perfect. The problem is I don’t know how to get there, Can anyone give me an address of directions?

    • Wei Yang

      Hey Jonathan – if you click on the Trail Head: GPS coordinates near the top of this page, it should bring up the location of the entrance on Google maps.

  • Todd Speir

    Last Saturday was great! I chose Tray Mountain Road as my first (of what I hope to be many) off-road trip, based on the comments in this thread. We went up Tray Mountain Road to Tray Gap, then down Corbin Creek Road. We were alone and I have stock JK, so I didn’t want to get to crazy on the technical descent on the Chimney Mountain Road side. The kids were bummed that we didn’t try the mud pit at the top, either! Now with a little experience and taking a look at YouTube, I plan on trying the Chimney Mountain Road side with a buddy this weekend. Thanks, all, for the comments offered in this section. It almost made it seem like I had been there before and knew exactly what I was in for.
    Re: camping, there was a campsite area on the way up on Tray Mountain Road, another area on the top where the AT crosses, then 2 more on the way down on Corbin Creek Road. One of those was on a creek and seemed like a great place to camp. It’s right next to a number marker and would be hard to miss (unless you were coming up Corbin Creek Rd.)

  • Todd Speir

    I headed back to Tray Mountain Road today and had a blast. This time, we opted to descend Tray Mountain Road on the Chimney Mountain Road side. The descriptions here did a good job of explaining the terrain. Stock JKU, sway bars connected, and I had no issues. The only catch is that we came to opening about halfway down. There was a white arrow on a tree pointing to the right. We followed that trail thinking it was the road. That turned out to be an enjoyable mistake. 15 minutes later we realized it was a dead end, but the trail back there was as demanding (and perhaps a little more so) as other parts of this side of Tray Mountain Road. This is a very enjoyable ride. Afterward, we headed to Dick’s Creek Road and finished up at Yonah Burger before heading back to Atlanta. Great day.

    • Steph Anie

      We took a right at the arrow too…but followed it to some other paths out….. it was a crazy ride out for sure–way to close to falling off the side of the mountain–especially since it was so wet from snow melt. Probably a little more than I should have been doing my first time out…but we survived!

    • Jason

      I am heading out there this morning and going to try the Chimney Mountain road side as well. Thanks for the heads up on the white arrow I think I might go left. Heading out there as a single rider so I hope there are no other issues.

  • Jason Benator

    I know im not a jeep owner, but just got myself a 4×4 truck and looking to start doing some of these things. Would love some information and possibly the ability to head out sometime with others. Message me. or email jasonbenator1@gmail.com

  • Justin Lisenbey

    I just drove this, just today, I went up the Unicoi Rd and Down the Chimney Mountain road (The Easier way). All I can say is WOW did the weather do some turning to the trail. Lots of branch offs to play in the mud (Be careful some holes are deeper than they appear. I was door deep in my 4inch lifted 2005 LJ with 33MTs) I had to go nascar style to get pulled out and climbed out the window. As I went down and out I ran into some very deep ruts that I am not sure a stock jeep would’ve been able to clear or flex over. I myself disconnected my sway bars and went to work. Ended up catching on the ground quite a few times. I think the trail has gotten a little more tricky then before and would just give a fore warning to anyone with a stock Anything to just be careful and maybe bring a winch or a friend. Anything can happen. Still love this trail to this day and love bring the new guys out to give it a run. Lastly! Click those seat belts and Hang-on! It gets bumpy. Fun, But verrryy bumpy. (Silver LJ is mine-4inch Lift, 33 inch MT, Dana 44 rear, Dana 35 front.) (Black 2014 JK, My dads, I prefer Tj/YJ era. 2.5 Inch Lift, 35 inch AT, Dana 44 rear, Dana 35 front.) We both rarely used 4wd until the far east side of the trail where rocks had been exposed and ruts were deep. Again great trail nice and close to ATL, I will come back a million and one times. If you ever want a buddy or guide, or just have any basic questions about Tray mountain. feel free to email me. (justinlisenbey@me.com)

    • Justin Lisenbey

      FORGOT THE PICS

    • Logan

      Headed up there for the first time this weekend in a stock Cherokee Trailhawk — Any parts of the trail I may need to dodge from your trip last week? I’ll have a lifted wrangler buddy with me, so more concerned with any spots with major clearance issues I could run into. appreciate it! pics look awesome.

    • Steph Anie

      You are so right…it was crazy up there in some parts…some was just bumpy road and fun…but there were some crazy ticky parts where I was worried about getting stuck/the underside of my Jeep and my sides…. was worried about going off the side of the mtn in one section! We survived and overall lots of fun….wish I had gotten pics of the crazy parts of the trail. Still snow up there on the trail

  • Durham

    The bitter cold and light snow just added to the fun…

  • Chris Barrett

    Can someone on the site fix the map link?

  • Kris Easters

    I’m looking to go off roading/ camping/ hiking and would like to know if this would be a good place? I’m gonna be heading up in mid February for an extended weekend. I know the Appalachian trail runs by there, would it be safe to leave the jeep there for a night and hike on the trail some? Thanks for the help!

    -Kris

    • Freddy Chrisdijanto

      Do you end up going this weekend ? How was it ? I’m gonna be off-roading and camping also this coming weekend.This is my first time and wondering how’s the trail condition. Any direction where to start and spot for camping ?

  • Jesse Schmittou

    i only have a truck and some atvs could i still go on it with my atvs? i would love to still go on if i can

  • Sean Geo

    Okay I don’t drive a jeep and I’m sorry for hoping on this page I drive a lifted f250 with 40s and I saw a friend a while back talking about a huge trail in Georgia that you have to camp out to finish it it’s so long and that’s 100% me and my buddies goals this summer is to find a crazy trail like that. Can anyone help me I live up in Forsyth County Ga. And I know there’s a bunch of trails north of us but I just wanna know what’s gonna be a real fun one. I don’t care the challenge I’ll get my beast through it and my keeps buddies and everyone wanna go as well.

  • PhilthyBoyP

    Could I do this in a 3500 duramax dully 4×4?

  • D.j. Gioncardi

    Could I do this in a 2×4 jeep patriot ?

  • Mitchell Brice

    We went for the first time last weekend, myself in a budget boosted wj with 29s and my friend in his xj with a 3″ lift and 31s. We made it through just fine though it got a little hairy in one spot for people we got to the camper area seen in the picture on the page. We came up the chimney mountain side. May have been easier going down but I enjoy a little challenge. The only things that disappointed me were the large amounts of trash I picked up from the camping area, and the bad looks we got from a few jku owners that passed us acting like we didnt belong out there. Overall it was a great trip and wonderful trail. Im excited to go back.

  • Mitchell Brice

    We went for the first time last weekend, myself in a budget boosted wj with 29s and my friend in his xj with a 3″ lift and 31s. We made it through just fine though it got a little hairy in one spot for people we got to the camper area seen in the picture on the page. We came up the chimney mountain side. May have been easier going down but I enjoy a little challenge. The only things that disappointed me were the large amounts of trash I picked up from the camping area, and the bad looks we got from a few jku owners that passed us acting like we didnt belong out there. Overall it was a great trip and wonderful trail. Im excited to go back.

  • mattysdaddy

    My buddies and I are planning to go in October… I hope my measly 30-year old Chevy doesn’t garner any dirty looks!

  • Brandon

    Went on a trail on Tra Mountain this past weekend and definitely want to do it again. I followed a buddy up to the head of the trail and have been scouring Google maps to find it so I can mark it for later. The most notable feature I remember was the mud bowl at the half way point where we played in the mud for a bit. Anyone have any suggestone to look for on maps?

  • Seth Logan

    How long is the ride from 75 to High Shoals Falls? And what is the terrain like?

  • sport_bike_chic

    Planning a trip in a few weeks up this way… would love to find some trails to take our TJ on, we will be trailering it of course, we are coming from Florida..

  • Chad Scott

    Could a stock 15′ GC Overland do this trail without worrying about any type of body or undercarriage damage? Any other N. Georgia trails recommended for this type of vehicle?

    • Ryno5150

      If you have the Overland, it should be simple. I have a 4Runner with 31″ ATs and a locking rear diff. I don’t even have to put it in 4WD at any time on this trail. I did see a guy up there one time last fall with a 13 or 14 GC 4×4, but a base model. He had to turn around because he didn’t have enough ground clearance.
      It’s a little more fun if you start at the Chimney Mountain side because you will be going uphill.

      • Stefan Murphy

        I have also have a 4runner with 31 ATs. I went up the Chimney side and after the clearing near the top there was a section I didn’t think I should attempt. Went back to the clearing and talked to a couple locals, they said the part I turned back on would have taken me to the other side and back down the mountain. You get through this without a lift?

        • Ryno5150

          My 4Runner suspension is stock. Plenty of ground clearance for anything on the trail. You would have no issues. I drove the trail again yesterday after hiking part of Tray Mtn trail. Once again, didn’t lock the front hubs and no problems getting through.
          What year is your 4Runner? Stock? They are great off road vehicles. I love mine.

          • Stefan Murphy

            Maybe I was being too gentle with my new toy. It’s a 2016 Trail, I just got it a few weeks ago. I got to here https://goo.gl/maps/PmEgggLinQA2 and didn’t think I’d be able to make it through. Very off camber stuff. I was coming from the south east.

            Edit, map doesn’t seem to be showing the pin. It was at 34°46’49.5″N 83°41’13.0″W

          • Ryno5150

            I think I know what area you are referring to. There are some pretty good sized ruts there. If you have a 2016 then no shame in backing out but you probably would have been fine.

      • Chad Scott

        Okay , thanks man. Do you know if Charlies Creek is similar in difficulty?

        • Ryno5150

          Never been there, want to check it out. From videos I saw on YouTube, looks like mud can get deep. Other than that, it looked pretty tame. There is a decent river crossing at one end. I also read the forest service spread a lot of gravel on the trails.

  • Ryno5150

    I would definitely recommend this trail for beginners. Start at the Chimney Mountain side. It’s more challenging because you are going uphill. I’ve only been on this trail in dry weather. Didn’t have to put it in 4WD thanks to having a locking rear differential. Make sure you have decent ground clearance. I saw a guy with a recent model year Grand Cherokee 4×4 (base model) have to turn around because of lack of clearance. Also saw some clown in an Audi All-Road crack his oil pan on the trail.
    If you want a real challenge after this, go to Beasley Knob.

  • MichelleK

    This past weekend was our first time on this trail and it was awesome! The trail we took off the service road was very a perfect beginner/intermediate trail. We will be back to explore so more, it’s so lovely up there in the fall with the leaves changing and the coolness in the air!

  • JT

    brand spankin new to Jeeps. have a 2011 wrangler sahara, no lift, all terrain tires. How does this trail work? Someone there to help you through first time? Pay to play? Want to start but want to start smartly! Thanks for any help and guidance.

  • Katie Goldner Knowles

    This was my first time off-roading. We bought a Jeep in the spring and had not taken it off road yet and were looking for a good spot. This drive was great good place for me to learn and my husband a more experienced off road driver really enjoyed it too. Met some great folks along the way. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/64d26eca213e28c1eb3c5ce33c5e9250eea267df75bdb9b8cf2e30268f278b09.jpg

  • Christopher Troup

    Anyone going to be up at Trey weekend of the 25th?