Chinquapin Mountain (9-9-14)
Located along Highway 106 as it heads south from Highlands to Georgia is a small, innocuous pull-off with a trailhead. I had passed this way dozens of times but never thought to look at my map as to where the trail might lead. Earlier in the day I had spend 4 glorious miles climbing nearby Rabun Bald but I felt like I needed to do more so I started searching for nearby trail on my Nat Geo map. Lo and behold the little trail I had passed so many times was a 4-mile loop around the summit of a peak I had never heard of, Chinquapin Mountain. A quick Google search told me that there were some nice views from numerous ledges surrounding the peak...decision made easy, off I went...
As it turned out the hike wasn't nearly as pleasant as my earlier one at Rabun Bald. Many sections of the trail were quite overgrown, the trail had been rerouted so my map was incorrect (never something I enjoy finding out after I set out), and the views while nice weren't nearly as numerous or expansive as I was let on to believe. Still, what I did find was solitude and a few wonderful small overlooks of nearby mountains such as Rabun Bald and Whiteside Mountain as well as the beautiful Blue Valley below. Will I do it again? Probably not, but I'm certainly glad I did it once...off I go...
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 35.039789, -83.241925
Route Type: Lollipop Difficulty: HARD (due to poor trail conditions)
Hike Length: ~4.0 miles Hike Duration: 1:30
Trailhead Temp: 70'F Trail Traffic: NONE!!
Min. Elevation: 3,800' Max. Elevation: 4,200'
Total Vertical Gain: 400' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 100'
Trails Used (blaze color): Chinquapin Mountain Trail (unblazed)