If you are looking to get away from the congestion of Atlanta, and get into the Wilderness, then we may have a few suggestions for you. These are the top wilderness camping spots that are off the grid. No picnic tables on this list. Get your backpack ready, cause you are going to have to hike into these gems.
Our first pick has to be camping along the Chattooga River Trail in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Located within a few miles East of Clayton, Georgia, and only 2 hours away from Atlanta. The Chattooga River Trail offers some spectacular camp sites along the Chattooga River. On a hot summer day in Georgia, this campsite is located approximately 4 miles from the Trail Head and on the border of Georgia and South Carolina. After a 4 mile jaunt, the campsite will be to your right along the river. It’s big, and worth the hike.
Easy access to the trail via the parking lot right on the border. Park, walk down the stairs, cross the bridge (hwy 76) and see the Chattooga River Trail.
Looking for another river campsite? Then backpack in the Cohutta Wilderness and make it an epic adventure with 18 river crossings. This campsite is big and sits along the Jacks River. Only 2 hours from Atlanta. There are two options to make this a great backpacking trip. Option A: No river crossings and hike down on the Penitentiary Branch Trail about 5 miles. Then the next day, hike back up. Option B. Do a Loop hike. Take the Hemp Top Trail to the Penitentiary Branch Trail, camp for the night. Then hike back to your car via the Jacks River Trail and 18 river crossings. Both Trail Heads start at Daly Gap.
To get there, access the Daly Gap entrance located on the Blue Ridge side of the Cohutta’s. Take Hwy 5 west of Blue Ridge, GA. take Hwy 5 for 6 miles to Old Hwy 2 (which crosses the entire Cohutta Wilderness) Turn Left. Old Hwy 2 will turn to gravel at some point. Continue all the way to where you come to an intersection. Turn Right on FR 22-2 and go up 3 miles to Daly Gap. There are 2 trails here. The Hemp Top Trail, and the Jacks River Trail. To do Option A; take the Hemp Top Trail to the Penitentiary Branch Trail and hike down along the Penitentiary creek to the camp site along Jacks River . To do Option B: Take the Hemp Top Trail to Penitentiary Branch Trail the first day, then take the Jacks River Trail back to your car the next day. (18 river crossings) Both intersect at the camp site.
Appalachian Trail between Neel Gap and Hogpen Gap has some amazing campsites. Only 2 hours from Atlanta. If you are looking to push yourself a little and do some climbs, the payoff is worth it. The first portion of the Trail after the Walasi- Center climbs 800 feet in a mile and a half to a beautiful vista of Hogpen Mountain from Levelland Mountain. After another mile and a half is a marked campsite. The ascent to Wolf Laurel Top marks the halfway point of this short section of the Trail where the most scenic views are off trail at another camp site. The entire section of this part of the AT is 6.8 miles long. Park one car at Neel Gap, and one car at Hogpen Gap. There are excellent camp sites along this section with natural springs to collect water from. It’s one of the hardest sections of the AT in Georgia, but well worth being off the grid and at the same time, having a beautiful mountain view.
To get there take Hwy 60 out of Dahlonega to the intersecting of Hwy 19. Take 19 all the way up to the Walasi-Center where the Appalachian Trail crosses Hwy 19. There parking down the road a bit in a overflow parking area for backpackers. Start your hike at the Walasi-Center and even supply there. (they are an outfitters for backpackers). You will be at Neel Gap. From there it’s all backpacking. Do the 6.8 miles to Hogpen Gap, OR go half way to some amazing campsites stay the night, and turn back around.
The criteria for our picks was the distance it took to get there from Atlanta. Within 2 hours of Atlanta, you can be totally off the grid in some of the best camping wilderness spots near Atlanta Georgia. Did we miss a spot? Have one of your own? Share with us, we would love to hear where it’s at.