Black Mountain rises to the southwest over Woody Gap and Georgia Highway 60. Black Mountain is highly accessible, as its summit served by a Forest Service Road to the top, and provides great views from the bald summit rock. (The fire lookout tower was locked and surrounded by a six-foot barbed wire fence during my visit.)
The peak makes for a great short day-hike for road trippers to Woody Gap or a delightful side-trip for AT backpackers. Below the summit, the higher reaches of the peak are cloaked in Eastern White Pine and it’s a pleasure to sit on the summit rock listening to the wind whisper through the pine needles.
USGS Quad: Suches
Trails Illustrated Map: #777 Springer & Cohutta Mountains
Rank: 38th highest peak in Georgia
Prominence: 800 feet
Rank & Prominence Source: Lists of John
Getting There & Route Information
Woody Gap is about 15 miles north of Dahlonega, Georgia, on GA Hwy 60. Ample vehicle parking is available on either side of the gap off of Hwy 60. Forest Service Road #81 carries the hiker to the summit of Black Mountain from Woody Gap.
To reach FS 81, continue by foot about 500 feet north on Hwy 60 (be cautious of fast-moving traffic!) and look for the gated entry to gravel FS 81, which is closed to vehicular traffic. The total round trip is approximately 2 miles with about 600 feet of net elevation gain.
There is relatively little red tape in this part of the Chattahoochee National Forest. Stay away from the fenced-off fire tower (which seems to be repurposed as a mounting structure for communications antennae and repeaters) and be mindful of Forest Service user warnings posted at Woody Gap, such as “problem bear” alerts and campfire bans.
Camping & Lodging
Dahlonega: A decent variety of lodging options can be found in nearby Dahlonega, GA, 15 miles south on GA Hwy 60 from Woody Gap. Visit this Trip Advisor page for details.
Suches: Suches, Georgia, is only six or seven miles north of Woody Gap on GA Hwy 60, but the lodging options are more limited.
Car Camping: Car camping can be found at nearby Dockery Lake (take FS 654/Dockery Lake Road, which is about 6 miles south of Woody Gap on GA Hwy 60.
AT Backpacking: The nearest AT shelters to Woody Gap are Gooch Mountain (roughly 4 miles southbound) and Woods Hole (roughly 7 miles northbound).
Weather & Seasons
Spring and Fall are considered by many the most pleasant time to visit the Southern Appalachians.
Spring: In the Spring, daytime temperatures and warm and evenings are cool while the flowering shrubs are in bloom and the waterfalls are running. Water sources such as springs are most reliable this time of year.
Fall: In the fall, the broadleaf deciduous trees put on a bright display of autumn color, though waterfalls may not be as impressive and springs and other water sources less reliable. The air is cooler and crisper and visibility should be prime for long-range views.
Summer: in this part of the country can be oppressively hot and humid and even the higher elevation and ample tree cover will not keep the hiker from feeling overheated, sticky and dirty. High humidity and haze plus deep leaf cover mean limited long-range vistas, though it is in summer that the term “temperate rainforest” will have the most meaning to and be most appreciated by the visitor.
Winter: in the South Appalachians can range from cool and damp to cold and severe with bouts of deep snow following major storms. In other words, while this range may be relatively low in elevation and southern in latitude, mountains are still mountains and can bring unpredictable and potentially dangerous weather.