Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests
1755 Cleveland Highway
Gainesville, GA 30501
HIGHLIGHTS: The Chattahoochee National Forest is one of two National Forests in the State of Georgia, and it takes its name from the Chattahoochee River whose headwaters begin in the North Georgia mountains. The River and the area were given the name by the English settlers who heard it from the Indians that once lived here. The Chattahoochee National Forest was created when the Forest Service purchased 31,000 acres in Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin and Union Counties from the Gennett family in 1911 for $7.00 per acre. In the beginning, the Chattahoochee was part of the Nantahala and Cherokee National Forests in North Carolina and Tennessee, but eventually the Forest Service made additional land purchases and expanded the Chattahoochee to its current size of nearly 750,000 acres.
The walk to Whitley Gap Shelter is an in-and-out, backtrack hike that can be done as either a day or overnight hike. The hike starts at Hogpen Gap and follows the Appalachian Trail southbound up 200 feet over 0.2 miles. At the ridgeline, there is a sign for Whitley Gap Shelter which is 1.2 miles off the A.T. on a blue-blazed side trail. Turn left on to the trail and follow the spine of Wildcat Mountain which has some great views to the west toward Cow Rock Mountain and Wolf Laurel Top. The shelter sits in a hollow with a steep decent over the last 0.3 miles. It sleeps 6-8 and has a picnic table, privy, bear cables, and a spring in the area.