WOLF LAUREL TOP (VIA BYRON HERBERT REECE TRAILHEAD)
LOCATION: North Georgia
HIKE STARTS: Byron Herbert Reece Trailhead
HIKE ENDS: Byron Herbert Reece Trailhead
TOTAL DISTANCE: 11.0 Miles
HIKE TYPE: In and Out, Backtrack
HIKE DIFFICULTY: Moderate to Difficult
TRAILS USED: Byron Herbert Reece,Appalachian Trail
TRAIL TRAFFIC: Moderate to Heavy
TRIP TYPE: Day or Overnight Hike
MORE INFORMATION: Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests 1755 Cleveland Highway Gainesville, GA 30501 770 297-3000
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.
This hike to Wolf Laurel Top is an in-and-out, backtrack hike that starts near Neels Gap at the Byron Herbert Reece Trailhead. Start by climbing 0.7 miles to the Appalachian Trail, then turn left and descend for a mile to Neels Gap and the Walasi-Yi store and hostel. (There is no overnight parking available at Neels Gap).
From here, pass through the building and begin a steep climb of 817 feet over Levelland Mountain. The ascent is followed by a steep descent then the Trail follows a more gentle grade as it approaches Wolf Laurel Top at 3766 feet. There are spectacular views to the east and south from here and its a great place to take a break or camp if you have packed water. If not, there are campsites and springs on both sides of Wolf Laurel Top at Rock Spring Top and Baggs Creek Gap which are within a mile of here.