Do you know where your water comes from? If you have ever lived or worked in Atlanta, it was most likely sourced from the Chattahoochee River. This October join your fellow GAWP members on the 2nd Annual Chattahoochee Headwaters Pilgrimage and Wine Tasting! — remember, without water we wouldn’t have wine! While the leaves are changing, a hike will be led through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Northeast Georgia to the headwater spring of the Chattahoochee River. This adventure will begin at Jack’s Gap off highway 180 (1 hr 45 min from Atlanta) and wind 2.5 miles up and down (but mostly up!) Jack’s Gap Trail until it intersects the Appalachian Trail. From there, a wooden sign (marked with a blue “W” for water) points downhill towards a simple mountain spring—the origin of the mighty Hooch! We will take a respite at the headwaters for a bite to eat before backtracking to the parking lot. Once back, we will continue to one of the local wineries for an afternoon of relaxation and comradery.
The hike’s difficulty should be considered moderate to strenuous. The roundtrip hike is a total of five miles of rugged trail and the elevation change is significant; it’s not recommended for children below the age of eight. For anyone interested in the hike or wine tasting but not both, an alternate attraction for either of these events is Brasstown Bald just north of Jack’s Gap. Brasstown Bald is the highest elevation point in Georgia, with beautiful views, a shuttle to the peak, and a small visitor’s fee.
• Date: October 17th with a backup date of October 24 in case of inclement weather.
• Starting Point: Jack’s Gap (https://goo.gl/maps/r9cHBkHuTYfUzE9a6) about 1 hr 45 min drive from Atlanta.
• Parking: There is limited side road parking near Jack’s Gap where the Brasstown Bald Visitor Center sign is located. Carpooling is recommended.
• Guides: Your trip leaders have a passion for hiking and are proud GAWP members. Wiley “Fuego Borrego” Helm has hiked the full length of the Appalachian Trail. Michael Diaz has hiked the Grand Canyon and the “Path of the Gods.”
• Winery: Paradise Hills, Winery Resort & Spa (http://www.paradisehillsga.com/) is the closest venue and usually closes around 6 PM. Paradise Hills does have cabins available for those looking to stay overnight.
• Water and Food: Pack a lunch, snacks, and water for the hike.
• Gear: Wear comfortable hiking clothing, especially shoes. Weather can always change so be prepared.
• Trail Map: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/recording/jack-s-knob-trail-from-jack-s-gap-to-chattahoochee-river-headwaters
• Schedule: Times below are approximate as it depends on the pace of the group. More information will be sent later via email.
- 9:30 AM - Arrive to parking lot. Please plan your drive to the north GA mountains accordingly. We will have a quick safety discussion and walk a short distance to Jack’s Gap, our starting point.
- 10:00 AM - Departure for hike at Jack’s Gap.
- 10:00 AM – 2 PM - Hike. The 5-mile hike is expected to take 3 to 4 hours depending on pace of the group. (This includes a 30-minute break at the spring).
- 1 – 2:00 PM - Return to parking lot.
- 2 – 3:00 PM - Departure for winery
- 3 – 3:30 - Arrival at Winery
While we can’t ensure social distancing, we request all GAWP members wear a mask and hike 6ft apart. Social distancing at the winery may not be as easy, but please maintain a social distance when possible. If you are at risk or uncomfortable with small crowds, please consider your own risk profile before joining.