It began on a cool, chill day in March of 2022, after months of planning, researching and coordinating, we finally took on the challenge of The Georgia Traverse. A 390 mile meticulously plotted route by true overland pioneers before us, GeorgiaOverland.com, this collection of scenic roads and off road trails, start on the boarder of South Carolina, passes through the Nantahala National Forest, across the Chattahoochee National Forest and around the Cohutta Wilderness. This journey took us through North Carolina, Tennessee and ends in Alabama. With a well packed rig, a great group of people (The Georgia Jeep Alliance) and a desire to disconnect from the world for just a moment, we go off grid and explore some of the most beautiful untouched land in the Southern USA.
Jeepers Meet-up – Prep for The Georgia Traverse
5:30a.m., I left on a 2hr journey…. destination, a small meetup spot called Cherry Hill Campground and Recreation on the South Carolina / Georgia boarder. There I met up with 4 great jeepers to head out on this adventure with me.
Yellowpoint Off Road – Jackson and Garret
Pepper – Micheal Goode
The Grinch – David Robinson
Sparké – Todd and Wendy Jarrett
After a quick meeting to review our route, make sure all gear is properly secure, disconnect swaybars, air down our tires and communications are synced, we all jump in our rigs and head off for the trailhead of the Georgia Traverse.
Day 1 – North Carolina
The first 2 hours of driving took us from South Carolina, into Georgia, into North Carolina touching through parts of the Nantahala National Forest. It was relatively smooth sailing on light aggregate forest roads while dodging some pretty big downed trees from a previous storm. The timing could not have been more perfectly planned as we hit Dillard, GA just in time for lunch at the famous Dillard House Restaurant. This should be a must stop for you to fill your belly with some of the best home town southern fried chicken (my mouth is watering just thinking about it now).
Before long, we were wiping our mouths and mounting up… we had a trail to gain some ground to make it to campsite #1 before dark. A couple of hours in, we reach Charlie’s Creek, a well known Rd for off-roaders with beautiful river crossings and scenic views. This road is worth the venture up to North Georgia by itself. We just encourage you to stay on the road…. please don’t venture off to some of the rougher trails. There is only one road through for Charlie’s Creek. All of the other “shoot off trails” are from off-roaders plowing their way off the road and unfortunately, this kind of action is what shuts down these adventure roads for everyone.
Day number one ends at a nice campsite right outside of Unicoi State Park in Helen, GA. As everyone is setting up camp, I took the opportunity to do a walk around of Yellowpoint Off Road’s Jeep and rooftop tent (check out Yellowpoint Off Road walk around here). After an evening of campfire, burgers and good conversations, I climb in the Road Rash jeep to get some sleep and get ready for day two.
Day 2 – Coopers Creek
Day number two, we wake up, make some coffee, pack up the rigs and continue heading West… Next stop, Coopers Creek. About 2 hours into our drive, we begin hitting some touchy weather, mist and rain the higher elevation we drive. We pull off at a dispersed campsite just outside of Blood Mountain and build a small “tent city” to make some lunch. With the rain coming down, many people just stayed in their rigs and made sandwiches while others huddled up under our makeshift canopy.
We traveled on for several hours, exploring off shoot trails in search for the perfect camp site large enough for our group. Finding a site hidden by trees and protected from the wind, preferably near moving water is a plus. As soon as we pulled in, we all found our ideal spots, leveled out the rigs and began to set up camp. Micheal jumped on the grill… he must have been hungry. We cracked open some cold ones and finished the night under a canopy playing Gin Rummy. After loosing every game, it was time to turn in to the Road Rash rig, open up my iPad and spent the rest of the night watching Ready Player One in surround sound.
Day 3 – Chattahoochee National Forest
After a chilly night, we woke up to a wet camp; made coffee, eggs and seasoned hash browns, packed up camp and got ready to move out. We had to back track just a bit to fuel up and then it was off to tackle day 3. As we enter the Chattahoochee National Forest, the scenery changed completely. The trails began to ride the top of mountain tops, providing many switchbacks and displaying scenic overviews that look over miles of valleys below. Halfway through, we pull over at a nice waterfall to make some sandwiches for lunch and stretch our legs a bit.
Proceeding through the Chattahoochee National Forest and some of the most beautiful countryside and horse pastures, we were on our way to meet-up with a good friend of mine and fellow YouTuber, Bradley (Jeepin Bubba on YouTube). Turning the corner into the entrance of the Cohutta Wilderness, Bradley was pulling into the intersection and lead the way into our next campsite called The Ball Field in the Southern part of the Cohutta. The Ball Field is an awesome HUGE dispersed camp site. Campers usually line all around the tree lines and camp all over the property. We pulled in, leveled out the rigs and fired up the grill for night 3 and let me tell you, it was big fat Filet Mignons all around. I had the opportunity to do a walk around of Bradley’s overlanding set up. He builds these custom overlanding trailers through his company, Black Bear Off Road. Check out his overlanding rig walk around here.
If you want to take a look at the Road Rash Jeep overlanding set up, I did a quick walk around of my simple rig. I have been sleeping in my Jeep during camping trips when I travel alone (without family). Check out the Road Rash Jeep here.
Day 4 – Cohutta Wilderness
Last day, we woke up in the Southern Cohutta. The Ball Field camp, as cool as it is, was FREEZING. The coldest night we had. Since it is so open to the surroundings, there was very little coverage to block the wind. We took our time packing up, made some coffee and tried to stay warm. Just before leaving, Jackson’s battery died from his accessories running all night so I brought out my trusty Hulkman Jumpstarter and it fired right up.
Riding through the Cohutta Wilderness was by far my favorite part of the trip. The views from the mountain tops were breathtaking. After several hours through the Cohutta, we said goodbye to Bradley and Yellowpoint Off Road who split off. It was the last leg of the Georgia Traverse and we can feel the end close. Now moving into the West side of Georgia, out of the mountain ranges and into a bit more rolling hills, the last stretch felt very desolate and less traveled. After 4 days traversing North Georgia Mountains, we arrived at the boarder of Alabama and Georgia, the end of the Georgia Traverse.
We headed to the nearest restaurant to air up the rigs, get cleaned up a bit and grab a burger, just before saying out goodbyes and splitting off into our own directions leading us home. This was a very easy, scenic and fun adventure. I would highly recommend the Georgia Traverse for anyone who is looking to get the most out of a seeing the North Georgia Mountains.
Many thanks to Bradley (Jeepin Bubba) for helping to point me to some perfect campsites, to The Georgia Jeep Alliance for taking on this adventure with me and to Georgia Overland for creating this beautiful trek across North Georgia and providing the .GPX files to follow. If you are interested in doing the Georgia Traverse and would like access to the .GPX files, click here…. Make sure you give Georgia Overland thanks and a little donation if you feel compelled to.
Below is the video production of our trip. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments or email me.