Thanks for stopping by to check out this post in the best campsites in Georgia series! The series is focused on camping in North Georgia and each post highlights a unique campsite or campground that we have visited.
Image waking up in the morning and opening the camper door or rooftop tent window to sweeping views of Hickory Knob and Smith Mountain off to the east at 3,330 feet! That is what makes this remote campsite special!
Tray Mountain is 4,430 feet at it’s summit which makes it the 7th highest peak in Georgia. It is located in both White and Towns counties, within the Tray Mountain Wilderness area within the Chattahoochee-
Oconee National Forest.
The Tray Mountain campsite (it doesn’t have an “official” name) is located on Forest Road 79 – Tray Mountain which is just outside the mountain town of Helen, GA.
There are two entrances to Tray Mountain Rd – the open entrance is located off of the Unicoi Turnpike (Hwy 75 / 17) approximately 2.1 miles from Helen.
The road runs to the campsite which is 5.8 miles and up to Tray Gap which is 8.3 miles from the start. The remaining section of the road is gated at Tray Gap, so you can either return via Tray Mountain Rd or take a left onto Forest Service Road 283 – Indian Grave Gap.
The closed entrance ( and closed portion of Tray Mountain Rd) is off of Chimney Mountain Rd.
Take Highway 75A from outside of Cleveland, GA to the intersection at the Unicoi Turnpike (Hwy 75) in the small town of Scorpion Hollow. Take a left onto the Unicoi Turnpike, and the entrance to Tray Moutain Road is 0.7 miles on the right.
As you reach the 5.8 mile mark on Tray Mountain Rd you will see another access road off to the right (this is featured in the video above). This is the entrance to the campsite.
The site is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Since it is a single site located off of a Forest Service Road there are no reservations. To claim it, arrive early in the morning or visit during a weekday when there is much less traffic on the road.
Tray Mountain Rd is a gravel and dirt road and rated for ‘High Clearance Vehicles‘ by the USFS. The road does have some ruts and slightly off-camber portions, but it is passable with 4-wheel drive or in stock height Jeep or truck.
If you are towing one of our campers you will want to use 4-wheel drive in 4-high and 4-low gear (only on a few sections of the road) due to the extra weight of the camper. As far as Forest Service Roads are in Georgia, this one is a fun drive an offers more of an “off roading” experience.
The campsite is large enough for one of our campers and 2 trucks, or 3 Jeeps or smaller SUVs. There is also space to set up ground tents as well. The site does have an existing fire ring right on the left side of the site.
This is a “primitive” campsite, meaning there are no electrical or water hookups or bathrooms.
Rent one of our camper’s for your trip and you will gave the comforts of home inside the main cabin or tent, plus running water and a hot shower!
The map below shows a second campsite if you continue up the access road. That site is at a higher elevation of 3,466 feet. We did not visit the second site during our stay, but it’s worth driving up the road to check it out!
Maps & GPS Files
There are many notable things to do nearby for everyone, these are a few of the best!
- Tray Mountain Summit Hike – 1.5 mile round-trip with amazing views!
- Cool River Adventures – Tubing on the Chattahoochee River & aerial adventure course
- Unicoi State Park & Lodge – Lodge, zip lines, archery and gun range, fly fishing and more
- Smithgall Woods State Park – Mountain retreat and excellent trout fishing
- Anna Ruby Falls Trail – Easy 0.9 mile out-and-back hike to Anna Ruby Falls
- Dukes Creek Falls Trail – Easy 2.3 mile out-and- back trail to Dukes Creek Falls
- High Shoals Falls Trail – Moderate 2.6 mile out-and-back hike to High Shoals Falls
- Raven Cliffs Wilderness & Falls Trail – Moderate 5.8 mile out-and-back hike to Raven Cliffs Falls
- Richard B. Russell Scenic Byway – Scenic drive over high altitudes and sweeping views
- Helen Alpine Village – Restaurants, shops and fun for the kids
- Habersham Winery – Award-winning wines and tasting room
- Tantrum Brewing Company – Local craft beers and lawn games