Trails Illustrated Series
The forest service
maps are still very useful. But the corresponding National Geographic
Trails Illustrated Maps have improved on them in a few ways. For one
thing, they name a lot of the local roads, which is a very helpful feature.
For another, they provide additional information on the hiking trails,
for instance by giving the mileage and rating the difficulty. I used
to recommend that everyone carry the forest service maps, because they
used to be the only ones that had the forest service road numbers. They
are still very useful, but if you could only have one, I'd probably
choose the National Geographic Maps. The information isn't exactly the
same, but they have been revised a bit more recently than the forest
service maps. I carry both, and I still use both when I'm in the field.
The map that corresponds
to the forest service's "Cherokee National Forest, Southern District"
is #781, "Tellico & Ocoee Rivers." This covers the Cherokee
in the area immediately north of Georgia. There are two maps that correspond
to the forest service's "Chattahoochee National Forest, Georgia."
"Springer & Cohutta Mountains, #777, covers the area closest
to Blue Ridge. "Brasstown Bald & Chatooga River," #778,
covers the area to the east, over to the South Carolina line. At this
time (11/23/2011), these maps retail for $11.95 each. The Fannin County
Chamber of Commerce, up behind the CVS, carries the Chattahoochee maps.
There is also a bundle pack available, which Amazon has for $15.56.
I'm not sure where the closest place to buy the Tennessee map would
be. At any given time, the Bargain Barn in Jasper might have it, the
forest service office in the Ocoee Gorge might have it, the Polk County
News in Benton might have it, Benton Shooters Supply might have it,
and Cherokee Corners Market, at the corner of 411 and 30, just south
of the Hiwassee River, might also carry it. Of course, you can order
it online from Amazon or National Geographic.
For finding roads
and trailheads, it helps to have the two Forest Service maps that cover
this area, “Chattahoochee National Forest, Georgia” and
“Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee,” because they have
the Forest Service road numbers. These are the ones I always used to
make sure I had in the car when I headed out, and I still carry them
religiously. But if you have the National Geographic Maps, you may not
For reasons known
only to the feds, Georgia offices do not carry the Tennessee map, and
Tennessee offices do not carry the Georgia map. The closest U.S. Forest
Service office in Tennessee is off 64/74, in the vicinity of Parksville
Lake (west of Ducktown and the Ocoee Whitewater Center). The Forest
Service office in Blue Ridge is closed. The nearest office is now in
Blairsville, a few miles west of Blairsville on the four-lane, and just
east of the Walmart. There is also a Forest Service office in Murphy,
NC. If you are headed into Murphy on 64/74, you turn right at the last
light before you cross the river and 64 and 74 split apart.
Free maps of Fannin,
Gilmer, and Union counties are available at Coldwell Banker High Country
Realty across from the Blue Ridge McDonald’s.
The Fannin County
Chamber of Commerce has free maps of Blue Ridge and Fannin County. They
are located behind the United Community Bank, across from the Blue Ridge
McDonald’s, 3990 Appalachian Hwy (515), 706.632.5680. They also
have many free maps of hiking trails and recreation areas.
The Copper Basin
Chamber of Commerce has a good map of southern Polk County, Ducktown,
Copperhill, Tennessee, and McCaysville, Georgia.. They are located at
134 Main Street in Ducktown, 423.496.9000, 800.790.2157.
widely available advertising map titled “Visitors Map to the Blue
Ridge Mountains of Northeast Georgia.” It gives a pretty good
idea of how to get to many popular destinations.
The official Fannin
County road map is very obsolete, but it is still available at the courthouse.
There have been approximately 400 new roads since it was printed. We’re
all waiting for the new map, which should be available in a few months
Paper copies of
the U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey topo maps are still available.
The Forest Service has them with a special tint to better show areas
under forest service control. Other sources are REI and The Bargain
Barn (on the four-lane in Jasper).
DeLorme has a popular
“Georgia Atlas and Gazetteer,” which is about the size of
the Rand McNally Road Atlas. These aren’t as detailed as the USCGS
maps, but they are very handy.
There is a great
2-CD set with both series of topo maps, “Topo! North Georgia,
Great Smoky Mountains, and Atlanta: North Georgia.” These maps
are the most detailed and most easy to use for those familiar with the
USCGS maps. Contact them at www.topo.com (the National Geographic Map
Store). At this writing, the price is $24.95. These are also available
at some U.S. Forest Service offices.
DeLorme also has
the entire USA on CD, “Topo USA.” This product is not as
detailed as the maps mentioned immediately above. Current street price
is about $100. Contact them at www.delorme.com.
and North Carolina
The Tennessee Overhill
Heritage Foundation has a good free map of attractions in the Tennessee
Overhill area (McMinn, Monroe, and Polk counties). Contact them at POB
143, Etowah, TN 37331, 423.263.7232, www.tennesseeoverhill.com.
This is usually available at various outlets in Copperhill.
The U.S. Forest
Service has a good free map of “National Forest and National Park
Recreation Areas of Eastern Tennessee/Western North Carolina, Recreation
Guide R8-RG 271.
has two good maps in their Trails Illustrated series. “Tellico
& Ocoee Rivers” also features the Hiwassee State Scenic River,
#781. “Great Smoky Mountains, covers the national park, # 229.
Contact them at www.trailsillustrated.com
Lake Fishing maps
are available for Lake Blue Ridge, Lake Nottely, and Carter’s
Lake. The Nottely map has GPS coordinates and a list of fishing structures
on the lake. These are generally available in sporting goods stores,
or contact Atlantic Mapping, POB 7391, Marietta, GA 30065, 770.426.5768.