At 4,430 feet, Tray Mountain dominates the southern portion of this rugged Wilderness, which straddles the crest of the Blue Ridge. From up high, fast-flowing streams tumble down narrow gorges and over many waterfalls. Second-growth hardwoods at least 60 years old are the primary forest cover. Deer, squirrels, grouse, and wild turkeys make common appearances, along with the ever-elusive black bear, raccoons, doves, quail, and woodcocks. About 41 miles of trout streams produce rainbows and browns. You'll see remnants of past logging operations, mostly abandoned roads. Just across State Highway 75 lies Mark Trail Wilderness. The Appalachian Trail (AT) follows the crest of the Blue Ridge for 16.5 unusually level miles from Unicoi Gap to Dick's Creek Gap, with a shelter at Tray Mountain. The High Shoals Trail leads about 1.5 miles to the High Shoals Scenic Area, where a waterfall drops over dramatic cliffs. Hunters and anglers come often to this area, but the AT attracts the most visitors.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Tray Mountain Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.