Big Bald, Rich, and Cold Mountains - Sun, Mar 30 2014

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Big Bald, Rich, and Cold Mountains

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: Rich Mountain Wilderness, near Blue Ridge, GA   Hike: Big Bald, Rich, and Cold Mountains  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sun, Mar 30 2014  8:30 am >> Sun, Mar 30 2014 6:30 pm  (Carpool Departure: 8:30 am   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Tue, Mar 25 2014 8:48 pm
Registration Cut Off: Sat, Mar 29 2014 4:44 pm
Event Duration:10
Difficulty Rating:D5: Difficult (Exploratory)
Distance:11 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:12
Minimum Group Size:6
Number Registered So Far: 12 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: Yes

Note: This is an "EXPLORATORY" trip. This means that there are parts of this trip, or perhaps the whole trip, that is new to your Trip Leader(s). However, they are confident that this will not be an issue.
This note is here so that you can make an informed decision. When a Trip Leader isn't personally familiar with a trip, there is an increased chance of things not going as planned and you need to be prepared. The Trip Leader may have additional details in the itinerary.


Standing 4075' above sea level, Big Bald Mtn is the tallest in the Rich Mtn Wilderness and the 15th tallest in GA.  Rich Mountain, only 35 feet lower than Big Bald, is the 2nd tallest in Rich Mtn Wilderness.


We will start the hike at Stanley Gap and follow the very lush and scenic Stanley Creek trail for about a mile before beginning our off-trail adventure.  We will hike off-trail about 2.5 miles to the top of Big Bald. After claiming this first peak, we will continue over the other side of Big Bald, pick up a 4WD road for a very short distance, then head off-trail once again to claim our next summit, Rich Mtn.  After heading down to a gap, we will pick up a quasi-trail and generally follow a ridge line across the top of Cold Mtn and then down the other side.  We'll pick up a road for a very short distance before heading off on another trail which will eventually rejoin the Stanley Creek Trail, that will take us back to the parking lot.

Note: This hike will involve a significant amount of varying "off-trail" hiking, some of which is very steep.  Parts of the off-trail will be on old trails/roads, parts on quasi-trails (unmaintained trails), and other parts free form.  There will also be a couple of small creek crossings, which may require removing shoes/boots temporarily.  If you do not have recent D5 hiking experience your trip leader will be contacting you to determine if this hike is appropriate for you.

I have listed this hike as exploratory because although I have hiked most of it, I have not hiked the portion across Cold Mountain.

After the hike, we will stop for some well deserved BBQ north of Ellijay.

Required Items to Bring:


  • Water or sports drink (2 - 3 liters)
  • Food - enough to keep your energy level up for a 6 - 7 hour hike.
  • Good solid hiking boots/shoes (tennis/athletic shoes are NOT appropriate for this hike)
  • Dress in layers - long pants/sleeves recommended
  • Change of clothes for the ride home or towel to sit on
  • Hand/foot towel to dry feet if needed after stream crossings
Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.


  • camera
  • an extra pair of dry socks (in case you get your feet wet in one of the stream crossings)
  • a change of clothes/shoes - on "off-trail" (bushwhacking) hiking you WILL get dirty/muddy.
  • emergency rain gear (even if chance of rain is minimal)
  • Gloves - leather is preferable - this is in case we run into any areas with briers.  We'll try to avoid them, but I can't promise that we won't encounter some.

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

Directions to trailhead will be given at carpool (or via email if "meeting at event").

Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):160Mile(s)
Carpool Departure Time: 8:30 am
Carpool Location:   Log in for location
Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions
Carpool Cost: Estimated cost per vehicle for this event is $64.00 using a reimbursement rate guideline of $0.400 per mile. The total amount should be divided by the number of people in the vehicle, including the driver. This is a guideline, not a rule, for drivers but the cost should not be higher unless there are extenuating circumstances.


Dogs: Up to 3 well behaved dogs will be allowed on this event.  However, as this event involves a significant amount of off-trail hiking, it is not practical for dogs to be on a leash.  Therefore, dogs should be able to be trusted and controlled off-leash if being brought on this hike.

* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Cost Includes:


Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.