Six Gap North Georgia
The entire figure 8 including the short 3 mile US 129 connector is 77 miles long. The southern loop is 35 miles and the northern loop is 38 miles. Each of the six segments includes crossing through a mountain “gap” or low pass, hence the name Six Gap. Four of these gaps are at points where the Appalachian Trail, stretching from Georgia to Maine, crosses the roadway. So you can understand how the mountain terrain makes for some good riding.
Elevations range from a low of 1470 feet near Helen to 3480 feet at Hogpen Gap on the Richard Russell Scenic Highway. Elevations at the other gaps are 2956 at Unicoi Gap, 2960 feet at Jacks Gap, 3310 at Wolfpen Gap, 3183 feet at Woody Gap and 3120 at Neels Gap.The two lane twisties vary from wide sweepers to some short radius, tight corners. There are no real switchbacks, but a couple turns come close. The speed limit varies from 25 to 45 miles per hour with limited passing opportunities. The US 129 section crossing Blood Mountain and SR 75 near the Unicoi Gap has sections of three lanes which allow for passing on the uphill climbs.
The pavement condition varies widely. US 129 has good pavement while GA 180 from Suches to Vogel State Park has been repaved but watch out for off camber corners. Watch for some gravel on 348, the Richard Russell Scenic Highway. Traffic is heaviest on US 129 and GA 75.
At times the LEOs are out in force. We have seen days with heavy enforcement by dozens of officers and even a helicopter. The southern loop on 60, US 19, and US 129 is the most enforced.
Points of Interest
Helen, Georgia, SR 75: Alpine Village architecture in this small north Georgia village. Shops, lodging of all kinds, restaurants, museums, festivals and more. We strongly suggest that you check TripAdvisor.com ratings before making reservations at accommodations in Helen. HelenGA.org
Appalachian Trail: Hiking trail from Georgia to Maine (2179 miles) passes through the 1937 Mountain Crossings Store at Neels Gap. AppalachianTrail.org
Blairsville, GA: Shops and restaurants in this small town.
Brasstown Bald: Highest point in Georgia at 4784 feet. On a clear day from the lookout tower you can see the skyscrapers of downtown Atlanta 80 miles distant.
Stonepile Gap, US 19 and SR 60: Legend has it that a Cherokee princess is buried here. Good luck to all who pass and toss a stone on the pile. Some have brought some huge rocks for more luck.