• The top of Tray Mountain offers spectacular views Photo/Eric Pereira
  • Shown is the left fork of Soque River in the Tray Mountain Wilderness. Photo/Alan Cressler

Fall 2018 Mountain Traveler

Where the Soque begins

Tray Mountain offers hiking, fishing, more

Sky-scraping Tray Mountain offers spectacular views from an elevation of 4,430 feet, making it the seventh-highest peak in Georgia, covering White, Towns and Habersham counties.

U.S. Forest Service Staff Officer Judy Toppins said this is a popular recreational area due to its close proximity to Helen. She said a portion of Tray Mountain is a designated wilderness area.

The headwaters of the Soque River, which begins and ends in Habersham County, are located on Tray Mountain.

“The Left Fork Soque and Right Fork Soque come together to form the Soque River 5 miles southeast of Tray Mountain on private land, near Batesville, Georgia,” Toppins said. “The Left Fork Soque is formed by several small streams that flow down the east side of Tray Mountain.”

Toppins said the Soque River is a major tributary to the Chattahoochee River, providing drinking water to more than 5 million Georgians.

“The headwaters also offer cold-water aquatic species habitat and provide recreational opportunities for forest visitors,” she said.

Anglers also have the opportunity to test their skills on the rushing waters of the Soque River, Toppins said.

“Fishing is allowed on public land (with a valid Georgia fishing license) and there are also several privately-owned operations that allow fee-based fishing on the Soque River,” she said. “Several trout species and various minnows, darters and chubs can be found in the colder headwater sections. Around Clarkesville, the Soque transitions to more of a warm-water river with bass and sunfish replacing the trout.”

Other wildlife that can be found on Tray Mountain include black bears, white-tail deer, wild turkeys, hogs, raccoons, possums, bats, salamanders, fish, frogs, turtles, snakes and numerous bird species, Toppins said.

There are several hiking trails, such as the Andrews Cove Trail, Anna Ruby Falls Trail, Appalachian Trail, Rocky Mountain Trail and Smith Creek Trail.

For more information about trails at Tray Mountain, visit fs.usda.gov. Under the Recreation tab, click "Hiking" and then "Day Hiking.”

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