With the day quickly coming to an end, I went against common sense (which would have taken me directly to my motel for the night) and instead chose a roundabout way through the north Georgia mountains. Rather than take US 19/129 south, I detoured onto Wolf Pen Gap Road, headed towards Suches, Georgia. I had no idea what I would find — all I knew is that the roads looked squiggly on the map.
Moments after turning onto Wolf Pen Gap Road, I found a nice lake, surrounded by fall colors. It was a little too late in the day to get a great picture. As you can see, the sun was beaming across the mountains, just before setting.
No swimming? No problem, because there was also no parking allowed at the very best place to take a picture — right at the end of Lake Trahlyta, near the dam. I stopped just long enough to take a couple of pictures.
The rest of Wolf Pen Gap Road was exactly what I had hoped for — a nice, curvy road, littered with falling leaves, surrounded by golden fall colors.
You can stop at Wolf Pen Gap, elevation 3,260 feet, but there isn’t much to see, other than the road itself…
… which is okay, since the road is quite nice.
A bit further, Lake Winfield Scott provides another opportunity to view a nice, peaceful lake.
By the time you reach the end of Wolf Pen Gap Road, you really are in the country.
You know, the kind of country where they hang dead opossums on stop signs. Welcome to north Georgia, folks.
With any luck, the dead critter won’t be there, by the time you arrive.
This is the center of Suches, Georgia. There is a general store/gas station at the intersection of Wolf Pen Gap Road and Georgia Route 60.
Take a left at the intersection, and Route 60 will take you back to US 19. The detour only adds three miles, compared to staying on US 19 the entire way — but on these curvy mountain roads, every mile adds up.
Trahlyta’s Grave, US 19
One roadside attraction is tough to miss, but even more difficult to photograph. In the middle of the “Y” intersection of Route 60 and US 19, you’ll spot a big pile of rocks. This is the grave of Trahlyta, a Cherokee princess. Legend has it, that it’s good luck to place a rock on her grave. At first, Native Americans did it, and later, so did white travelers in the area.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to pay your respects, since there is no safe, or legal, parking area at the intersection. I pulled off the side of the road for this picture, but most spots are marked with “no parking” signs.
The rest of the drive back to the metro Atlanta area was uneventful, but long. It takes a while before US 19 gets out of the mountains, straightens out, and becomes a major freeway.
Here’s the time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive from the end of the Richard B. Russell Scenic Byway, to Suches and back to US 19, ending at Trahlyta’s Grave: