The most iconic portion of the most iconic drive in the Atlanta area without question is Wolf Pen Gap. Beginning near the entrance of Vogel State Park it is one of the highlight roads of the North Georgia Mountains.
Wolf Pen Gap is actually part of the famed Suches Loop. While the entire route is a must do for Atlanta area car enthusiasts, if you don’t have the opportunity to run the full loop, running this most iconic section should be on the top of your list.
Named for the road, which is also known as Highway 180, the Wolf Pen Gap route runs from essentially Vogel State park to the Wolf Pen Gap Country Store at the corner of Highway 180 and Highway 60.
One thing that makes the Wolf Pen Gap stretch unique is it mixture of slow, tight corners including a few switchbacks that give way to very fast sweeping corners. It provides a great balance of driving experience between those faster, straighter sections with some of the highest intensity corners in the North Georgia mountains.
One bit of warning if you plan on exceeding suggested speeds, the road is not very forgiving in places. While Wolf Pen lacks a lot of substantial drops off, there are a few. However, the road is absolutely lined with trees. Also, due to it’s popularity the road is routinely patrolled by local and state police looking to ensure people are not being reckless.
Below is a highlight video of Suches Loop which actually features some of the best parts of Wolf Pen Gap.
Thanks to Georgia’s temperate climate the road is generally driveable for all cars year round, save a few inclement days. Due to the warmer weather the North Georgia mountains are relatively crowded early Fall to early Winter. Best times to do are mid-week or Winter/Early Spring.
Due to the proximity to Atlanta there is not usually a lot of reason to make an overnight trip of it. However, with the route essentially starting at Vogel State Park this certainly is an option with their overnight cabins and campground. There are also numerous hotels in Dahlonega and Helen.
If you are bringing a passenger who isn’t in it for the thrill of the drive they’ll love the numerous stops and activities. They’ll generally dislike the drive as there are a lot of switchbacks.
Take 400 North to the junction of Highway 19. Turn left towards Dahlonega. Following Highway 19 into Dahlonega and make a right in Dahlonega to continue on Highway 19. Follow Highway 19 until it splits with Highway 60 just north of Dahlonega. Stay to the right to stay on Highway 19. Then make a left to continue on Highway 19 at the junction with Highway 129. Enjoy the drive until you get to Vogel State park which will be a ways up on your left. Be prepared to turn left onto Highway 180, which is the start of Wolf Pen Gap.
Best Time To Go: Winter/Spring
Worst Time To Go: Late Summer Thru Early Winter
Where To Stay: Vogel State Park, Helen (hotels), Dahlonega (hotels)
Where To Eat: Plentiful Choices
How Far Away: 1-1.5 hours to the route start. Route itself is is about 30 minutes of driving.
Difficulty: Moderate in Stretches
Passenger Rating: 3 out of 5
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars