“A pleasant forest road that connects several gaps in the North Georgia Mountains.”
— Lost Justpastnowhere
FS-42 is the continuation of Cooper Gap Road FS42-2
. It starts at Hightower Gap and continues through a "major" intersection at Winding Stair Gap and passes by Springer Mountain before heading downhill.
The forest road pretty much follows the main ridge in the North Georgia Mountains; between Hightower and Winding Stair, you'll also cross Puncheon Gap, Coppermine Gap, and Deerlick Gap.
At Winding Stair Gap FS 42 intersects with Noontootla Road (FS 58)
and Winding Stair Gap Road FS77
. Both head steeply downhill.
Sadly, there's only one additional gap west of Winding Stair (Big Stamp Gap). Then you'll come to the parking area for Springer Mountain. The southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail is 1 mile to the south. The Appalachian Trail, which is of course closed to bikes, also crosses FS 42 at Hightower and Winding Stair Gaps. Shortly after the Springer Mountain parking area, you begin a long descent to Doublehead Gap Road.
These forest roads are great for riding if the Bull Mountain trails are too wet or if it's freeze-thaw season. Wear orange if it's hunting season.