Brasstown Bald Hiking Trails

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From Blairsville Georgia take US 19 & 129 south for 8 miles. Turn left (east) onto Georgia 180. Go 9 miles to Georgia 180 Spur and turn left (north). Go 3 miles to the Brasstown Bald parking area

From Cleveland Georgia take GA 75 north through Helen to GA 180; turn left (west) onto GA 180 (also GA 66); go 6 miles; turn right onto GA 180 spur; continue 3 miles to Brasstown Bald parking lot.

From Hiawassee Georgia Take US-76 [SR-17] (South-East) 2.8 miles Bear RIGHT (South) onto SR-17 [SR-75] 6.3 miles
Brasstown Bald Park will be clearly marked on the right Total Distance: 9.1 miles
Estimated Time: 12 minutes

Activities: hiking, breathtaking views, Video show, picnic area, bookstore and gift shop, hiking trails, parking lot , restrooms, exhibits, observation deck, brochures, concessions, shuttle bus.

Fees: Parking $3.00 per vehicle

For a fee of $2.00 per person, a shuttle bus can carry visitors from the parking area to the visitor center, weekends during April and May then daily from Memorial Day through the end of October. The short .5-mile paved trail leads from the parking area to the visitor center on the bald is steep but has many benches to rest along the way.

Closest town: Hiawassee, Georgia

For more information:

Brasstown Ranger District
1881 Highway 515 P.O.Box 9,
Blairsville, Ga. 30514

Phone: 706-745-6928 Fax:706-745-7494
Visitor center phone (706) 896-2556.

Brasstown Bald Hiking Trails

Part of the Chattahoochee National Forest there are four hiking trails, including the paved summit-access trail. All start from the parking area at the bald. Simple maps and descriptions of all four trails are available in the Forest Service brochure "Trail Guide to the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests." The maps covers the area of Hiawassee, Jack's Gap, and Blairsville showing three of the trails—Arkaquah Trail, Wagon Train Trail, and part of Jack's Knob Trail.

Arkaquah trail

About 5.5 miles. There is a difference of 2,500 feet in elevation as the trail descends westward along a ridge top from its beginning in the Brasstown Bald parking area to its end at Track Rock Gap Archeological Area . With a difficulty rating of moderate to strenuous, this is not considered a beginner's trail. Blue Bluff Overlook is on the trail. Hikers pass Chimney Top Mountain and will be able to see Rocky Knob to the south. Plott Cove Research Natural Area, which is rich in herbs, wildflowers, and northern hardwoods, is north of the trail at Cove Gap. To reach the western end of the trail at Track Rock Gap, go east of Blairsville on US 76 for 6 miles, turn right onto Track Rock Road and go 3 miles.

Jack's Knob trail

About 4.5 miles. Built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps and reconstructed in the 1980s by the Forest Service, Jack's Knob Trail is limited to foot traffic and is rated moderate to strenuous. Descending southward from the parking lot along a ridge following the boundary of Towns and Union counties, it crosses GA 180 in Jack's Gap [Fig. 30(9)] at an elevation of 3,000 feet and ascends Hiawassee Ridge past Jack's Knob [Fig. 30(10)], elevation 3,805 feet. Jack's Knob Trail joins the Appalachian Trail in Chattahoochee Gap near the source of the Chattahoochee River.

Track Rock Archeological Site

Like the Mayan hieroglyphics of southern Mexico and Central America, the ancient petroglyphs carved into three large soapstone boulders on the west side of the road here have resisted translation. Referred to by the Cherokees, who inhabited the area at the time of the white settlement, as degayelunha, or "printed place," the rocks have been enclosed in metal cages to protect them from vandals and graffiti scrawlers. Though the stones are weathered, their mysterious inscriptions are still discernible to travelers who take time to stop here near the foot of Brasstown Bald.

Directions: On Track Rock Road off US 76, northwest of Blairsville and 4 miles southwest of Young Harris.

Wagon Train trail

Wagon Train trail

Originally constructed as a portion of Georgia Route 66, this road was built in the 1950's by convict labor. For years, dozens of local families formed a wagon train and traveled the seven winding miles from the town of Young Harris to camp and socialize on the Bald. The road, now only open to hikers and horses leads into Brasstown wilderness.

The Brasstown Bald parking lot is the upper elevation entrance to this trail. To find the entrance, go between the bookstore and the concession stand located in the parking area. Take the paved trail and turn right (east) onto a dirt road.It is a moderate, 5-7 mile walk with fine views. Near the summit, the trail passes remarkable cliffs and boulder fields where rock tripe, lichens, reindeer moss, old-man's beard, and club moss flourish. In early spring, silverbell, serviceberry, mountain buttercups, white saxifrage, toothwort, cinquefoil, bluets, highbush and low-bush blueberries, white and purple violets, solomon's seal and plume, pussytoes, and four varieties of trillium can be seen blooming along the trail. The trail ends at private property 2 miles south of Young Harris.