|Trail Length: 1.2 miles||Type of trail: In and out|
|County: Union County, GA, Towns County, GA||Our rating: D|
|Features: visitors center, scenic, picnicking, paved, family, craft shop, bathrooms||Your rating:|
|Usage: Heavy||Added on: January 01, 1993|
|Last hiked: October 17, 2014||Updated on: October 18, 2014|
|About these ratings|
Hiking trails in Union County, GA
Hiking trails in Towns County, GA
This steep, paved trail leads from the parking lot on Brasstown Bald to the Visitor Information Center at the summit. Access to the summit is also provided by a shuttle.
It would probably be better to call this footpath up and down instead of in and out. Although difficult, this is an excellent hike for most people. Frequent stopping places along the path make it achievable for most hikers. As you climb from the parking lot to the summit the change in flora is the equivalent of walking a thousand miles further north.
The top of Brasstown Bald is 500 feet higher (4784' is the listed elevation) than the start of the trail. Be sure to carry a jacket for warmth at the top except during the summer. From the Visitors Center is an unencumbered 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains. Visible from the top are Rabun Bald (Georgia's second highest mountain, slightly north of due east), Blood Mountain (south of due west), and the Cohutta Mountains, (due west of the center).
At the base of Brasstown Rosebay Rhododendron are dominant, but are replaced by purple rhododendron as the trail climbs. Trees at the base are a mix of large oak and a variety hardwoods. As the path climbs the trees are smaller. The top of the shrub bald is covered by an unusual dwarf forest. Twisted and gnarled branches of both red and white oak create an unusual sight. Because Wolfpen Ridge is predominantly hardwood, Brasstown Bald (which is the highest point on the ridge) is a wonder to behold in the fall. Normally the best colors occur during the third week in October.
Brasstown Bald Hike
Initially, the trail climbs to the 0.1 miles to the entrance to the Wagon Train Trail. According to the interpretive sign by the trail head, this trail was used by residents of Young Harris to come to Brasstown Bald. Shortly after the entrance the trail makes its first switchback in laurel and rhododendron. As the climb continues, the rocky nature of the peak keeps the trees shorter than those in a normal forest. At. 0.5 miles the trail crosses the road to the top.
At 0.6 miles there is a clearing on the right that gives a great view of the center and we always stop here to get a shot of it with the American flag blowing in the breeze.
At the top is a visitors center with an extensive museum and various presentations on forestry in north Georgia. Plan on spending a few minutes to see the exhibit as it is well worth the time. Highlights of the visitors centers include two animatrons, one representing a female forest ranger, the other the venerable Arthur Woody, a popular figure in north Georgia. He advocated stocking streams with sought after fish and a conservation program to help rebuild the deer population that was almost non-existent at the start of the 20th century.
The center is also home to a small locomotive that was used to haul wood off the mountains to nearby saw mills. One of the most interesting displays takes visitors inside the mountain itself to explore the geology of Georgia's tallest peak.
About the name
Brasstown was a Cherokee Indian town about 5 miles west of the bald, at the end of the Arkaquah Trail.