The Brasstown Bald and Wilderness Area are located in the heart of North Georgia’s mountainous Chattahoochee National Forest. Brasstown Bald is the highest and most accessible mountain summit in North Georgia, and is considered by many to be a virtual stairway to the heavens for visitors exploring the high country. The mountain summit is 4,784-feet above sea level, offering breathtaking vistas that reach into the mountainous country of four surrounding states within the southern Blue Ridge Mountains. The four states are parts of North Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. What’s exceptional about this mountaintop site is that it is accessible by a paved roadway to the parking area just below the summit.
From the Visitor's Center , access to the summit is by way of the Summit Trail, a fairly steep half-mile blacktop trail, which follows through a bald thicket containing Mountain Laurels, Rhododendrons, seasonal wildflowers and dwarfed trees. Also conveniently located near the summit’s trailhead next to the Visitor's Center and Gift Shop, is a shuttle passenger van that will take visitors to the top viewing area and return trip for a modest fee. Shuttle services are available daily from Memorial Day to the end of October.
Located along Union County’s eastern border and surrounded by the 12,975-acres of Brasstown Bald Wilderness is Brasstown Bald, considered the crown jewel of North Georgia’s mountaintops. Balds exist mainly on the tallest mountaintops of the Blue Ridge-Smoky Mountains region, and are mostly void of any sizable trees. These balds are normally covered in low shrubs, dwarf trees or tall grasses and are considered a mystery in their making. Both geologist studies and Cherokee folklore have their own separate ideas regarding the characteristics of balds and how they were formed.
On a clear day from its circular 360-degree stone observation deck at the mountain summit, visitors can gaze upon Georgia’s neighboring mountains along with Lake Nottely and Lake Chatuge in the valley lands below. Standing watch over the observation deck is an old circular wooden fire-lookout-tower that adds a personal sense of character to the balds’ summit; this structure is closed to the public.
Also located along the observation deck is a must see museum with excellent exhibits displaying the lives of early settlers, a narrow gage locomotive, plaques of Native American cultural legends and myths, plus displays of local wildlife. There is also a small theater featuring a film of the natural geological history of this mountainous region.
Other features located near the Visitor's Center are three additional hiking trails plus a nearby boulder field that surrounds most of the bald. The boulder field is accessible from the Wagon Train Trail. Also located on the mountaintop are a flourishing amount of natural Mountain Laurels and Rhododendrons that are native to these mountains.
On occasions, the Visitor's Center hosts special events that are quite an experience to enjoy since these festivities take place on an actual mountaintop. Information for these past and future events may be obtained at the local Forest Ranger District Office in Blairsville.
Brasstown Bald and Wilderness Area in Union County Georgia is an outdoor experience that says it all; it is magnificent, indescribable and awe-inspiring.