What is so wonderful about Brasstown Bald?
The view, man, the view!
Brasstown Bald is the highest point in Georgia. The mountain rises 4784-feet above sea level. With the 360-degree view from the overlook, you can see the four states of Tennessee, Georgia, and North and South Carolina.
From Hwy 180, it is a 3-mile drive up to the parking lot. After parking there you have two options: a) hire the shuttle to carry you up to the top or b) hike you way to the top.
Before making a decision, two things you want to do:
1) Go to the restrooms to fill you water bottles with the best spring water in the world. The natural spring that feeds the two visitor centers has a flow of approximately 17-gallons per minute. They store this slow flow in a tank to be used as needed by the visitor.
2) If you go to the visitor’s center at the parking lot (the commercial center) do NOT listen to the person behind the counter telling you that the 0.6-mile hike to the top is a short 10 to 15-minutes. Fact is that it is a pleasant 30-minute nature walk.
The hike to the Bald is on an asphalt path that is fairly steep with ample rest benches. There are 4 hiking trails ranging from the short 0.6-miles going up to the Bald to 6-miles in length.
I found the hike enjoyable and most interesting was a historical marker along the way. We saw a real wagon road where the wagon trains traveled 7-miles from Hiawassee to the Bald for weekend camping and socializing. Looking up “Wagon Trail Road” I reflected on the past. I thought of how easy our modern life is. I also found myself having a little compassion on the horses that had to pull the wagons up that mountain.
The visitor information center at the summit of the Bald is a museum that I found very interesting. I read about information on mountain people, the land lottery, a train engine, and exhibits on wildlife, plants, and native settlers. There was a great video in the theater. In more official terms, the center offers video presentations, exhibits and interactive programs making it more than just a lookout.
The view from the lookout has much to do with the weather, season and time of day. (No kidding?) No, really. You may want to reschedule your visit to this attraction if it is a cloudy day. If you want to see easterly, you will want the sun behind you, so go in the afternoon or simply go back often. There are small location signs along the railing that point out features (towns, mountains, and valleys) that you can see on a clear day.
One final point: I want to encourage walking the trail from the parking lot to the lookout, but consider taking the shuttle if your shoes are a little loose. I found my feet sliding in my shoes to a degree that my toes were meeting the front of my shoes as I descended the Bald. The shuttle bus travels daily between 10AM and 5PM from the visitor parking area.
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