Brasstown Bald, the highest peak in Georgia, is also one of the most unusual. Located near Blairsville, it is one place you will want to see. The height, 4,784’ above sea level, gives a spectacular view of five states on a clear day. It’s the “bald” that makes it so special. Mountain “balds” only occur in the southern Appalachians. Scientists disagree about their origin—whether lighting-started fires repeatedly destroying vegetation, overgrazing by the early settlers livestock or glacial movement across the Blue Ridge did the trick. The Cherokee have an explanation. They tell of the Cherokee villages attacked by Ulagu, a giant hornet-like creature who carried off children. The Indians tracked him to an inaccessible cave on the mountain’s peak. The Holy Spirit sent lightning to shear away the top of the mountain leaving it forever bald and exposing Ulagu so the warriors could kill him.
Today, Brasstown Bald is a popular destination for visitors from all over the world. You will be fascinated by the culture, the scenery and the spectacular autumn colors. From the lower parking lot, you can hike to the top or ride a bus. There are four trails you can take. The shortest but steepest is the one to the Visitors Center on the top of the mountain. This trail climbs 1,000 feet in about 1/2 mile, but there are plenty of resting areas for you to take a breather. The view from the observation tower is stunning. According to Alison Koopman, Recreation Supervisor for the Blue Ridge Ranger District, “We offer you the most beautiful view in Georgia.” she also noted that Brasstown Bald has some of the most extreme weather in Georgia. “The temperature here ranges from 84 to -27 degrees.”
The longest trail is Wagon Train Trail. On this one you follow an old roadbed that was never completed, Ga. Hwy 66, which will take you north into Young Harris. It ends near the women's dorm at Young Harris College.
With the other two trails you have a choice of heading south on Jacks Knob which will intersect with the Appalachian Trail or west on Arkaquah Trail which will take you to Track Rock Gap.