Gasp With Joy!
See The Tallest Mountain In Georgia
The people of the Cherokee Indian Tribes  once called this stellar land home. Archeological evidence indicates that the Cherokee People inhabited the region as early as 1650. The mountain was named in honor of the former Cherokee village of Brasstown, Georgia, located on upper Brasstown Creek. Brasstown Bald sits squarely between Union and Town Counties in Georgia, with the peak of the mountain being the dividing line. Brasstown Bald is a part of the Blue Ridge Mountains and contained within the borders of the Blue Ridge Ranger District for the Chattahoochee National Forest.
The mountain supports a rich botanical diversity. Slight below the peak, on the northeast side of the mountain, is a extraordinary “cloud forest”. It is the only one in all of Georgia. The air in the glen is always teeming with moisture from the clouds that frequently hide the mountain peak. The hillside supports thick stands of yellow birch covered with lichen and fragrant open meadows blanketed with fragrant wildflowers. Other areas of the mountain support dense forests of oak, ask, willow, beech and sugar maple. Thickets of laurel, rhododendron, blueberries and wood fern populate open areas. Birding and wildlife viewing opportunities are outstanding. Bears are often sighted as well as deer, raccoons, fox, squirrels, wild turkey, grouse, quail and woodcock. Songbirds are abundant. Eagles, hawks, and owls are often viewed.
Legends And Myths
Ancient tribal legends tell of a massive flood that covered the land. Everyone perished with the exception of a few of the Cherokee people that escaped the devastation in a giant canoe. After many days, the canoe came to rest atop of mountain. Without game to hunt or land to plant the people would perish. The Great Spirit intervened, killing all the trees on the mountaintop so that the Cherokee people could plant their crops. The people survived, planting crops until the waters receded. The Cherokee people called the mountain Enotah or Etchowee, meaning “fresh green place” or “new green place”.
The discovery of gold in northern Georgia in 1828 led to the government’s illegal seizure of tribal lands and the forceful removal of the native people to land in Oklahoma.
Access to the mountain summit is provided by a steep 3.5-mile paved trail. The path is handicap accessible and rated as a moderate hike. The trail follows the border between Union and Towns County to the top of Brasstown Bald. For visitors wishing to renounce the vigorous hike, a shuttle bus service to the mountaintop is available. A marked system of additional trails provides a challenging trek around the mountain. If you have an opportunity to visit the summit on a clear night, stargazing is a favorite pastime. The observation is the perfect location for celestial photographers. The unobstructed view and clarity of the night sky is breathtaking.
A museum at the mountain summit features exhibits of woods logging and woods management of the forests of Northern Georgia and well as artifacts and memorabilia of Appalachian history and culture. At the gift shop, you can purchase a souvenir or a postcard to send to the folks back home.
For driving directions or assistance in planning your trip to Brasstown Bald, contact Blairsville Ranger Office, 1881 Highway 515, Blairsville, Georgia, 30512 or call (706) 745-6928.
Have you visited Brasstown Bald? What was your impression of this travel destination? Please post your comments.