Traveling to the top of the highest mountain in Georgia doesn’t require any climbing at all–at least on foot. Your car’s engine may beg to differ, since it will do almost all the work. Once you’re almost there, you can choose to hoof it, or catch a ride on a shuttle.
Atop Brasstown Bald stands a large fire tower/observation deck/visitor’s center. According to the US Forest Service’s website, the 360-degree view on a clear day is breathtaking. But as you can plainly see, I wasn’t visiting on a clear day. I also arrived too late in the day (around 6 p.m. in July) to attempt the 6/10 of a mile climb up to the observation tower. So, the main parking lot is as close as I came to the peak.
Read the barrel: A round trip ride via a shuttle bus costs only $2 (that’s in addition to the parking fee collected as you enter the lot). I would have gladly paid a couple of bucks to avoid the steep foot trail that leads to the top. However, I arrived too late in the day, and the shuttle busses were no longer running.
One thing you can enjoy on Brasstown Bald is the mountain’s huge population of rhododendron plants. My July visit was a little late in the year to see the flowers in full bloom, but a few straggling buds were still bursting forth with delicate beauty. It’s obvious that earlier in the year, the entire spur route up the mountain would be walled with the blooming bushes, most of them 10 feet tall or more.
Note: This trip was first published in 2006.