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Brasstown Bald

Coordinates: 34°52′27″N 83°48′38″W / 34.874199°N 83.810652°W / 34.874199; -83.810652
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Brasstown Bald
October 2018: Brasstown Bald is the highest mountain in the background
Highest point
Elevation4,784 ft (1,458 m)[1]
Prominence2,108 ft (643 m)[1]
ListingU.S. state high point 25th
Mountains of Georgia
Coordinates34°52′27″N 83°48′38″W / 34.874199°N 83.810652°W / 34.874199; -83.810652[2]
Brasstown Bald is located in Georgia
Brasstown Bald
Brasstown Bald
Parent rangeBlue Ridge Mountains
Topo mapUSGS Jacks Gap
Easiest routeDrive or hike

Brasstown Bald is the highest point in the U.S. state of Georgia. It is located in the northeastern part of the state in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the border between Towns and Union counties south of the city of Hiawassee. The mountain is known to the native Cherokee people as Enotah.[2]


The name in English is derived from a mistaken translation of the term for the nearby Cherokee village of Brasstown, located along the upper Brasstown Creek (named in English from the same error) feeding the Hiawassee River.[3]

Immediately north of the mountain and across the state line with North Carolina are other places named by English settlers: Brasstown, a community in the Brasstown township of Clay County, North Carolina.

Brasstown Bald encompasses Towns and Union counties with the county line intersecting the peak. The mountain is part of the Blue Ridge Mountains (part of the Appalachian Mountains) and within the borders of the Blue Ridge Ranger District of the Chattahoochee National Forest. The mountain consists mostly of soapstone and dunite.

On a clear day it is possible to see the tallest buildings of Atlanta, some 85 miles away from the summit. The U.S. Forest Service has webcams atop the observation tower and a RAWS weather station further down the mountain. The public can drive to a parking lot 0.5 miles (0.8 km) from the top via Georgia State Route 180 Spur and then continue to the summit via a shuttle bus or a short hike on a paved trail.[4]


Brasstown Bald Historical Marker #2

According to the two Georgia historical markers, the area surrounding Brasstown Bald was settled by the Cherokee people. English-speaking settlers derived the word "Brasstown" from a translation error of the Cherokee word for its village place. Settlers confused the word Itse'yĭ (meaning "New Green Place" or "Place of Fresh Green"), which the Cherokee used for their village, with Ûňtsaiyĭ ("brass"), and referred to the settlement as Brasstown. The Cherokee gave the locative name, Itse'yĭ, to several distinct areas in their territory, including an area nearby in what is considered present-day North Carolina.

According to Cherokee legend about Itse'yĭ, a great flood swept over the land. All the people died except a few Cherokee families who sought refuge in a giant canoe. The canoe ran aground at the summit of a forested mountain (now known as Enotah). As there was no wild game for the people to hunt and no place for them to plant crops, the Great Spirit killed all the trees on the top of the mountain so that the surviving people could plant crops. They continued planting and lived from their crops until the water subsided.[citation needed]

Other transliterated spellings of the Cherokee name for the mountain include Echia, Echoee, Etchowee, and Enotah.[citation needed]

The term "Bald" is common terminology in the southern Appalachians describing mountaintops that have 360-degree unobstructed views.

Former Georgia Supreme Court Judge Thomas S. Candler is memorialized with a stone monument at Brasstown Bald. It was erected in 1971 three months before he died in recognition of his efforts to support getting more visitors to the mountain and establishing a visitor center there for them.[5]

Distances to summit[edit]

From the northeast, starting at the intersection of Owl Creek Road and the concurrent Georgia 17 and Georgia 75 near Mountain Scene, the climb is 13.5 miles (21.7 km) long, gaining 828 feet (252 m).

From the southeast, starting at the intersection of Georgia 180 and Georgia 17/75 near Sooky Gap, the climb is 13.1 miles (21.1 km) long, gaining 790 feet (241 m), an average of 6.0% grade.

From the west, starting at the intersection of Georgia 180 and Georgia 348 near Choestoe, the climb is 14.9 miles (24.0 km), gaining 856 feet (261 m), an average of 5.7% grade.

From the intersection of Route 180 and Route 180 Spur at Jacks Gap the climb is 4.9 miles (7.9 km) at an average gradient of 11.2%, (height gain: 551 feet (168 m)).

An additional route to the summit is the Wagon Train Trail, starting at Young Harris College. The trail is traditionally hiked by graduating students and their families on the evening before graduation; a vespers service is held at the summit.

Tour de Georgia[edit]

In the 2005 through 2008 editions of the Tour de Georgia, a long-distance bicycle race, Brasstown Bald was the site of an hors categorie "King of the Mountains stage" finish.

Appearances in the Tour de Georgia
Year Stage Start Winner
2008 6 Blairsville Kanstantsin Sivtsov
2007 5 Dalton Levi Leipheimer
2006 5 Blairsville Tom Danielson
2005 5 Gainesville Tom Danielson
2004 6 Athens Cesar Grajales


NOAA Weather Radio station KXI22 transmits from atop the mountain, simulcasting with KXI75 from Blue Ridge, Georgia. The programming originates from NWSFO Peachtree City.

Georgia Public Broadcasting had or has construction permits from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for two low-power broadcast translator stations at the summit. The digital TV station on channel 12 (W25FP-D, licensed December 2009) is the direct replacement for analog TV station W04BJ in nearby Young Harris, and also covers for W50AB in nearby Hiawassee (both to the north). New station WBTB FM 90.3 will transmit at just 97 watts, equivalent to several hundred watts because of the height above average terrain of over 700 meters, or more than 2,300 feet. Both stations will have Young Harris as the city of license.[citation needed]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Brasstown Bald, Georgia". Peakbagger.com. Retrieved 2012-11-08.
  2. ^ a b "Brasstown Bald". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved 2012-11-08.
  3. ^ Krakow, Kenneth K. (1975). Georgia Place-Names: Their History and Origins (PDF). Macon, GA: Winship Press. p. 24. ISBN 0-915430-00-2.
  4. ^ "Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest - Brasstown Bald Visitor Information Center". Fs.usda.gov. Retrieved 2022-09-16.
  5. ^ T.S. Candler Bio Info/State of GA

External links[edit]

Media related to Brasstown Bald at Wikimedia Commons