|Elevation||4,784 ft (1,458 m)|
|Prominence||2,108 ft (643 m)|
|Listing||U.S. state high point 25th|
Mountains of Georgia
|Parent range||Blue Ridge Mountains|
|Topo map||USGS Jacks Gap|
|Easiest route||Drive 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.
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.
Across the North Carolina state line, immediately north of the mountain, are other places named in that error of English settlers: Brasstown, a community in the Brasstown township of Clay County, North Carolina.
Brasstown Bald is partly in both Towns and Union counties, the peak being divided by the county line. 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 tall 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, then continue to the summit via a shuttle or a short hike on a paved trail.
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.
Other transliterated spellings of the Cherokee name for the mountain include Echia, Echoee, Etchowee, and Enotah.
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.
Distances to summit
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 kilometers (8.4 mi) long, gaining 828 meters (2,717 ft).
From the west, starting at the intersection of Georgia 180 and Georgia 348 near Choestoe, the climb is 14.9 kilometers (9.3 mi), gaining 856 meters (2,808 ft), an average of 5.7% grade.
From the intersection of Route 180 and Route 180 Spur at Jacks Gap the climb is 4.9 kilometers (3.0 mi) at an average gradient of 11.2%, (height gain: 551 meters (1,808 ft)).
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
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.
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.
- "Brasstown Bald, Georgia". Peakbagger.com. Retrieved 2012-11-08.
- "Brasstown Bald". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2012-11-08.
- Krakow, Kenneth K. (1975). Georgia Place-Names: Their History and Origins (PDF). Macon, GA: Winship Press. p. 24. ISBN 0-915430-00-2.
- T.S. Candler Bio Info/State of GA
Media related to Brasstown Bald at Wikimedia Commons