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Observation tower atop Brasstown Bald
|Elevation||4,784 ft (1,458 m)|
|Prominence||2,108 ft (643 m)|
|Listing||U.S. state high point|
|Towns / Union counties, Georgia, United States|
|Range||Blue Ridge Mountains|
|Topo map||USGS Jacks Gap|
|Easiest route||Drive or hike|
Brasstown Bald is the highest natural point in the state of Georgia. The mountain is known to the native Cherokee people as Enotah. It is named for the former Cherokee village of Brasstown, Georgia, located along the upper Brasstown Creek. Across the North Carolina state line, immediately to its north, is Brasstown, North Carolina, in the Brasstown township of Clay County, North Carolina.
Brasstown Bald is partly in Towns and partly in 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 is mostly made up of soapstone and dunite.
On a clear day, it is possible to see the tall buildings of Atlanta 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 the top via Georgia state route 180 Spur.
According to the two Georgia historical markers, the area surrounding Brasstown Bald was settled by the Cherokee people. White settlers derived the word Brasstown from a translation error of a Cherokee word. Sounding very similar to another Cherokee word, settlers confused the word "Itse'yĭ" (New Green Place or Place of Fresh Green) with "Ûňtsaiyĭ" (Brass). Itse'yĭ, New Green Place, is a Cherokee locative name given to several distinct areas in the Cherokee world, including an area to the North of Brasstown Bald in North Georgia.
Cherokee legend tells of a great flood that swept over the land. Everyone that inhabited the land died except a few Cherokee families that sought refuge in a giant canoe. The canoe ran aground at the summit of the mountain. Having no wild game to hunt and no place to plant vegetation, the Great Spirit killed all of the trees on the top of the mountain so the surviving people could plant their crops. They continued planting until the water subsided.
While the Cherokee legend tells of a treeless mountain top, the term "Bald" is common mountain terminology describing mountaintops that have 360-degree unobstructed views. The official name that includes the word Bald in this case was not intended to suggest a once-treeless mountaintop, the way the term is used for most other. The reason for the lack of trees, according to the Cherokee, was the legend of Owen, a brave who defeated the evil warrior Tibbits, who was working for the witchdoctor Rachel.
Other names given to Brasstown Bald by the Cherokee: Echia, Echoee, Etchowee & Enotah.
T.S. Candler Memorial
Former Georgia Supreme Court Judge T.S. Candler is memorialized with a stone monument at Brasstown Bald. T.S. Candler was born to William Ezekiel Candler and Mary Haralson on December 15, 1890 in nearby Blairsville, Georgia. Candler was a graduate from Young Harris College in 1913 and later attended the University of Georgia Law School where he received his degree 1915. After graduating, Candler returned to Blairsville where he began to practice law and became a prominent public figure in the community. He would later be a supporter of creating a visitor's center at Brasstown Bald for the public.
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.
Tours of Georgia
Brasstown Bald was the site of an hors categorie King of the Mountains stage finish in the 2005 through 2008 editions of the Tour de Georgia.
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 (W12DK-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 2300 feet. Both stations will have Young Harris as the city of license.
- Outline of Georgia (U.S. state)
- Index of Georgia (U.S. state)-related articles
- Brasstown Wilderness
- List of U.S. states by elevation