Marked by a towering observation center, Brasstown Bald is the highest point in Georgia at 4,784 feet above sea level, and the notably cool peak gained its unique name thanks to a simple mistranslation of a Cherokee word.
The area around mountain peak now known as Brasstown Bald was originally inhabited by the Cherokee tribe of American Indians. In the Cherokee language, the word used for “Green Place” is incredibly similar to the word for “Brass,” and the untrained ear of the white men who came to re-settle the land confused the two terms, changing the description of the mountain’s natural beauty to its current brassy misnomer.
Despite the altered name, the peak’s height and beauty has not been lost on visitors thanks in large part to the peak’s comfortably cool temperatures. Even in the summer, the temperature at the top of the mountain is usually 10 to 20 degrees cooler than the surrounding lowlands, making it a popular place for scenic sightseeing.
Getting to the top is easy enough as a shuttle carries visitors to the observation tower at the summit, or true nature lovers can simply hike it. The visitor’s center on the peak has a museum with taxidermied examples of local wildlife like black bear and bobcats, as well as the stone observation tower from which the surrounding Chattahoochee National Forest is on full display with a stunning 360-degree panoramic view. On a clear day, you can see four states from the peak (Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina).
Know Before You Go
Kids under 16 are free, but adults are $5 each (NOT per carload.) The fog hangs thick here in the mornings, regardless of the time of year you visit. Consider a late afternoon visit for the best long-range view. The observation deck is open 24/7, and the view at sunrise or sunset is hard to beat.
This is often where people go to see the leaves change for fall, but keep in mind that this is the highest point in GA with a micro-climate similar to Massachusetts. If the colors are shining in the city (or even in the lower mountains) then it's already too late to see them here. Go early.