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Hiking Rabun Bald

Rabun Bald is the 2nd highest point in Georgia behind Brasstown Bald. But unlike Brasstown Bald, it’s only accessible by foot, so it’s a much less crowded & less car-influenced vibe.

There are 3 ways to access Rabun Bald. You can approach from the south via the Bartram Trail or from the north via the Bartram Trail.

In August 2019, I went to hike the third option, the eastern approach to Rabun Bald up Forest Service Trail 211 (using the National Geographic Trails Illustrated #778 – Brasstown Bald / Chattooga River).

The trailhead is nearly hidden on a bend off the Forest Service Road. I would have driven past it if I hadn’t been counting the mileage.

Hiking Rabun Bald 2

The trail itself is well-maintained…but has quite a bit of summer over-growth. I’m sure it’s wide open in the winter. I’m also sure it gets a good bit of weekend traffic. But on a random Tuesday, I had it all to myself.

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Most of this area of the Chattahoochee National Forest was intensively logged, but it’s also one of the older parts of the National Forest, so there’s a lot of solid second growth forest. Lots of white oaks and hickories.

The trail itself is nearly straight up with very few flat areas for a decent break. It’s pretty intensive for Georgia.

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Even in late summer, there were a *ton* of flowers out. Lots of birds. Since Rabun Bald is one of the highest mountains in the region, it gets a lot of rainfall and a lot of migratory birds.

Hiking Rabun Bald 5

In the summer, you don’t get a ton of views until you’re at the top. And even there, you only get views from the abandoned fire tower platform. Rabun Bald is definitely not a “bald” anymore.

But up on the platform…the views are incredible and well-worth the hike. Rabun Bald has great isolation so you can see clearly to South Carolina and North Carolina and far off into west. Looking to the east, north, and south – most all of the land is National Forest, so there’s very little development with just rolling green Appalachian mountains. Highly recommend.

By Nate

I'm Nate Shivar - I live in Atlanta and love exploring the city, outdoors, books & Internet. Read about me, my Now page, or my work.

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