The top of Brasstown Bald is the highest point in Georgia at 4,783 feet above sea level. This summit is part of the Blue Ridge, a sub-range of the Appalachians that runs from Virginia to Georgia.
You would expect great views from atop the highest mountain around, and the viewing platform on Brasstown makes them even better. By walking around the open-air deck you get a 360-degree vantage over the treetops (Brasstown Bald is not actually a bald) to mountains in parts of four states on a clear day. Plaques on the railing label nearby summits, rivers, and towns, and viewing scopes are available for taking a closer look. Also on top is a visitor center with educational displays and a movie. The visitor center is open from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. April through November.
Earning these mountaintop rewards takes a little work, however. First is the steep and windy drive up to the parking area. RVs and trailers are not recommended on this road, and it can be treacherous in bad weather. Second is the final ascent to the visitor center and viewing deck. When the visitor center is open, a shuttle can take you there for no additional charge. Otherwise you must hike 0.6 miles up a paved and rather steep path to the top. Once there, a final set of stairs or an elevator gets you to the upper deck.
The hike is well worth taking over the shuttle, however. It travels through a unique forest of hardwoods that grow smaller than average at this high elevation, and among tangles of rhododendron and laurel that bloom brilliantly in spring. Signs along the way explain the ecology of this forest type and its animals that live only on the tallest mountaintops of Georgia.
For a more full-value hike, you can take one of three trails from further down the mountain that begin in different places but all link up with the paved trail near its beginning at the visitor parking lot.