Rabun Bald, at 4,696' is Georgia's second highest peak, less than a hundred feet shy of it's highest, Brasstown Bald (4,784'), a ways west. Despite it coming in second place from a vertical standpoint, from a natural beauty standpoint Rabun Bald far outshines its commercially developed big brother. While Brasstown is topped with a huge concrete tower, visitor center, parking lot, and picnic area Rabun Bald sits quietly under an unbroken blanket of green, its summit only available to those who are willing to walk the moderate 2-miles to its summit.
Located just south of the resort community of Sky Valley in Georgia's extreme northeast corner, you won't find any flashy signs pointing you to a trailhead. There are a couple options for routes of varying lengths but you'll need a good map to find any of them. On this morning I would be ascending Rabun from the north at Beegum Gap where a 2-mile walk up the Bartram Trail would take me to the summit. The trail was well groomed and never all that steep. I made the round-trip in a couple hours including the hundred or so pictures I took along the way. In itself the views from the top would make the hike worth while but on this trip, as you'll see the journey there was easily as beautiful as what I saw from the summit. Come along with me on one of the most beautiful and you might say magical hikes I've been on in a while. Mother Nature really outdid herself on this one...
Hike Length: 4.0 miles Hike Duration: 3:30
Trailhead Temp: 65'F
Min. Elevation: 3,650' Max. Elevation: 4,696'
Total Vertical Gain: 1,046' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 523'