Blue Ridge • McCaysville • Mineral Bluff • Aska Adventure Area • Dial • Epworth
Fannin County North Georgia
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"Gateway to the Mountains"
Just inside the great blue wall of the southwestern Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia is a land of renowned beauty, adventure, myth and legend. Fannin County, is one of the premier counties in the North Georgia Mountains offering an escape from the outer world to a land where natural wonders and majestic landscapes beckon the adventurous at heart with an additional lure of peace, tranquility, fun and excitement for others.
Here the Georgia high-country mountaintops and long high ridges caress the morning sky as layers of fine mist forms along rivers and creeks. Often at the break of day the crystal blue waters of Lake Blue Ridge appear as though it were a still mirror reflecting the colors of deep blue skies and puffy white clouds above. As the sun rises across the heavens, each day unfolds with excitement throughout the county offering both recreation and adventure within the wonders of pristine forest and the sparking waterways formed by the mountain's delicate watershed.
If you are looking to get away from the city to experience the good life, Fannin County offers it in abundance. You'll find a wide variety of lodging choices from luxury cabins and hotels to bed & breakfast inns and camping, something for every taste and budget.
Many visitors find themselves enjoying casual strolls along the main streets of the picturesque historical mountain downtowns hunting for hidden treasures amongst its unique shops while taking casual breaks within the confines of a quaint restaurant or outdoor café, enjoying fine food and drink as they bask away in comfort and style.
In the harvest season visitors flock to the apple orchards throughout the county's rolling fields bordered by long tall mountain ranges searching for that perfect sweet crisp mountain grown apple or one or more of those delectable hot apple pie turnover fresh from the kitchen.
Other visitors might choose to take a journey along the railway of the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad traveling a short distance from one popular Fannin County town to another before returning to its historical depot. Evenings here in the high country wind down quietly as the forest begins to come alive with the sounds of winged soloists, their love-songs seem to ride gently across the fresh mountain air as awe inspiring sunsets along the western sky dazzles one's senses with the wonderment of it all.
Fannin County's backcountry roll's out its green forest and pristine waterways inviting visitors, guest and residents to lace up their hiking shoes, grab their tackle, launch the outboard, air up the tubes, raft white water rapids or take hold of the reins and join in on a vast array of outdoor recreation that will fill your days from morning till night.
It's not only the majestic mountain beauty that draws the visitors and new residents to these southern Blue Ridge Mountains, it's also the weather that makes this region so appealing with four distinct seasons. As the new spring season comes alive each year with an abundance of flowering trees and native wildflowers, the mountains offer an escape from the confines of a long winter to the adventurer at heart. During the summer season warm days filled with leisure, fun and excitement slip comfortably into cool nights, while the autumn sets the glory of the year on a pedestal with the vibrant colors of the forest starting their yearly migration from the top of the mountains before traveling down as the season progresses. Winters in the southern Blue Ridge Mountains are usually quiet and mild. Light snowfalls occasionally blanket the ground with snow-covered mountaintops maintaining their crowns of white as the snow covered valley lands below melt under the afternoon sun.
With its commitment to community strength and thanks to the city of Blue Ridge and its neighboring town of McCaysville, Fannin County has become the third community in the state of Georgia to be designated by the Georgia Department of Economic Development as "Entrepreneur Friendly" offering opportunity to those looking to relocate.
A great time and even greater memories await those that have the fortune of choosing Fannin County in the North Georgia Mountains as their destination escape or year-round home, a world where the pace of life is sweet and the rewards are plentiful.
Brief History of Fannin County
Fannin County is steeped in a rich history of early American settlement and ancient folklore. Founded in 1854 from portions of Union and Gilmer County, Fannin County was once the homeland of the Cherokee People with some descendants of this noble people still residing there today. The county was named in honor of Colonel James Fannin a hero in the Texas War for Independence.
Magical folklore abounds in Fannin County. One of its many tales based in fable is that of the tangible stone mineral know as Fairy Crosses. Once abundant throughout the soils of Fannin County these unique stones bare the image of a cross. The stone was once thought to bring good luck to it possessors. In one tale it is said that at the time of Jesus' crucifixion the ancient fairies of these mountain lands began to cry after hearing of His sacrifice. It is also said that when their tears hit the ground they formed small stone crosses giving name to these staurolite stone as "fairy crosses." The Blue Ridge Highlander's very own Nathanael O. Smith has his own personal account concerning this story about the fairy cross folk tale entitled "The Tears of Fairies." This particular tale has grown highly popular over the years.
Historical records show that a few white settlers arrived in this region of the mountains from the northern United States around 1790, yet it wasn't until after the 1830's tragic exodus of the Cherokee People known as the "Trail of Tears," that larger numbers of white settlers began moving into the area both to farm and dig for gold, which was followed by area copper mining. Unfortunately, the big fortunes that were being made in the area were by the logging barons as they stripped the mountain slopes and ridges of its precious timber and the copper company as they mined and smelted a rich vein of copper that led to an environmental disaster around the turn of the 20th century. With so many natural resources being harvested, it was only a matter of time before the railroad arrived at the turn of the century catapulting Fannin County into a premier mountain tourist attraction.
At the turn of the century a new resource was discovered in the county and before long it became a new venue for tourism. That new resource of plenty was the local mineral springs. The rejuvenating waters of these mineral springs were a big draw to the newly constructed hotels that were being built along the rail line through the new county seat of Blue Ridge. This demand for health benefits ushered in a prosperous tourism trade to Fannin County.
In the early 1900's the Tennessee Valley Authority arrived damming up the lower county reaches of the Toccoa River forming the beautiful scenic waters of Lake Blue Ridge. After the dam completion the lake's cool refreshing mountain waters began to draw an even greater tourism market to the already popular mineral spring attraction in the county.
A wealth of history for Fannin County can be found at the historical Baugh House, now housing the Fannin County Heritage Foundation, located at 411 West First Street in downtown Blue Ridge. The Baugh House was originally built by James Baugh in 1890, and is one of many turn-of-the-century architectural structures in historic downtown Blue Ridge.
Although Blue Ridge is considered to be a city with a population today of roughly 1,200 citizens, the word city does seems to be quite a hefty title for such a small mountain town with so few residents. I prefer to think of Blue Ridge as a beautiful classic mountain town, with an intimacy that is ever so inviting. Today the Blue Ridge city limits have spread to the very shores of Lake Blue Ridge, even though you can't see the lake until you get past the trees.
The development of the downtown historic district of Blue Ridge by means of renovations and new construction, along with the ever expanding commercial development along Highway 515 (east to west) and Highway 5 (north to south) have brought Fannin County to the forefront of other North Georgia mountain communities.
Today Blue Ridge seems to be busting at the seams with progress through the first and into the second decades of the 21st century. Shopping, other amenities and services all along the outer Highways of 515 & 5 only compliment the charming historic downtown shopping, restaurant and art district. Throughout the week and even more so on weekends, the historic downtown district of Blue Ridge is a haven of residents, vacationers and day visitors that enjoy strolling the main-streets of the town, stepping in and out of specialty shops while taking time to linger and observe the many fine artworks within the galleries. There are a variety of restaurants, eateries and coffee shops throughout the county with a nice selection of cuisine offering the comforts of their indoor or outdoor cafe' style in the fresh mountain air.
As often the case throughout the mountains the largest town is also the county seat, yet that's not the way this town began. Morganton, a neighboring Fannin County town founded in 1853 was the original county seat before the railroad came through Fannin County in 1886. Today the historic Fannin County courthouse in downtown Blue Ridge which was constructed in 1937 stands next to the newly constructed 72,000-square foot county courthouse. The old historic courthouse is now the home of the Blue Ridge Mountains Art Association.
Not only does the city of Blue Ridge have all the amenities visitors are looking for, the town is located close to the very shore of Lake Blue Ridge offering water sport recreation, swimming and fishing that are either exciting or tranquil depending on your choice of lake activity.
Blue Ridge is a great destination for a day trip, a getaway or a lifetime. The city of Blue Ridge has it's own unique personality and hospitality, definitely one of the Highlander's top favorites towns.
The Railroad and Blue Ridge
Though some gold and an abundance of copper was discovered in the region along with a large amount of timber being harvested in the surrounding mountains, it would take a railroad to haul out all the natural resources to market. The need for a central railroad hub site to be established in the region led to the founding of the town of Blue Ridge (incorporated in 1886,) which also became the new county seat due to the new rail line. With the coming of the railroad, hotels, restaurants and stores began popping up all along the tracks. The new town of Blue Ridge along with its rejuvenating mineral springs was fated to become a popular health-resort destination and leading commercial center in the region.
Today there are no longer any mineral springs available for visitors to submerge in, even though un-maintained springs still do exist on private property in the area if you know where to look. Yet Blue Ridge has continued to grow as a popular tourism destination replacing the springs of old with luxury lodging equipped with hot tubs and Jacuzzis for relaxing and rejuvenation.
The historic Blue Ridge Depot that received so many visitors at the turn of the century is still a center of attention today; this historic structure was built in 1906 after the first depot burnt down. Today the Depot is the home of the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad offering sightseeing and rail adventure along the banks of the beautiful Toccoa River between the towns of Blue Ridge and McCaysville to the north with a round trip train excursion of about 3 1/2 hours, approximately a 26-miles round trip.
Blue Ridge City Park • Events and Festivals
The picturesque Blue Ridge City Park located in the heart of Blue Ridge's downtown historic district is also positioned along the rail line; the park is home to several of Fannin County's events and festivals. Their main events are the Blue Ridge Mountain Adventure Race, Georgia Mountains Classics Car Show, a Spring and Fall Arts in the Park, and two Plein Air Festivals, Labor Day Barbecue, Halloween Safe Zone and Light Up Blue Ridge Holiday Festival. Check out the Highlander's event calendar for more information on these events.
When the park isn't hosting an event, visitors and county residents alike find the park to be a quiet setting offering picnic tables, a gazebo, and a playground for the kids so they can let off some of that adolescent energy while the adults watch on from a picnic table, comfortable lawn chair or blanket.
Arts and Entertainment
One thing that a trip to downtown Blue Ridge will tell you is how dedicated and committed local citizens are to the Arts. When I say Arts, I am speaking of painters, potters, weavers, writers, musicians, metal smiths, jewelry makers, quilters, wood carvers, glass artists, storytellers and theatrical performers to mention just a few.
The Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Center is conveniently located in the historic Fannin County Courthouse constructed in 1937, a great setting for the arts as well as a great commitment to preserving the historical architecture of Fannin County. With a mountain atmosphere perfectly suited for the creative arts, the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association and the Southern Appalachian Artist Guild has set an ambitious goal for itself to make Blue Ridge a "Top Art Town" in the United States and they're well on their way to accomplishing such a feat. The Art Center's many festivals, exhibitions and classes provide opportunities for local artist to enhance their knowledge, skills and economic opportunities.
Rounding out this expression of creative hands and minds is the Blue Ridge Community Theater with scheduled performances at its newly reconstructed warehouse-theater of 10,000-square feet. Blue Ridge Community Theater provides excellent theatrical performances, great sets, beautiful wardrobes and accompanied music. When attending one of the theatrical performances you might witness a "star of the future" performing here on their way to critical acclaim.
The artist, and performers of Blue Ridge take their craft and love for the arts seriously and enthusiastically invite everyone to attend their events and performances.
At the northern end of Fannin County bordering the state line of Georgia and Tennessee is the historic mountain town of McCaysville founded in 1904 and the second largest town in Fannin County with approximately 1,000 residents. Though today's McCaysville is a tourist destination, McCaysville was once considered only a railroad-mining town along with its neighboring border town of Copperhill Tennessee. These two neighboring towns straddle the state line of Georgia and Tennessee. Though separate towns themselves, together they form one community with two independent histories. So evident is this unique conjunction that a line has been painted down the middle of the intersection, dividing the two towns so visitors can stand with one foot in each state at the same time. Copperhill is the older of the two communities being founded after copper was discovered in the region in 1843. To learn more about the Copper Basin and the affects it had on the region you can visit the Historic Burra Burra Mine site in Ducktown Tennessee just up the road from McCaysville.
Even though the mines have come and gone leaving an environmental disaster in their wake, both the local landscape and these two towns have re-emerged from the ashes finding their own unique identity. With the popularity and close proximity of the Ocoee River Gorge's white water rafting and kayaking combined with the coming of the scenic railroad from Blue Ridge to McCaysville, a new life of tourism has blossomed in this region. The historic downtown districts of these two towns have come alive with unique shops, galleries, restaurants, and cafes' along with local cabin rentals becoming increasingly popular. This new life is drawing visitors and local residents by road and rail to McCaysville to partake in a sample of its historic past alongside its more recent renovations and developments.
One of the more interesting sites in this border town is where two mountain rivers converge at the state line. At this site the Toccoa River flowing northward through the county meets at the base of the bridge along the state line of Georgia and Tennessee to become the renowned Ocoee River. These two rivers, born of the same headwaters in the southern mountains of Fannin County are actually one and the same river with two separate names. Both river names are of Cherokee ancestry.
Along the outskirts of McCaysville are two river front parks, the McCaysville City Park and the Horseshoe Bend Park.
Horseshoe Bend Park on the edge of McCaysville, offers a beautiful setting along the banks of the Toccoa River. This park has more of a rural setting with numerous picnic tables; barbecue pits and pavilions plus a playground making the park ideal for peaceful picnics while the kids see if they can wear out the playground. This park is a wonderful place for reunions and group gatherings and a great spot to access the river for anglers that can't wait to get their waders wet. "Pickin' in Horseshoe Bend Park" is another wonderful family outing, May thru September on Thursday evenings from 6 pm to dark, with artists coming in from NC, TN and GA. The event is sponsored by Fannin County Parks and Recreation and is free to the public.
Other local McCaysville events and festivals include the Miners Homecoming, July 4th Fireworks and the Old Fashioned Mountain Christmas. It's all about the good times and friendly people that make up the heart of McCaysville. Check out the Highlander's event calendar for more information on these events.
The town of Morganton was founded in 1853 as Fannin County's county seat and remained so till 1895 when the county seat was moved to its new home in the newly created town of Blue Ridge. The purpose of moving the county seat was to accommodate the county's growth that would be coming by rail, making Blue Ridge the new founded center of county commerce.
Naturally the citizens of Morganton were displeased that the rail line didn't pass through their community. Although, it was the skilled surveyors and the railroad line developers that decided that it wasn't economically feasible to bring the railroad through Morganton. The rail grade through today's town of Blue Ridge was more ideal for their purpose.
Though disappointed Morganton finally got a piece of the action when Lake Blue Ridge was developed along the town's very edge, bringing water recreation, swimming, hiking and camping to the former county seat. Morganton Point Recreation Area overlooking the sky blue waters of Lake Blue Ridge offers 37 campsites, 13 picnic tables and a shelter with access to swimming, fishing and a boat launch.
Even with this added development Morganton has remained a quiet sleepy little town that hasn't changed much in the last century, a simple wholesome town amongst humble folks.
Today Mineral Bluff is a simple little crossroad town that was once a bustling community when the railroad arrived at the turn of the century. Located at the next rail spot going northeast from the town of Blue Ridge is Mineral Bluff, a town that once boasted as to having the best mineral springs in the region. The brag was all too true considering the large number of folks that came here by rail and later by road to experience their rejuvenating waters. These turn-of-the-century arrivals built summer homes and socialized amongst their new neighbors. Eventually the popularity faded away from mineral baths leaving behind a quiet community consisting of new and local residents.
Still remaining in the town of Mineral Bluff is a historic depot, an old church on the corner that's still in use and a post office located in one of the town's historic structures. Located both in town and scattered around the small surrounding valley are a few other historic buildings left in the Mineral Bluff area, mostly privately owned historic homes that represents Mineral Bluff's finest days as a thriving community.
Other County Communities
Across the mountain and valley lands of Fannin County are various small communities with names like Epworth, Dial, Dew, Higdon, Concord, Coopers Creek, Wilscot Valley, Loving, Fighting Creek, Snake Nation and Hell's Hollow. You're not going to find many town activities in these communities just older community churches, private properties, community developments, a few scattered stores, restaurants/eateries and mostly a lot of quiet. These communities haven't changed much in the last 150-years, the only modernization has been paved roadways, utilities, Internet and home construction.
Though serene to behold these areas are also filled with historic significance as well as being great places to visit while out for a scenic drive. It's in these communities that the great outdoor adventurers find access into the wilds of Fannin County's backcountry along with plenty of cabin rentals for weary travelers looking for a break from the world beyond the mountains.
Scenic Drives and Tours
If you're a vehicle armrest enthusiast visiting Fannin County you'll find great scenic drives throughout the county starting at the very door of your accommodations.
Two designated scenic tours include the Georgia Mountain Parkway and a section of the Southern Highroads Trail. Both of these scenic highways pass right through the town of Blue Ridge along Highway 515/575. Located just over the state line is the Ocoee River Gorge Scenic Byway, a true must for scenic drives.
There's also several Fannin County Self-Guided Driving Tours throughout the county. To acquire directions to these scenic county tours you can download them from BlueRidgeMountains.com or pick up flyers with maps and directions at the Fannin County Welcome Center at 152 Orvin Lance Drive, in Blue Ridge located along Highway 515 across the road from Ingles food store.
Chattahoochee National Forest in Fannin County
Mountains create springs that form tributaries and creeks which shape rivers that form lakes both large and small, natural and man-made yet it is the natural forest that holds these bodies of water together giving life to the waterways and all that dwell within them. This liquid silver from the mountains and heavens offers refreshment to the numerous wildlife that reside throughout the region along with a playground of fun and recreation for the whole family.
From the dense high forest and mountain headwaters of the southern reaches of Fannin County to the vast mountain wilderness lands along the northeastern region of the county, the Chattahoochee National Forest encompasses more than 40% of the county. There is a total of over 100,000-acres of high country rolling out from the southern reaches of Fannin County and along the western border of the county with numerous mountain top altitudes ranging from 1,760 feet to 4,000 feet above sea level at the Cowpen Range.
In its entirety the Chattahoochee National Forest of the North Georgia Mountains covers 749,689-acres and is managed by six ranger districts. It includes 37 developed recreation areas, 500 developed campsites, 200 picnic sites, 6 swim beaches and 530-miles of hiking and biking trails. Chattahoochee National Forest is a wilderness paradise, awaiting those that seek to leave the world of congestion and stress behind and enjoy a place that we often forget exists.
District Ranger Stations Serving the Gilmer County Area
Blue Ridge District Office:
2042 Highway 515 West Blairsville, Georgia 30512
Open Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Cohutta Wilderness Area
Tucked away in the northwestern corner of Fannin County and rolling into neighboring Gilmer County Georgia and across the state line into Tennessee is the Cohutta Wilderness Area, one of the largest wilderness areas in the eastern United States. This 36,977-acre wilderness is part of an even greater 95,265-acre Cohutta Wildlife Management Area that harbors multiple mountain peaks, miles of hiking trails, forestry roadways, remote small hidden valleys, mountain wildlife and the Jacks and Conasauga Rivers. Just across the state line dividing the vast Cohutta Wilderness is the infamous Ocoee River George.
Hidden away in the remote upper reaches of the Cohutta Wilderness, located at 3,150 feet, near the top of Grassy Mountain is Lake Conasauga, the highest lake in Georgia.
Under the management of the National Forest Service this wilderness now thrives after the devastating logging that stripped more than 70% of its forest between 1915 and 1930. Remnants of a rich history lies hidden away within these mountains if you dare to look for it, yet it is the natural essence of this wilderness that has once again returned to this mountainous region drawing adventurers into its thick canopy of new growth forest.
Unlike the ancient Blue Ridge Mountains that lie along the southern reaches of Fannin County, this northwestern region of mountains within the Cohutta Wilderness is more akin to the Unaka Mountain ranges of the Smokies, in both age and development.
Thanks to the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) founded in the 1930's during the great depression, the Cohutta Mountain Wilderness as well as all mountain wildernesses and National Forestry lands throughout the Blue Ridge Mountain Province have become accessible to the public by way of the forestry roads, trails and stone structures that provide shelter, offering an adventurous public a way into of out of these treasured wilderness and forestry areas. A great debt of gratitude goes to this forestry army of laborers, craftsmen and engineers. Through the efforts of the CCC and the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration these cherished mountain lands have been restored and returned to the people of our great nation to enjoy for generations to come.
Rich Mountains and Aska Adventure Area
The Rich Mountains in the southern high country of Fannin County, part of the ancient Blue Ridge Mountain range is likely the most popular and inhabited mountainous region in the county. There is an abundance of cabins and homes scattered throughout and along the fringes of the Rich Mountain's 13,276-acres of forestry lands along with a paradise of trails, waterways, waterfalls and great trout fishing.
The famed north flowing Toccoa River finds it headwaters in this beautiful high mountain area as it works its broad passage around river bends and over its cascading white waters before it spills into the beautiful shoreline of Lake Blue Ridge. Fishing, kayaking, canoeing and tubing along the Toccoa River Canoe Trail are popular recreations and sports here in Fannin County's southern high country. The riverbanks along the Toccoa River are often lined with cabins and vacation homes adding to the picturesque diversity of the Rich Mountain Wilderness. Hiking and mountain biking along the Stanley Gap and Green Mountain Trails take back country visitors into a private world of lush forest, cascading streams and waterfalls, a place lost in time where remnants of old-growth forest still resides. The largest gold nugget ever found in Georgia was discovered in this mountainous region.
Within the rich pristine and primitive world of the Rich Mountains is the Aska Adventure Trails Area. Due to its popularity with outdoor adventurers the area has been a perfect setting for the highly acclaimed Blue Ridge Mountain Adventure Race.
Blue Ridge Mountain Adventure Race
The Aska Adventure Trails Area has become so popular with outdoor enthusiasts that an endurance race was formed to test the skills of the adventurous participants looking for a grueling wilderness challenge.
Beginning in the spring of 1998 the Blue Ridge Mountain Adventure Race began as Georgia's first adventure race and has steadily become a favorite of racers throughout the southeastern United States.
Each April the historic mountain rail town of Blue Ridge and Fannin County hosts the annual Blue Ridge Mountain Adventure Race. Blue Ridge is an ideal location for the race's finishing line with the Aska Adventure Trails Area just south of town.
The race ends each year as festivities begin at Blue Ridge City Park in front of the Arts Center kicking off with a post-race party that includes a reception and meals for the racers.
Up to 100 co-ed teams of three (plus one support person) participate each year in the race. Participants of this physically challenging course run along forested trails, paddle on the Toccoa River and/or Lake Blue Ridge, mountain bike steep trails and complete mystery challenges along the course. Each year the course changes and is only revealed the night before the race to keep the adventure more challenging for all involved.
This event is big time enjoyment for both challengers as well as spectators. For more information go to Fannin County Chamber of Commerce's web site BlueRidgeMountains.com, call 706-632-5680 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for the most current information regarding the race.
Lake Blue Ridge
The crystal blue waters of Lake Blue Ridge are a jewel sitting within a mountain backdrop. With 3,290-acres of liquid fun awaiting visitors, vacation homeowners and full time residents, it is one of the more premier bodies of water in the North Georgia Mountains. The Chattahoochee National Forest encompasses about 80% of the shoreline with the remaining 20 to 25% privately held. There are 90 National Forest campsites, several boat ramps for public access, public swimming and numerous picnic areas.
Lake Blue Ridge is a public lake and offers access to boating, jet skiing, kayaking, swimming and fishing fun for all that enjoy getting a little wet in the lake's refreshing waters. Sportsmen and women cast their lines and test their skills in hopes of hooking up with the lake's plentiful inhabitants such as walleye, small mouth bass, white-pass, bluegill, yellow perch, channel catfish and flathead catfish.
The lake was created from the waters of the Toccoa River by the construction of the Blue Ridge Dam near the edge of the town of Blue Ridge in 1930. The dam was originally constructed by the Toccoa Electric Power Company and was later purchased by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in 1939 for hydroelectric power production.
Rivers, Waterways, Waterfalls and Fishing
Fannin County is a crisscross maze of waterways from babbling springs to rushing creeks to roaring rivers. The Toccoa River, Rock Creek, Coopers Creek and Noontoola Creek are considered regional waterways that hold the characteristics required for anglers to find big trout.
The Toccoa River flows through the very heart and length of Fannin County. Above Lake Blue Ridge the Toccoa River is stocked with trout regularly. Below the dam the catching is usually plentiful. Many anglers like to float-fish from the dam downstream to McCaysville. Water levels can rise suddenly, you would be advised to check the dates and times for water releases from Blue Ridge Dam at 800-238-2264 before your trip.
The land along the many waterways in the county are either privately owned or under the National Forest's management and you'll need to understand which land is which if you intend to access the waterways.
National Forest System lands are open to camping, hiking, fishing, and picnic activities. However, you are responsible for removing all trash you create. Fishing is allowed on segments of the Toccoa River where one or both sides are National Forest System Lands, provided anglers are legally licensed and comply with all state fishing regulations. Otherwise you must obtain permission from private property owners to access the river or even fish from a boat, should it be privately owned on both sides of the river. The local forestry office can help you with that info, Toccoa Ranger District, 6050 Appalachian Highway, Blue Ridge, GA, 706-632-3031.
Both the Jacks and Conasauga Rivers flow through the Cohutta Wilderness Area. Even though they are on public lands, they are fairly remote and only accessible by unpaved forestry roads. Other popular fishing areas are Shallowford Bridge, Tammen Park and Horseshoe Bend Park. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources publishes a comprehensive trout-fishing guide to Georgia, available at the Fannin County Welcome Center.
If you're a real fish lover and want to see the preverbal egg before the chicken you can visit the Chattahoochee National Fish Hatchery located at the extreme southern end of the Fannin County and Union County border near the Deep Hole and Coopers Creek recreation areas. This is a great experience for the whole family especially those young, future great fishing guys and gals. The hatchery is located between the towns of Morganton and Dahlonega along Highway 60.
If you prefer hiking along waterways to fishing there are numerous waterway trails throughout the county that offer access to stunning waterfalls and cascading streams, great photo opportunities for hikers throughout the National Forest in Fannin County. The names of several of these popular waterfalls are Long Creek Falls, Falls Branch Falls, Sea Creek Falls and Jacks River Falls.
White Water Rafting, Kayaking and Canoes
When it comes to river sports some like it mild, while others like it wild, such as white water adventure rafters and kayakers. Fannin County is on the edge of one of the most dynamic sources for white water rafting in the eastern United States, the legendary Ocoee River. Though the Toccoa River is ideal for kayaking, canoeing and tubing, it is it's twin-sister river the Ocoee that offers some of the wildest and adventurous white water experience in the Blue Ridge Mountain Province. When the high mountain headwaters of the Toccoa River reach the county's northern end at the state line where the towns of McCaysville Georgia merges with the town of Copperhill Tennessee, Georgia's Toccoa River miraculously becomes Tennessee's Ocoee River…same river, different state and name.
Just northeast of the towns of McCaysville and Copperhill the Ocoee River enters the Ocoee River Gorge in the Cohutta Wilderness and that's where all the adventure begins. Though the Ocoee River has always been legendary to rafters that know about its world-class rapids, it was in the latter days of the 20th century that the Ocoee River became known to the world during the 1996 Olympics.
The Ocoee River has three distinct characters the Upper, Middle and Lower. It was the Upper Ocoee that got the thumbs up for the 1996 Olympic Kayaking Challenge, which was held at the newly constructed Ocoee White Water Center.
This Upper section of the river was once considered a dead river due to its waters being diverted away from where the White Water Center is today. The river's natural course in front of the center was reformed to create a world-class Olympic course before the river's waters were reintroduce to the ancient river bed.
The Ocoee White Water Center is a beautiful place to visit and watch rafters and kayakers take on the course while onlookers picnic, stroll or lounge along the river's refreshing banks or swim in the Blue Hole just up the river from the White Water Center.
Even though the Upper Ocoee has all of today's white water fame, most rafting guides and kayakers agree it's the wild Middle Ocoee that's the most exciting and beautiful section of the river. The Lower Ocoee section is located just beyond the take out port for commercial rafters, leaving the gentler Lower Ocoee River more appropriate for canoe trips along a journey to the Ocoee Lake below.
When it comes to the Ocoee River, if you want to raft, you'll have to buy a seat, only commercial rafting companies can use the river as regulated by Tennessee's Cherokee National Forest, overcrowding by private rafters can create congestion and danger for the river and its world-class rapids. Also, all rafters must wear helmets on the Ocoee River. When it comes to kayakers there's no restricted access, the river is open to the public use.
For those looking for a gentler white water river to raft on, be it privately or commercially, helmet or no helmet, the Nantahala River is about an hour plus drive northeast of Fannin County into North Carolina along Highway 64 going east.
You can purchase passage along either river through Great Mountain Adventure.
The Ocoee River Gorge was originally used as access to the lower Tennessee Valley to the west. Before the railroad arrived, copper from the Copper Basin was hauled by wagon along crudely hand cut roads through the gorge from above to the railways in the valley below.
Today you can follow this historical path through the Ocoee River Gorge along Highway 64 where the river's every mile offers views of the gorge that are as grand and as thunderous as the river rapids themselves. Along the way sight-seers can pull off the roadway at widen shoulders and watch the river rafters and kayakers paddling, all the while yelling and waving their oars with excitement. This drive along the Ocoee River Gorge Scenic Byway is highly recommended as one of the Blue Ridge Highlander's favorite driving tours.
If a short moderate hike in the gorge is your desire, I recommend taking a stroll along the Old Copper Road Historic Trail that leads north along the southern riverbank. Here you can see and experience the old road in its original form and imagine its rough and bumpy rides from heavy loads of ore that traveled this ancient roadway. There are several trails across the river from the Ocoee White Water Center; all these trails are popular with hikers, backpackers and adventurous mountain bikers.
To know more about these two outstanding rivers the Blue Ridge Highlander offers several online stories for your reading enjoyment.
Mountain Biking and Horseback Riding
Some like to ride the trails rough like the daredevil mountain bikers, enjoying the experiences, thrills and challenges along some of the forestry's finest trials throughout the county. One region that is especially designed for that purpose is the Aska Adventure Trail Area accessible off Aska Road in the southern mountainous region of Fannin County. Another mountain biking area is just across the Tennessee border in the Ocoee River Gorge. These great mountain biking trails can be accessed across the Liberty Bridge in front of the Ocoee White Water Center. For a shorter and more level trail that is good for mountain bike beginners the Old Copper Road Historic Trail is located just west of the Ocoee White Water Center.
Other outdoor enthusiast might prefer a more comfortable saddle than a narrow bike seat. Horseback riding is a very popular attraction in Fannin County with stables offering group rides along the rolling valley floors and foothills. If you are more adventurous, camp-out guided tours and rugged backcountry wilderness rides are also available. Maybe you would just like to cruise along in a horse drawn carriage, possibly take a romantic moonlit ride with your sweetheart or bounce along in a wagon hay ride with the whole family. Whatever you are looking for, you can get your equestrian desires filled in the high country of Fannin County.
The Long Trails
For those who love to hike, there are miles and miles of trails to hike in the National Forest in and around Fannin County. Two legendary trails are the Benton MacKaye Trail and the Appalachian Trail. These two renowned trails will take hikers into the very heart of God's Country.
The world famous Appalachian Trail cuts through the extreme southern end of Fannin County on its long 2,000-mile plus journey from Springer Mountain Georgia to Maine's Mount Katahdin. This is a lifetime adventure for the big hiking-backpackers that want the whole adventure, yet day hikers can also access the trail at most junctions where the trail and highways cross, then exit at one of many other roadway accesses in the North Georgia & North Carolina Mountains depending on how long and far you want to hike.
The Benton MacKaye Trail named after the regional planner who envisioned the Appalachian Trail, begins at Springer Mountain as well. This trail also travels over steep mountains for 90 miles to the border of Tennessee at Highway 64 offering the same feel of the Appalachian Trail yet not as long. When completed The Benton MacKaye Trail is expected to travel a 250-mile loop sharing sections of the Appalachian Trail as well.
There are quite a few other trails in Fannin County to check out. You can get maps to the trails by going into Fannin County Welcome Center at 152 Orvin Lance Drive, right off Hwy 515 in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Hikers can also get detailed information from the Toccoa Ranger District, 6050 Appalachian Highway, Blue Ridge, GA, 706-632-3031.
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Blue Ridge • Aska Adventure Area • Morganton • Mineral Bluff • McCaysville • Epworth • Dial
Fannin County • North Georgia Mountains
| Visit Georgia's Blue Ridge, great downtown, Aska Adventure Area, Lake Blue Ridge to mention a few...
Relax in a mountain cabin overlooking peaceful ridges and valleys. Explore charming mountain towns. Ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. Discover our rivers, streams, lakes and waterfalls. Hike, fish, shop or simply relax.
Go Directly to Fannin County Chamber and Welcome Center's Web Site
• Places to Stay
• Bed and Breakfasts
• Log Cabin Rentals
• Vacation Rentals. Use
the lodging choices below to help you find
your perfect Mountain Getaway in Blue Ridge, Aska Adventure Area, Morganton, Mineral Bluff, McCaysville and Dial in the North Georgia Mountains.
Cuddle Up Cabin Rentals offers many vacation rental cabins which allow you to experience a little piece of heaven every time you visit. Our private luxury cabins provide a getaway retreat for couples, families and friends who love nature and the outdoors. Cuddle Up Cabin Rentals manages these privately owned luxury cabin rentals, all of which are located within minutes of Blue Ridge, Georgia and the beautiful Ocoee River and Toccoa River.
Go to Cuddle Up Cabins' Web site to Check for Special Offers
Pet Friendly Cabin Rentals
Escape the stress of your daily life and enjoy the year-round peaceful surroundings of all of our upscale, privately owned North Georgia mountain cabins. All of our cabins are furnished with tasteful, cabin decor and have all the amenities needed to make your stay a comfortable one. Our cabins feature gas log or wood-burning fireplaces, hot tubs, gas grills, Cable/Satellite TV and high-speed Internet.
Go to Check for Special Offers by Mountain Paws Cabin Rentals
Come and enjoy our Blue Ridge Mountain Cabins with Beautiful Mountain Vistas Rushing Creeks, River Front, Lake and Wooded Views. Perfect for a Romantic Mountain Getaway! Our cabins have Hot Tubs, Fireplaces and some have Pool Tables and Game Rooms. Nevaeh Cabin Rentals offers Luxury Hot Tub Cabins to suit your needs and your Vacation Budget!
No matter why you are coming to the mountains, you will never forget your stay at Nevaeh Cabin Rentals and the tranquil beauty of our Northern Georgia Mountains!!
Go to Nevaeh Cabin Rentals Web Site for Special Offers & Availability
Escape to our beautiful North Georgia Mountains as we invite you to experience true southern hospitality.
Whether traveling for business or a quite mountain getaway, our goal is to make your stay one to remember.
The Blue Ridge Lodge by Comfort Inn & Suites is nestled in Blue Ridge, Georgia, the heart of the North Georgia Mountains. Our mountain lodge style architecture provides the warmth and comfort of your "home away from home" with all the amenities you would expect from a first class hotel
Go to Blue Ridge Lodge's Web Site for Special Offers and Availability
|Adventure, White Water Rafting and Horseback Riding in the Mountains on the Ocoee River....
The Ocoee River is often described as the roller coaster of the southeast. Come experience what has been called the greatest whitewater center in the world.
Professional river outfitter with over 30 years experience. Our safety record is unsurpassed in the industry. We believe our staff is simply the best in the business. Guides are chosen for their character and enthusiasm for sharing the outdoors with you.
|Zipline and Canopy tour in the Ocoee Basin....
Zip Line Canopy Tours
Ocoee • Nantahala Gorge • Chattooga Ridge • Pigeon River
Whichever course you choose you are sure to enjoy the newest outdoor adventure to hit the US. All our courses offer a soaring and gliding experience naturally fueled by a gradual drop in elevation. All trips offer fully guided tours with 2 or more Rangers on at least 10 zips, 4 bridges beginning with a training course at each location.
Fannin County Real Estate, Land, Lots, Acreage, Homes,
Cabins, Log Homes, on the Lake, River, Creeks or with
a great Mountain View. Use
the Real Estate Professionals below to help you find
your perfect Mountain Property in Blue Ridge, Aska Adventure Area, Morganton, Mineral Bluff, McCaysville and Dial in the North Georgia Mountains.
Welcome to Country Corners Realty in the North Georgia Mountains. We are located just north of Blue Ridge, Georgia
We are happy to help you with all of your real estate needs. We offer mountain log cabins, view property, river and creek property, lake front homes and property and large tracts of North Georgia Mountain Property. The Blue Ridge Mountains are fast becoming one of the most desired second home markets anywhere in the US. The North Georgia Area provides the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains, Toccoa and Ocoee Rivers, and Lake Blue Ridge.
Go Directly to Country Corner's Web Site to View Listings...
When making that decision to invest in your future, look no further. Nature's Courtyard will provide you with great mountain views, clean mountain air and sounds from nature that will add peace to your heart.
Nature's Courtyard is an upscale mountain community designed to blend beautifully into the natural landscape, while maintaining covenants and restrictions to protect your investment.
Go Directly to our web site...Natures-Courtyard.com....
| Great Restaurants in Blue Ridge Georgia
While in Blue Ridge, you’ll definitely want to stop by Black Bear Bier Garten to get an authentic Oktoberfest experience, with a huge soft pretzel served and our beer cheese dip. Of course, you’ll need an ice cold Warsteiner or another German beer to wash it all down. Black Bear Bier Garten is great place to stop in for lunch or a casual dinner, with a variety of German as well as local favorites.
At Black Bear you will always find friendly servers and four new large HDTV's tuned into your favorite college or professional sports game. Come early and get your choice of the best seating for you and your friends to have a great time...good food, good drinks, good people, what more could you ask for.
Go directly to our web site...BlackBearBierGarten.com
|Blue Ridge Community Theater
Blue Ridge Community Theater invites you to "Come Out and Play."
There is nothing like the energy you feel when attending a live performance and we are here to help you experience that feeling. Blue Ridge Community Theater's mission is to enrich the cultural life of residents and visitors through performances, productions and education of all aspects of contemporary and classic theater.
2013 we will be hosting 7 Main Stage Shows with 12 Performances for each show, 8 evenings of music along with 13 Sunny D Performance, our Children's Theater Program.
Go Directly to our web site.....BlueRidgeCommunityTheater.com
| The Galleries of Blue Ridge Georgia
The Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association is passionate about art. Our Art Center Team is devoted to bringing new exhibits, new events, and new programs to our community through art and culture.
We endeavor to provide a haven for artists to flourish and grow. We measure success by the success of our artists and the many galleries that help to make up our Art Town in the mountains of Blue Ridge, Georgia. We boast the largest Gallery Experience in the North Georgia Mountains, come visit us and experience a true Art Town in the Mountains.
Go Directly to our web site.....BlueRidgeArts.net
Experience the best of what the Southern lifestyles in the Appalachia provide and you will find the remarkable paintings of fine artist Anthony Abreu. His work embraces the best of what Southern culture and heritage have to offer.
His oil paintings and watercolors capture your heart and your attention. His attention to detail is captivating, his subjects speak to the heart, and his gifted talents are representative in every piece he presents.
Go Directly to Anthony Abreu's web site.....AbreuFineArtGallery.com
Blue Ridge Georgia a Town of Art & Galleries
Blue Ridge Georgia has worked together to become the Mountain Art Destination with a very diversified selection of Galleries, each with their own style and personality.
We would like to invite you to come to Blue Ridge Georgia and experience the art in the mountains. The Galleries of Blue Ridge have monthly gallery tours, come enjoy the art of many talented artists and find your own piece of creativity from the mountains.
|Fannin County Builders and Building Supply Services working
throughout North Georgia Mountains. Check out
the Services below to help you build your perfect Mountain
Getaway or full time Residency in Blue Ridge, Aska Adventure Area, Morganton, Mineral Bluff, McCaysville and Dial in the North Georgia Mountains.
My name is Mike Williams, and I have lived in these mountains my entire life and have been building homes for 20 years, I understand mountain land better than most and always take that into consideration when designing homes. I feel it is important to build homes that blend well with the landscape not only in aesthetics, but also in the basic foundation of the home. This assures you that your home is structurally sound and well built on the land of your choice.