Russell - Brasstown Scenic Byway • Chattahoochee National Forest

For the tablet mobile version of this drive along with a GPS Map, click here.

For the phone version of this drive along with a GPS Map, click here

Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway is best described as going to the rooftop of North Georgia Mountains.  This 38-mile trek ascends the very heights of the Georgia’s mountain country and brings you into contact with some of the most spectacular natural wonders the North Georgia Mountains have to offer.

To experience this treasured scenic driving tour go north from Helen in White County, Georgia on highway 17-75 approximately 2 and a half miles and make a left onto alternate highway 17 may also be marked GA 356.  You know you made the right turn if you crossed the bridge over the Chattahoochee River just pass the flea market and tubing company. A short drive thru the foothills of White County will bring you to GA 348, a forestry sign reading Russell-Brasstown Scenic By-Way will indicate a right turn onto GA 348 here is where your journey begins.

You now enter the Chattahoochee National Forest and begin your ascent.  Watch for Dukes Creeks Falls sign on the left side of the road, Here you’ll find a parking area, at the end of the parking area is an overlook view of the Georgia lowlands along with the sight of Yonah Mountain setting solely on the horizon. If you take the path along one side of the parking area you’ll come to the observation deck overlooking Dukes Creek falls below, if you continue on the trail it will take you down below the falls for a closer view the climb back up is strenuous.  In a more in-depth story the Highlander will explore a shorter route to the top of the falls, that will be included in our virtual tour of Russell-Brasstown Scenic By-Way. 

Leaving the Dukes Creek Falls parking area you continue the scenic drive, after a very short distance you’ll arrive at Raven Cliffs Falls Trail in Raven Cliffs Wilderness.  Turn left following the road to the parking lot. The trail to Raven Cliffs follows along Dodd’s Creek passing several modest waterfalls before reaching Raven Cliff Falls.  Here you reach the trails namesake when you encounter the massive rock cliffs rising vertically from the floor below with Raven Cliff Falls (Dodd’s Creek) pouring through a crevasse and down the cliffs, this is a very popular trail located on the very edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Back on GA 348 you continue driving upward winding thru the Chattahoochee National Forest.  Along the road you’ll encounter several overlooks, the higher go the larger the vista. Just before reaching the roads summit an overlook on the left looks down onto North Georgia’s Dahlonega Gold Belt.  A full view of Yonah Mountain is seen from here with the mountains large cliff face dominating the view; this mountain is very popular with rock climbers and repelling.  The Georgia Piedmont stretches across the horizon as far as the eyes can see. 

Leaving the overlook you climb the curve to Hogpen Gap and cross the Appalachian Trail. If you have time you can always stop and take a break here and take a short hike on the trail just so you can tell your friends you hike a piece of the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail even if you only walk for 15 minutes.  Just past the Appalachian Trail parking lot is an overlook of the interior of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The view from here is spectacular, the accompanying picture above is such a view, and the highest point in the distance is Brasstown Bald and the finale point of this journey. 

The descent down the mountain is steep, you might want to put the transmission into a lower gear, refer to Driving Tips.  You’ll glide down the mountain slope for several miles before reaching the foot of the mountain, slow down and put your transmission shift back into drive, form here you continue along narrow pasture-lands until GA 348 ends.  Take a right on GA 180 and continue east for several miles, a long ascent will take you to the entrance of Brass town Bald on the left. 

After entering the park a steep paved winding road will lead you to the upper parking area just below the bald.  Along the way you’ll witness beautiful mountain scenery.  One of the Highlanders favorite times to visit Brasstown Bald is when the Rhododendron are in bloom in late spring and early summer, fall is always a great time to visit.  Next to the parking area is a gift shop and a trailhead to the top of the bald.  The trail is paved but steep about a half a mile up, I’ve hiked the trail up before but prefer to pay a modest fee for the tour bus ride up, the prepaid ride will take you back down also, if your not in a hurry you can take on the trail back down it’s more enjoyable that way a walking stick will relieve some of the pressure off your knees along the descent. 

At the very top of Brasstown Bald is a huge circular stone and wood observation deck with a stone tower large enough to be seen from the valleys below. The tower always been closed when I’ve visited each time likely needs renovation the tower very old.  There’s a sizable museum along side the observation deck with some very nice displays and an interpretive film about the evolution of Brasstown Bald and surrounding mountains visitors should make time to see these events. 

The views from the top of Brasstown Bald are stupendous; from here you can view all of the North Georgia Mountains and parts of southwestern North Carolina. To the west is the great valley of the southern most Blue Ridge Mountains with Blood Mountain and Duncan Ridge running along the southern part of the valley and the Rich Mountains and the mountains of the Cohutta Wilderness forming the western border of the valley.  To the east is the Enchanted Valley and the crystal blue waters of Lake Chatuge and the town of Hiawassee in Towns County.  Just below Brasstown Bald to the northwest is Track Rock Gap, prehistoric site of the ancient petroglyph, stone carving dating back 10,000 years.  There’s a trail from the top of Brasstown Bald to Track Rock Gap but it’s a long trail and what goes down must come back up.  You can reach this extraordinary site by a paved road just off of highway 76 east of Blairsville; you can obtain a map to the site at the local Blairsville welcome center on highway 515. 

Brasstown Bald is considered the highest point in North Georgia at 4,784 feet, the massive mountain range of Brasstown Bald divides the counties of Union and Towns and sets dead center of the North Georgia Mountains.  Yet some consider Rabun Bald in Rabun County North Georgia, standing at 4,696 is a statistics error.  The hike to the top of Brasstown Bald is half a mile where as the hike to the top of Rabun Bald’s from the parking lot is 2 miles.  Fans of Rabun Bald claim the view from the observation tower is better. You can visit both and see for yourself yet Brasstown Bald does have that fancy mountain history museum and I don’t want to squabble over a few feet plus they do offer that tour bus ride to the top.

Russell-Brasstown Scenic By-Way is a breath taking experience.  This 38-mile day trip that will leave you spell bound and hungry for more.

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Blairsville Union County

Each Season Something New Each season there’s something new in Blairsville-Union County! Spring and summer outdoor lovers will hike endless trails, see breathtaking views atop Brasstown Bald, visit rushing waterfalls, and relax on serene Lake Nottely. Delight in the explosion of autumn leaf color or cuddle up in a cozy winter cabin.

Vacation Cabin Rental Property Management


Whether you purchased your mountain home as an occasional getaway, an investment, or the destination of your future retirement, we realize the importance that it be respected as your home first and foremost.

It is our objective to provide you with both quality property management as well as a rental program to help offset some of the expense of owning a 2nd home. Through the combined knowledge of all of us at Great Mountain Cabin Rentals, we have the expertise to help you understand and create a Great Mountain Cabin Rental.


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My Cozy Cabin Rental

Pet Friendly - My Cozy Cabin is a wonderful 2-bedroom, 1-bath cabin located in Blairsville Georgia. This cabin has easy access from Hwy 515, yet has privacy with a great yard to play in. Bring your fishing gear and see what you can find in the pond. This cabin has plenty of decks great for outdoor entertaining. A fire pit beside the house offers the opportunity for great campfire stories and smore roasting. Wake up in the Master Bedroom, open the balcony doors to the fresh mountain air. What a great way to wake up to the mountains. This cabin is equipped with tons of family friendly movies to keep the kids entertained.

Enchanted Mountain Retreats

We pride ourselves with excellent customer service. We treat each guest as an individual and address your needs specifically so that we can tailor a perfect vacation package just for you and your family. We take care to choose the best cabins available to insure that your stay with Enchanted Mountain Retreats is a great mountain experience. Rest assured that you will find your cabin clean and in good repair, we also empty, sanitize and refill our hot tubs between each rental. Our standards are high and that benefits you, we check your cabin before you check in the make sure it is ready for your arrival.

Real Estate

Tim Noland, Realtor - Buyer's Agent

When looking to buy mountain property, you need someone that not only understands the mountains, you need someone that specifically represents you, the buyer. When you choose to work with a Buyer's Agent you are assured that you have an agent that is truly looking for your best interests, someone that will not only find what you are looking for, but someone that will negotiate the best price possible.

ERA Carolina Mountain Homes in Murphy North Carolina

Based in Murphy NC and serving highly satisfied customers since 1978, ERA Carolina Mountain Homes is a full service real estate office ready to serve YOUR needs. We cover five mountain region counties in NC and GA - the Murphy, Andrews, Brasstown and Hayesville NC areas; and the Blue Ridge, Blairsville and Young Harris/Hiawassee areas. Go directly to our Web Site to view available properties.

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Tighe White Construction, Residential and Commercial Builder

Over the years, Tighe White Construction has developed an excellent reputation in the North Georgia and Western North Carolina mountains, for their attention to details, caring customer service and high level of workmanship. Tighe uses cutting-edge CAD software to quickly and efficiently design your new construction. This allows our clients to preview realistic 3-D views of the exterior and interior of their new construction, so that you can visualize the finished look and feel, long before we break ground.

Outdoor Adventure

Whitewater Rafting

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.

Whitewater Express Adventure

Adventure Camp on the Ocoee & Nantahala Rivers


White Water Rafting on the Ocoee and Nantahala Rivers • Horseback Riding • High and Low Ropes Course • Giant Swing • Caving • Paint ball • Mountain Biking • Camping & Cabin Rentals

Catch the surge and ride the rapids on the exciting Ocoee River in Tennessee or North Carolina's Nantahala River for an experience you won't forget. Challenge your skills on the high ropes just for the thrill. Sit tall in the saddle for a leisure ride through the beautiful scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Camp out or stay in log cabins while letting the kids sleep in groups in one of several bunkhouse's. We will help you create a custom retreat for you or your group.

Canopy Tours on the Nantahala Gorge, Chattooga Ridge and Pigeon River

Zip Line Canopy Tours
on the
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.

Guided Fishing Trips on the Nottley River and Lake Nottley

Fishing Trips in the Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Great mountain adventures is offering the "Best Fishing" available in the Mountains. We create a fishing trip, designed specifically towards your needs with a professional fishing guide to guide you to make the most of your fishing adventure on the Finest Lakes, Rivers and Streams in the Southern Appalachians! Trout Treks • Bass Fishing • Wade Trips • Pan Fishing • Fly Fishing Instruction • Private Trophy Trout Waters • Drift Boat Trips. So much water to choose from and an adventure you'll never for more information.

Blue Ridge Community Theater

Blue Ridge Community Theater

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.

Farmer's Market

Union County Farmer's Market in Blairsville GA

The Union County Farmer's Market has over 60 covered vendor spaces in our outdoor setting. The facility located at 148 Old Smokey Road off of Weaver Road is home to a variety of events and festivals outside of the seasonal market. Those events include a ramp festival, strawberry jubilee, trash to treasures sale, relay for life event, and an outdoor business expo.