Brasstown Bald via Jacks Knob Trail Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, GA
DIFFICULTY 16.6 Medium
DURATION 2-4 hours
There And
Back Again
Brasstown Bald via Jacks Knob Trail

The more difficult the route, the better the view. Tell yourself this as you sweat up the Jacks Knob Trail to Brasstown Bald instead of taking the half-mile Summit Trail. Climb more than 2200 feet in less than 3 miles from Jacks Gap as you hike the seemingly endless switchbacks up to Wolfpen Ridge. The view may be the same even if you drove up, but you'll appreciate it at least 10% more.

While the Jacks Knob Trail stretches from Brasstown Bald to the Appalachian Trail, this hike only covers the north half. Begin at Jacks Gap at the base of the road that leads to the summit. A small pull off for parking is on the left before the metal gate. The trail begins past the info board (with nothing on it at the time) near the metal gate for the road.

After quickly crossing an old road, the trail starts to pick up elevation. At .4 miles you'll begin a mile-long series of switchbacks as you head straight up to the ridge. This is by far the most difficult section of the hike, gaining 1000 feet over the mile. At 1.6 miles the trail begins to level out. Check out a small view on the right before the trail descends to the several hundred car parking lot directly in front of Brasstown Bald.

Walk through the parking lot and to the Summit Trail between the General Store and restrooms. Although a paved path, the Summit Trail is still quite steep as it ascends more than 400 feet in just over half a mile to arrive at the Visitor Center and observation deck at the summit.

The large Visitor Center has many information displays as well as restrooms and the Mountain Top Theater shows a short film about the area. Take the stairs behind the theater to the expansive observation deck. Unfortunately you can't climb up the fire tower as it is not open to the public, but you'll still get amazing views in all directions. As Georgia's highest mountain summit, nothing but the clouds block your view. Explore around and look out for signs detailing the surrounding mountains.

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Elevation Map Length (miles) by Elevation (feet)
Slope Breakdown
Elevation Gain
Elevation Range
Grade Range
Elevation Gain
0 - 250 ft/mi
~ 0 - 5 %
0.3 mi
32 ft
250 - 500 ft/mi
~ 5 - 10 %
0.5 mi
201 ft
500 - 750 ft/mi
~ 10 - 15 %
0.7 mi
419 ft
750 - 1000 ft/mi
~ 15 - 20 %
0.7 mi
556 ft
1000+ ft/mi
~ 20+ %
0.8 mi
1065 ft
For out-and-back hikes, elevation loss is the same as the gain.
Terrain Map Click to control map
0.0 mi
0.0 mi - Trailhead at Jacks Gap Head past the empty info sign near the metal gate. Look for the trail post.
0.1 mi
0.1 mi - Cross Old Road
1.9 mi
1.9 mi - View on Right Short side trail to a small view on the right.
2.2 mi
2.2 mi - Cross Parking Lot Come to the end of the Jacks Knob Trail. Cross the large parking lot to head up the Summit Trail between the two buildings on the other end.
2.5 mi
2.5 mi - Pass Wagon Train Trail on Right
2.9 mi
2.9 mi - Brasstown Bald Summit Brasstown Bald summit, Visitor Center and observation deck.
length5.9 miles
difficulty16.6 Medium-Hard
duration2 - 4 hours
features Dog Friendly  History  Summit  Views 
trail typeThere And Back Again
blazeBlue (Jacks Knob), None (Summit)
elevation gain2230 ft.
state Georgia 
park/forestChattahoochee-Oconee National Forest
ranger districtBlue Ridge Ranger District
2042 Highway 515 West
Blairsville, GA 30512
parking feeNone
trailhead coordinates 34.847841, -83.798725 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 34°50.87, W 83°47.92 (Degree Minutes, MinDec)
N 34°50'52'', N 34°50'52'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Trailhead Directions
34.847841, -83.798725 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 34°50.87, W 83°47.92 most GPS units use this one
N 34°50'52'', N 34°50'52'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Google Map It
Turn off GA-180 like you're heading up to Brasstown Bald but immediately look for the parking pull off on the left before you pass through the metal gate.
Parking Capacity
8-10 vehicles.
Hiked in late April. There was snow on the observation deck. Bring a jacket.
Even if the road and facilities to the summit are closed due to weather, all trails are still open.
Rocky and rooty with a few downed trees but nothing too difficult to get around.
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Reviews / Comments
Average Review Rating
5 (1)
hikethesouth-5 years ago
Left Right Left Right
This is by far the switchback-y-est hike I've been on. Back and forth up to the ridge. But once you make it past the initial climb, the rest of the hike is much easier. You can't beat the views but you certainly won't feel remote with the large visitor center and shuttles going up and down from the summit. It's still a worthwhile hike any day. But seriously, notice the size of the parking lot and avoid fair weather weekends.
Medium-Hard | Hiked Spring 2019
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