Hike to the highest summit in Georgia for a truly incredible sunset view. From the observation deck at Brasstown Bald, you can watch the sunset over the stunning foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
The short but challenging hike to the summit of Brasstown Bald is well worth it for a sunset view.
In this post, I’ll tell you all about this spectacular hike, including trail info, how to time your hike to the sunset, and important tips you’ll need to know before you go.
Brasstown Bald: Georgia’s Highest Peak
Brasstown Bald is the highest peak in Georgia. At the top of this mountain 4,784 feet above sea level is an observation deck that allows for stunning 360-degree, panoramic views of the surrounding Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, the Southern Appalachian Mountains and, on a clear day, four states (Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina).
Rumor has it that on a perfectly crystal clear day, you can even see the skyscrapers of downtown Atlanta.
It’s no wonder then that Brasstown Bald is one of the best sunset hikes in Georgia.
Hiking the Brasstown Bald Summit Trail
The Brasstown Bald Summit Trail connects the parking lot to the observation deck. It is a very steep 0.6 mile paved foot trail.
It is really, really steep, y’all.
You’ll be huffing and puffing and stopping for a lot of breaks, but I promise the view is worth it. Especially at sunset.
The paved trail departs from between the gift shop and the restroom pavilion. The trail ascends through the cover of trees. The path soon crosses the access to the Wagon Train Trail before continuing its steep climb.
There are benches for you to rest on, but I would advise against sitting down; it’ll just be that much harder to get back up. Instead, I recommend reading the information plaques on the ecology of the mountain while you rest. This will give you good stopping points and help distract you while you catch your breath.
The summit trail goes through two steep switchbacks before crossing over the road. You’re almost there! If you look up through the trees, you may be able to see the observation tower.
The trail ends with a glorious view of the massive observation tower and deck. As you approach the tower, you’ll start to get a glimpse of the incredible view of the surrounding mountains. But of course the view is better from higher up, so continue on up the steps to the top of the observation deck!
Brasstown Bald Sunset Hike
For your sunset hike, you’ll want to budget enough time to get to the observation platform before the sun goes down, especially if it’s your first time to the summit. You’ll want to have plenty of time to take in the views while there’s still light out.
It took us about 15 minutes to make the hike from the parking lot to the observation platform. We even took plenty of breaks to catch our breath and read the information plaques on the way up.
There’s still plenty of sunlight an hour before the official sunset time. About 30-20 minutes before sunset, the surroundings start to get shadowy. And about 10 minutes before sunset is when the color of the sky starts to change.
You won’t want to miss the moment that the sun dips behind the mountains on the horizon. And stay for a while after sunset as the sky will still have an amazing array of colors.
Depending on how long you stay after sunset, the trail back down may be very dark. Be sure to pack a flashlight. Going down will be a lot easier than it was going up!
Other Hiking Trails at Brasstown Bald
There is plenty more hiking to do at Georgia’s tallest mountain. The 5.5 mile Arkaquah Trail descends the mountain. The 4.5 mile Jacks Knob Trail leads to the Appalachian Trail. And the 5.8 mile Wagon Train Trail leads to Wagon Trail Road, which ends at Young Harris College.
Tips for Visiting Brasstown Bald
While the Visitors Center at the summit has hours of operation, the observation platform is always accessible as long as the road up the mountain is open. So while you can visit Brasstown Bald anytime, there are a few differences you should know between the on-season and the off-season.
Visiting During the On-Season
During the on-season in the spring through fall, the Visitors Center is open Thursday to Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
There is a shuttle service that provides easy access to the summit so that you don’t have to make the strenuous hike. The shuttle operates from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. with a short break in shuttle service from 12:30 p.m. to 1:10 p.m. and the last shuttle ticket sold around 4:30 p.m.
There is a $8 per person fee for those over 16 during operational hours. This fee includes the entrance fee and the shuttle fee, and you’ll have to pay the full amount even if you aren’t planning on using the shuttle. After operational hours, you only pay the $5 entrance fee per person over 16.
The Visitors Center at the top of the mountain also contains a museum with cultural and natural history exhibitions, and there is a short film about the dramatic weather and changing seasons at Brasstown Bald.
Visiting During the Off-Season
During the off-season in the winter, you’re still able to hike the trails and access the observation deck if the mountain road is open. But the road can often be closed in the winter for snow and ice. You can check for road closures on the USDA website.
You’ll pay the $5 after hours entrance fee during the off-season.
Keep in mind that the facilities are closed during the off-season, including restroom access. There is one outhouse-style restroom in the middle of the parking lot that remains open during the off-season.
You can check the Brasstown Bald Facebook page for updates about when the season ends and begins.
Where to Stay Near Brasstown Bald
Turn your day trip into a weekend in the mountains. Check out these amazing cabins in Hiawassee for a close stay near Brasstown Bald.
- Cabin with a mountain view, hot tub, and fire pit
- Cabin with a lake/mountain view, hot tub, and pet friendly
- Logan’s Ridge: Mountain home with spectacular views
Things to Do Near Brasstown Bald
Looking for more things to do before your sunset hike? Check out these ideas:
- Explore the wineries in North Georgia
- Discover the Alpine village of Helen, Georgia
- Visit Ellijay, the Apple Capital of Georgia
Ready to visit Hiawassee, Georgia? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book your flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find Accommodation: You can find top cabin rentals in Hiawassee on VRBO.
- Get Packing: Make sure you’ve packed everything you need with my packing list resources.
Have you hiked Brasstown Bald at sunset? Let me know in the comments!