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Rabun Bald Day Hike GA

Hiking Trail Map & Guide

High Summit near Clayton GA

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Rabun Bald, the second highest peak in Georgia 4696 ft., is squeezed into the northeast corner of Georgia, within a few miles of North Carolina to the north and South Carolina to the east.  The views are spectacular with 360 degree unobstructed view so don't forget your camera.

To get to the trail head from Highlands, NC, travel west on NC 106.  In approximately 7.3 miles, at Scaly Mountain Ski Area, take a left near Post Office onto paved road.  Bear right in approximately 2 miles (don't take Hale Ridge road).  Soon (approximately 1 mile) just before the road drops to Sky Valley, bear left at "National Forest Hiking Trail Ahead" sign (see picture below) onto Kelsey Mountain Rd.  Follow this road for approximately a quarter mile where it dead ends into the Beegum Gap parking area (see pictures below) ( Approximate GPS Coordinates 3458'45.39"N 8318'11.21"W ).

There are two trails to the summit from the parking area.  The recommended path is on the left.  It is 1.4 miles one way to the summit (we estimated 1.6 for our profile below) and for the most part is a dirt path in the woods.  The path ascends 1000+ ft along most of its length.  The jeep road on the right is longer, highly eroded, rocky, and generally less enjoyable of a walk.

The path on the left climbs through mostly hardwood forest.  At approximately a quarter mile, the Bartram Trail from the north joins the path on the left .  Stay right continuing south and uphill on the Bartram Trail.  In approximately 0.8 miles, the trail intersects the deadend terminus of the rough jeep trail that began at the trailhead.  There may be some vehicles parked here.  The Bartram Trail to the summit continues on the left (in Spring of 2008 there was a trail sign).  The trail continues to climb and eventually levels out along the summit ridge within a "tunnel" of Rhododendrons. Shortly afterwards the trail arrives at the summit, capped with a stone observation platform that offers a unobstructed 360 degree view above the trees (Summit Approximate GPS Coordinates 3457'55.46"N 8317'59.48"W ). On your return, be careful to take the same path down.  There are many trails that intersect at the summit and it is very easy to go the wrong way.

Other hikes near Rabun Bald:


Rabun Bald Trail GA Profile with Distance and Elevation
 Rabun Bald Trail Profile from Beegum Gap, GA 

Rabun Bald from highway 28 pullout south of Highlands NC
 Rabun Bald from Highway 28 pull off south of Highlands, NC 


Rabun Bald from north
 Rabun Bald from North 


Sky Valley GA from Rabun Bald Summit
 Sky Valley GA from Rabun Bald Summit 


Distance 2.8 miles round trip
Best Guide Bartram Trail Guides
Other Area Guides     Hiking Trails of North Georgia
    North Georgia Mtns Pocket Companion
    Trekking the Southern Appalachians
    Other GA Guides
    USA Guides
    Georgia Atlas & Gazetteer

Rabun Bald Summit View East toward Chattooga River Wilderness and SC Piedmont
 View South East from Rabun Bald toward Chattooga River Valley and the South Carolina Piedmont 


Rabun Bald Trail Head - ( 3458'45.39"N 8318'11.21"W )Rabun Bald Summit Trail and Gravel RoadSign at Rabun Bald Trailhead
 Beegum Gap parking Area - Trail Starts to the Left (jeep road to the right) - sign at Trail Head 

Trail, Rabun Bald
 First Half Mile, Rabun Bald 

Rhododendron Tunnel along Summit Ridge, Rabun Bald
 Rhododendron Tunnel along Summit Ridge, Rabun Bald 

Rabun Bald Summit View North toward Scaly Mtn, NC
 View North toward Scaly Mtn, NC 

Rabun Bald Summit Observation Tower 3457'55.46"N 8317'59.48"W
 Rabun Bald Observation Tower 

Rabun Bald northwest view toward Standing Indian Mountain, NC
 View Northwest toward Standing Indian Mountain  

Rabun Bald Road Sign
 Road Sign for Rabun Bald at Kelsey Mtn Rd