Rabun Bald - Bartram Trail - GA

June 19, 2007

Today's hike was on the Bartram Trail to the summit of Rabun Bald (Georgia's second highest peak at 4,696 ft.). We split into two groups with some doing the longer hike from Hale Ridge Road (8.4 mi. round trip) and the others doing the hike from Kelsey Mountain Road (4 miles).

HIKERS - Bill Hunt, Jack Jacobi, Linda Johnson, Bob Magee, Fred Marland, Dick Metzgar, Lynne Porter-Whitmire, Pom Sinnock, David Whitaker, Geri Whitaker, Carole Wintle

TRAIL INFO. - This hike takes you to the second highest point in Georgia and gives some of the most awesome mountain views on a clear day. Rabun Bald can be accessed several ways and today we took two different options. Our usual hike for Rabun Bald is from the intersection of the Bartram Trail with Hale Ridge Road. This gives a nice hike of 8.4 miles round trip. The second option today was from Kelsey Mountain Road where a connector trail leads up the Bartram Trail and on up to Rabun Bald which is approximately 4 mi. round trip. This hike is always beautiful as it climbs through an awesome hardwood forest loaded with Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel with a great variety of other wildflowers along with some of the best mountain views in the state. The elevation change makes it a very good cardiovascular workout.

Directions: Take Hwy. 441 N from Clayton, GA through Dillard, GA and turn right onto GA 246 / NC 106 toward Highlands, NC. Drive about 7 miles and turn right at the old Scaly Mtn. Ski Slope. Go a couple of miles and take the left fork onto Hale Ridge road. Drive a mile or so and you will see the trail crossing sign on your right. For Kelsey Mountain Road access, do not take the left turn on Hale Ridge but continue another mile or so and look for Kelsey Mountain Road and turn left and drive to the end of the pavement and you will see the access trail on your right.

Another great day for a hike! Mostly cloudy with an hour of sun mid-morning. Temp range was 62 to 76 .

Hiking distance - 8.4 mi and 4 mi.

WILDFLOWERS IN BLOOM: Milkweed, Galax, Flame Azalea, Whorled Loosestrife, Wild Hydrangea, Squaw Root, Spiderwort, Goat's Beard, Rosebay Rhododendron, Tall Bluet, Indian Physic, Mountain Laurel, Sun Drop, Fire Pink, Meadow Rue, Sweet Azalea, Swamp Azalea, Yarrow, Spurge, Bush Honeysuckle.

BIRDS IDENTIFIED: Towhee, Oven Bird, Crow, Black Throated Blue Warbler, Pine Warbler, Wood Thrush, Cat Bird, Purple Martin, Junco, Raven, Hooded Warbler, Blue Jay, Red Eyed Vireo, Black and White Warbler, Cardinal.

scroll down for photos.......

Two starting points today. left - Hale Rigde Road Bartram Trail junction. right - Kelsey Mountain Road.
Another great day for a hike!!
Some of today's wildflowers! top left and clockwise - Bush Honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera ), Goat's Beard (Aruncus dioicus), Flame Azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum), Swamp Azalea (Rhododendron viscosum).
Trail junction marker. .
The famous Rabun Bald observation tower!
Lunchtime at Rabun Bald (elevation 4,696 ft.)
Looking down to the town of Sky Valley.
A Dark-eyed Junco making a landing at the Rabun Bald observation deck! great photo by David Whitaker!
Nice views despite the clouds and haze.
Headed back down the mountain.

The OFHC gang for today's hike. (l-r) David Whitaker, Fred Marland, Dick Metzgar, Bill Hunt, Geri Whitaker, Lynne Porter-Whitmire, Linda Johnson, Carole Wintle, Bob Magee, Pom Sinnock, Jack Jacobi .

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