One of the premier hikes in the south. If you’re looking to climb the highest point in Georgia the hard way, then there is really only one choice. The Arkaquah Trail. This 12(ish) mile trail will lead you from Trace Rock gap following the ridgeline all the up way to Brasstown Bald. With a height of 4,784, Brasstown Bald is the highest point in Georgia.
But don’t take this trail lightly, it makes our list of one of the toughest trails in Georgia and is a popular training run for locals looking for fast and steep elevation.
Below is a video of our day on the trail and a few tips for your trip!
- Arkaquah Trail is the premier hike in Georgia for climbing Brasstown Bald, the state’s highest point.
- It’s a challenging 12-mile trail with a steep elevation gain of 3,784 ft.
- Parking at Trace Rock Gap is limited, and the trail leads to Brasstown Bald visitor center.
- Be prepared for the initial 1.5 miles with a rapid gain of 1,800 ft.
- Plan for almost 5 miles of downhill hiking at the end.
- Best views are in winter (Nov-March) when leaves have fallen.
The Arkaquah Trail, Georgia
Basic Trail Info
Distance: 11.5-12 Miles
Elevation Gain: 3,784 ft
Type: Out and Back
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Parking at Trace Rock Gap is limited and may fill up quickly, and the lot is not paved, making it potentially challenging for cars with low ground clearance to park. The Arkaquah Trail leads you to the Brasstown Bald visitor center parking lot, where you’ll continue your journey on a paved trail to reach the lookout tower at the mountain’s summit, which is roughly 3/4 of a mile away.
It’s essential to note that there is little to no water available for filtering on the trail, although vending machines at the Brasstown Bald visitor center might offer some relief. However, during Covid-19 times, the water fountains may or may not be operational, so it’s wise to plan accordingly.
The initial 1.5 miles of this hike are exceptionally challenging, involving an ascent of nearly 1,800 feet in a short distance. Adequate preparation is crucial for this strenuous section. While most hikers tend to focus on the uphill gain, it’s worth noting that you’ll encounter nearly 5 miles of downhill terrain towards the end of the hike. If you find yourself moving slowly downhill, factor this in when planning your time and nutrition.
The Arkaquah Trail rewards hikers with stunning views, but these vistas are primarily visible during the winter months when the leaves have fallen. Therefore, it’s advisable to plan your trip between November and March to fully appreciate the trail’s scenic beauty.
Tips for the Arkaquah Trail
- Parking at Trace Rock Gap is limited and may fill up quickly. The lot is not paved so cars with low ground clearance may have trouble parking.
- The Arkaquah Trail technically takes you to the Brasstown Bald visitor center parking lot. You will follow the paved trail from here to the lookout tower at the top of the mountain. Roughly 3/4 of a mile each way.
- There is little to no water available for filtering on the trail. There are vending machines at the Brasstown Bald visitor center. But during covid-19 times they may or may not have the water fountains turned on. So plan accordingly.
- The first 1.5 miles of this hike are very challenging as you will gain close to 1,800ft of gain in that short period. Be prepared.
- While it’s the gain that most people focus on. You will have almost 5 miles of downhill at the end of the hike. If you are slow moving downhill just take this into account when planning your time and nutrition.
- The Arkaquah Trail has some great views but they are mostly visible in winter once all of the leaves have fallen. Try to plan your trip from Nov-March.
The Arkaquah Trail stands as the ultimate hiking challenge in Georgia, offering adventurers a demanding ascent to the state’s highest peak, Brasstown Bald. With its steep elevation gain and stunning views (best enjoyed in winter), it’s a trail that demands preparation and careful planning. From limited parking to the challenging initial climb and the rewarding downhill descent, Arkaquah Trail offers a memorable experience for those seeking a true hiking adventure in the South. So, lace up your boots, pack accordingly, and get ready to conquer this premier trail that promises both physical exertion and breathtaking vistas.