The United States Congress designated the Brasstown Wilderness (map
) in 1986 and it now has a total of 12,778 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Georgia
and is managed by the Forest Service.
This steeply rugged Wilderness drapes across the northern, northeastern, and southwestern flanks of 4,784-foot Brasstown Bald Mountain, the highest point in the state. A Forest Service visitor center is located on top of the mountain just outside of the wilderness. This center provides a panoramic view of the wilderness. Here you'll find boulder fields, rock formations, and streams cascading through narrow gorges, giving way periodically to waterfalls. Second-growth hardwoods dominate this flora-rich region, highlighted in spring and summer by a profusion of wildflowers. Deer, squirrels, ruffed grouse, black bears, woodcocks, and wild turkeys can be found. The rare New England cottontail rabbit, southeastern shrew, and pygmy shrew also seek shelter here. Hikers tend to stick to the only developed trails in the area: the steep 5.5-mile Arkaqua National Recreation Trail, which begins at the Brasstown Bald parking area just outside the Wilderness, and the 4.5-mile Jack's Knob National Recreation Trail, which ties the Appalachian Trail to the same parking lot. Hikers should be aware that encounters with black bears are common in the area. The use of bear proof food storage containers is highly recommended.