Brasstown Bald Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

Brasstown Bald

GA, USA

The highest paved road in Georgia.

Explore this Climb

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Climb Summary


Cycling Brasstown Bald, Georgia - sweeping views of hillsides and mountain ranges from the Brasstown Bald Observation Tower

Cycling Brasstown Bald, Georgia

Ride 3 miles gaining 1,730’ at 10.9% average grade.

Photo: Brasstown Bald Observation Tower center right.

Brasstown Bald is a popular cycling climb to the highest point in Georgia. This mountain is located in the Blueridge Mountain subrange of the Appalachian Mountains.  On a clear day, you can see Atlanta 75 miles to the southwest from the observation tower at the top of the mountain.

Cycling Brasstown Bald, Georgia - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, cyclist climbing on windy portion of road, Garmin device showing 23% grade, sign for Brasstown Bald Visitor Center Chattahoochee National Forest, cycling riding on roadway next to orange lillies

“Bald” is an Appalachian term for a mountaintop with 360 degree unobstructed views.

This is a brutally steep bike climb with the steepest quarter-mile at 16.6% and the steepest half-mile at 14.1%.

Cycling Brasstown Bald, Georgia - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, sign for Georgia Scenic Byway, cyclist riding on two-lane roadway, cyclist riding near sign that says "Steep Grades Ahead Leave Trailer Temporarily"

Start of climb -- this route is on a Georgia Scenic Byway.

Cycling Brasstown Bald, Georgia - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, bike parked on roadside against guardrail next to sign for Georgia Scenic Byway, sweeping views of green hillsides and beyond, blue mountain ranges, bike parked in trees next to roadside

We are surrounded by forest on the climb, but there are fleeting distant views of the Blue Ridge Mountains at times.

Climb is on Georgia Scenic Byway and America’s Byway route

Soapstone Creek to our left right at mile 1.

PJAMM Adventure App details this crazy climb.

Purple is rarely seen on the profile and designates 20%+

2 hairpins on the cycling segment of the climb . . . not enough!

The grade is the moat as to the tower’s castle . . .  

. . . it protects the observation tower (at least from me - that grade is BRUTAL!!)

Our three-mile route includes the closed last half-mile at 13.6% to the top.  The route to the “no bike” sign (photo below) is 2.5 miles at 10.5%.  We arrived at the sign and gate around noon on a weekday and were told by officials we could not ride up the road.  However (note that we are not “recommending” this) you may, at your own risk, (😈) arrive at the gate very early in the morning before anti-bike enforcement is present and go for it.  Just sayin, not recommending . . . or, hike to the top as we did on our Fall Colors October, 2020 trip [photos below]

CYCLING BRASSTOWN BALD IN THE FALL

PARKING LOT - MILE 2.5

No charge for cyclists as of October, 2020.

The Brasstown Bald Recreation Area and visitor’s center is owned and operated by the US Forest Service.  This area sits 4,784 feet above sea level, making it the highest point in the state of Georgia.  If you’re visiting the area, you can expect to find “picnic areas with great views, a general store with locally made products, three trailheads just off of [the visitor’s center] parking lot...a natural science and history museum” and a theatre and observation deck offering awesome 360° views of Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina.  More information to help plan your visit can be found here.

Parking area and access to shuttle or hiking trail - mile 2.5

Gift shop - minimal provisions here.

No bikes on the trail.

SUMMIT - HIGHEST POINT IN GEORGIA

Cycling Brasstown Bald, Georgia - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, sign for Brasstown Bald, aerial drone views of Brasstown Bald Observation Tower and complex

Brasstown Bald Observation Tower and Complex.

PJAMM Adventure App with the hike remaining.

Plaques for each compass direction identify distant peaks.

There is a south, but I missed it - very crowded at the top during leaf peeping season . . . .  😞

Summit Visitor Center

NOW DEFUNCT TOUR OF GEORGIA

As a testament to the popularity of this great bike climb, it was included in all but one of the six Tours of Georgia held between 2003 and 2008.  Notable stage winners include Chris Horner, Levi Leipheimer (2007), and Tom Danielson (2005-2007).

Cycling Brasstown Bald, Georgia - Levi Leipheimer riding Brasstown Bald during 2007 Tour of Georgia

Levi Leipheimer on his way to victory on Brasstown Bald, Stage 5 of the  2007 Tour of Georgia.

Photo:  sports.franzkelsch.com