Autumn Sunrise at Georgia’s Highest Point

October 24, 2012 at 5:46 am (Autumn, Birds - Georgia, Georgia, Nature, Photography) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Autumn morning from Brasstown Bald, Georgia

Rising 4,784 feet above sea level, Brasstown Bald is Georgia’s highest point.  You can see the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, as well as South Carolina in this 360 degree view.

Sunrise at approximately 7:40 EDT

It takes about 20 minutes to hike just over a half mile to the summit from the parking lot, and the paved trail (500 foot elevation gain) is a bit steep in places.  I donned my Black Diamond headlamp and began the hike in the dark, just so I could see the sun rise through the mist yesterday morning.

To the north is the small Georgia town of Hiawassee, whose lights do little to pierce the crystal starlight, making this a great place for star gazing or meteor-watching.

Hiawassee, Georgia and fog in the hollows

Two weeks ago, the fall colors were just starting to show.  Now, those early changers were bare of leaves, and the rest of the forest continued the autumnal symphony.

The North Georgia Mountains are understandably popular in autumn when the hardwood forests begin the transition from green to pumpkin, coral, scarlet, canary, mustard, and rust.  They also offer cooler temperatures in summer, when Atlanta (at just over 1,000 feet elevation) is sweltering.

The path to the summit of Brasstown Bald  is also lined with native rhododendrons and mountain laurel, making it a lovely spring hike.  There are several trails that you can traverse even a short distance to enjoy the blooms arching high above you.  In late May I reveled in the abundant and very vocal bird life – nesting chestnut-sided warblers, juncos, catbirds, eastern towhees, rose-breasted grosbeaks, solitary vireos, indigo buntings, and others.  But on this autumn morning I heard an owl in the parking lot, and managed to photograph a ruby-crowned kinglet and junco.  I also saw a winter wren and a small flock of pine siskins.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Dark-eyed Junco (slate-colored variety)

Visitors can also take a shuttle up during regular hours ($3.00) and there is a tower and visitor center at the summit.


There are still a few days left for leaf peepers to enjoy the colors in the North Georgia mountains.  This website offers semi-regular updates on when the colors will be peaking in Georgia’s state parks.

What it looked like two weeks ago – photographed in the afternoon.

Brasstown Bald is one of my very favorite places in Georgia.  Enjoy the view!

The mist and haze settle into the hollows of distant mountains

For prints, click on North Georgia Mountains in Autumn

1 Comment

  1. Bob Zeller said,

    Great photos, Cindy, and I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite, however that last image jumps out at me, and ya gotta love the Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

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