Rabun Bald

Rabun Bald

Approximate size: 17,694 acres
Old-growth known: 1,270 acres

Rabun Bald, Georgia’s second highest peak, sits at the western end of the Blue Ridge Escarpment and on the edge of the Highlands Plateau. This region of ancient and dramatic granitic domes and abundant rainfall is home to several endemic species, plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. If you want to see Hartweg’s locust or granite dome goldenrod, you have to visit the area where Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina converge.

Rabun Bald itself has attracted the attention of naturalists for centuries. William Bartram is believed to have traversed the mountain in 1775. Fungi and moss societies were visiting the mountain as early as 1947. More recently, scientists have used Rabun Bald to study salamanders, insects, small mammals, mosses, wildflowers, and trees. A remarkable 67 rare species tracked by the state of Georgia are known from the USGS Rabun Bald quadrangle. One species first described in 2005 is even named after the mountain, Rabun Bald feather-moss (Pohlia rabunbaldensis).

More casual visitors can access this Mountain Treasure via either the Bartram Trail or the Rabun Bald Trail. Both lead to the stone tower at the top of Rabun Bald, which provides some of the most commanding views anywhere in Georgia. Natural rock exposures on Pinnacle Knob offer similarly spectacular views and make that peak a popular destination from Clayton. Leaving the summit of Rabun Bald, the Bartram Trail slides through exceptional tunnels of mountain laurel and rhododendron, and runs along the eastern continental divide. Despite a lack of roads, nearly half of this area was left out of the last roadless area inventory.

Help us protect this 16,000-acre oasis of waterfalls, old-growth, rare species, panoramic views, and world-class trails.


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