Sky Valley is the northernmost city in Georgia and its northern city limit is the Georgia/South Carolina State Line. According to the U.S. Census in 2000, Sky Valley had a population of 250 and a total land area of 3 square miles. Situated in a scenic mountain valley on the northwest side of Rabun Bald, Georgia’s second highest mountain, Sky Valley’s elevation is approximately 3,100 ft. above sea level so it is also the city with the highest elevation in Georgia.
Rabun Bald is adjacent to Brasstown Bald. With a peak elevation of 4,784 ft., Brasstown Bald is the tallest mountain in Georgia. Brasstown Bald is actually a barely discernible rise in the 8-mile long Wolfpen Ridge, a spine of Blue Ridge Mountains that also includes Rabun Bald, Blood Mountain and Trey Mountain. The spectacular 360 degree view from the top of Brasstown Bald includes parts of Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. On a clear day, visitors can see the tops of the tallest buildings in Atlanta from the top of Brasstown Bald.
Sky Valley did not exist as a community until the 1970’s. During the late 1960’s, a group of investors purchased a 2,500 acre cattle ranch in the area and developed the Sky Valley Resort for snow skiing in the North Georgia Mountains. In 1969, the Sky Valley Resort opened as the southernmost ski resort community in the United States with the only snow skiing facilities in Georgia. Sky Valley was incorporated as a city in March of 1978. In 2004, the Sky Valley Resort was sold and the new owners closed the ski slopes.
The Sky Valley Resort & Country Club is situated in a beautiful mountain valley surrounding a 12 acre lake and it contains an 18-hole championship golf course, a 9-hole golf course, a swimming pool, tennis courts and many hiking trails. Homes and condominiums in Sky Valley Resort can be rented for a weekend, for one or more weeks, or by the month through the Sky Valley Vacation Rentals program and guests enjoy all the resort’s amenities. Special golf vacations are also offered with accommodation prices discounted according to the length of stay.
Real estate in Sky Valley
The estimated median home value in Sky Valley was $327,901 in 2007, having appreciated from $183,500 in 2000. The cost of living index in Sky Valley is 92.0 and the average population density is very low at 72.9 people per square mile. Homes and properties are highly valued in this heavily forested mountain region because the cost of living is low while the quality of living is relatively high.
The real estate market in Sky Valley is characterized by single family detached homes and master planned condominium and townhouse developments. Single family homes in Sky Valley do not often sell for under $500,000. Condominiums and townhouses in master planned communities range in price from $250,000 to over $500,000. Undeveloped land lots that are already zoned for development can be found in the $75,000 to $150,000 price range.
Sky Valley is a resort community and most people come to Sky Valley simply to enjoy the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rustic vacation cabins, mountain cottages and private homes in Sky Valley can be rented by the week or by the month through local real estate agents or directly from owners who advertise their properties in local newspapers and on the Internet. The nearest hotels are about 4 miles from Sky Valley in Dillard, including the Knights Inn, Best Inn & Suites, Howard Johnson and Holliday Inn. The closest restaurants and stores for shopping are also in Dillard.
For those who desire more rustic accommodations, Black Rock Mountain State Park is 6 miles from Sky Valley in Mountain City. At an altitude of 3,640 ft., Black Rock Mountain State Park is the highest state park in Georgia and it has 48 tent, trailer and RV campsites, 12 walk-in campsites, 4 backcountry campsites, 10 rental cottages and a Pioneer Campground. The 1,743 acre park also contains 10 miles of hiking trails and a 17 acre lake where bass, bream, catfish and trout can be caught.
People who are interested in art will enjoy visiting the art gallery at the Hambidge Center, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Only a few miles from Sky Valley on Betty’s Creek Road in Rabun Gap, the Hambridge Center features unique handcrafted works of art and offers an artist’s residency program for local artists. Also located on Betty’s Creek Road, Barker’s Creek Grist Mill is another historic place to visit. Barker’s Creek Grist Mill was built in 1944 on the site of another mill that was originally built in the 1820’s.
About 6 miles from Sky Valley in Mountain City, the Foxfire Museum and Heritage Center portrays the history of the Appalachian Mountains during the 19th century. The Foxfire Museum and Heritage Center contains a gristmill, a blacksmith shop, a replica church, an authentic wagon collection and 22 log cabins. Visitors can walk through the Foxfire Museum for a small fee, and guided group tours are also available.