The North Georgia Mountains are part of the Blue Ridge Mountain chain that extends from Pennsylvania to Georgia. The Cherokee Indians who originally lived in the North Georgia Mountains called them the Sah-ka-na’-ga, which means the Great Blue Hills of God. The U.S. federal government preserves and protects a large portion of the North Georgia Mountains in the 750,000 acre Chattahoochee National Forest. The North Georgia Mountain region contains 17 counties: Banks, Dawson, Elbert, Fannin, Forsyth, Franklin, Gilmer, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Lumpkin, Pickens, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union and White.
Traveling east on the Appalachian Highway, drivers behold a breathtaking sight as they descend from the Cedar Cliff Mountain Gap into North Georgia’s Enchanted Valley. On the north side of the Enchanted Valley are mammoth mountains in the Nantahala National Forest. On the south and east sides are the peaks of the Chattahoochee National Forest and at the center of the valley is the beautiful turquoise blue Lake Chatuge. This verdantly forested region in Towns County is filled with secluded waterfalls, historic trails, quaint towns and resort communities.
North Georgia’s largest mountains
With a peak elevation of 4,784 ft., Brasstown Bald is the tallest mountain in Georgia. It is part Wolfpen Ridge, a spine of mountains that also includes Blood Mountain, Trey Mountain and Rabun Bald. At the top of Brasstown Bald, the spectacular 360 degree view includes parts of Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. At the southern end of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Dawson County, Amicalola Falls with its 729 ft. vertical drop is tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi. The western end of the Blue Ridge Mountains features a steep 2,000 ft. descent from Fort Mountain to the Great Valley in Murray County.
Stone Mountain is one of the most unique mountains in Georgia because it is an enormous granite pluton that was formed during a complex geological folding process approximately 350 million years ago. With a peak elevation of 1,683 ft., Stone Mountain is visible as far away as Kennesaw Mountain to the west and Mount Yonah in the northeast direction.
Stone Mountain Park is one of Georgia’s most popular vacation destinations and it contains the Crossroads, the Antebellum Plantation, the Scenic Railroad and the Summit Skyride. The Crossroads is an 1870’s southern town where docents wearing period costumes demonstrate the arts of glass blowing, candy making and blacksmithing. The Antebellum Plantation contains many historic buildings built between 1783 and 1875. The Scenic Railroad takes visitors on a 5 mile excursion around Stone Mountain in open air cars pulled by a 1940’s locomotive, and the Summit Skyride is a high-speed Swiss cable car that transports visitors to the top of Stone Mountain where they can enjoy a stunning view of the Atlanta skyline and the Appalachian Mountains more than 60 miles away.