Rabun Bald is noted as being the second highest point in Georgia at 4696 feet. The views from the forest service lookout tower are tremendous. One can see for miles the Nantahala Forest as well as the Smokies. Highlands and Sky Valley are well seen from this summit as well. The ridgeline here forms the Eastern Continental Divide where waters to the North go to the Tennessee Valley, Mississippi and Gulf. To the South they go to Warwoman Creek, Chattooga River, Savannah River and Atlantic.
The trails that lead to the summit are typical of Georgia with thick areas of rhodedendrons. The trails are well marked and easy to follow. The Bartram Trail will take you from North Carolina into Georgia to the Chattooga River and is 37 miles long. The trail crosses over Rabun Bald and Southwest towards Flat Top, Double Knob, and Raven Knob eventually joining the Chattooga River Trail.
There are a few ways of getting to the top - from the North via the Bartram Trail, the East via Three Forks Trail or the South from the Bartram Trail.
The Bartram Trail can be accessed from Dillard or Clayton, GA. From Dillard head toward Highlands, NC. At Scary Mtn take Hale Ridge Rd to the right. After a couple miles it will fork. Take the left fork (stay on Hale Ridge Rd) and after a short bit you'll come to the trailhead. The trailhead is at 3280 ft. and the trail from here is 4.2 miles to the summit. If you take the right fork, Bald Mtn Rd, you will take that for a while to Kelsey Mtn Rd. Take a left here and a road will take you to an access road that will take you most of the way up. There will only be 0.7 miles to the summit.
Access to Three Forks Trail is from Hale Ridge Rd. From Clayton, GA take Warwoman Rd several miles East. Pass a fire station and campgorund on your right and you'll be near the turn. At Hale Ridge Rd (forest Service Rd 7) go North for several miles. You will pass a cemetery. At a left bend there will be a trailhead. It is very hard to find. Last time I was there I could not find it, and only found the trail because I saw other cars parked there. See map picture for guidance. There will be a few places to park along the right shoulder. The trail starts across the forest service road. Apparently now the Forest Service has added a Trailhead marker. Please see photo.
The other access point is along Warwoman Rd. but the trail length is now significantly longer. It is 14 miles from here to the Summit, approaching from the South end of the Bartram Trail.
The Bartram Trail (from the North) is 4.2 miles to the summit. It is blazed yellow and is easy to follow. It starts with easy gentle rollers to Beegum Gap. The second half is more moderate in difficulty. You will cross two fire service roads. At the second, there is a parking area if you choose to drive to this point, see above. From here it is 0.7 miles to the top.
The Three Forks Trail is 3 miles to the summit. It follows a silver blaze and is easy to follow. The hard part is finding the trailhead. It ascends moderately, the last little bit is a little more strenuous.
When To Climb
Any time of year. In the winter it will be cold up there. In the summer, there are a lot of flies at the top. Fall leaf change is beautiful.
I don't believe there are any designated campsites on the Trails. There are some makeshift campsites near the summit tower. Backcountry campsites may be difficult as there is little flat ground.