Driving distance/direction from downtown Highlands, NC:
To access the Beegum Gap trailhead: Follow Hwy. 106 south 7.8 miles to Scaly Mountain. Turn left onto Hale Ridge Road, the paved road between the post office and tubing slope. After 2.1 miles, Hale Ridge Road forks left. Follow the paved road on the right for 1.2 miles to Kelsey Mountain Road. Turn left and travel approximately 0.25 miles and park.
To access the Bartram Trail route: Follow Hwy. 106 south 7.8 miles to Scaly Mountain. Turn left onto Hale Ridge Road, the paved road between the post office and tubing slope. The trailhead is 1.1 miles down Hale Ridge Road on the right.
Hiking distance: 3.2 to 8.4 miles round trip
Description: There are multiple trails leading to the peak of Rabun Bald, which at an elevation of 4,696 feet is Georgia’s second-highest mountain. For a shorter hike, begin at Beegum Gap near Scaly Mountain. This 3.2-mile round trip route climbs about 1,100 feet in elevation. For a longer hike, follow the Bartram Trail from Hale Ridge Road. This route climbs gently for about 2 miles through mountain vegetation and crosses several streams. The trail then climbs more steeply for 0.5 miles and joins the first trail at Beegum Gap. The total climb on this route is about 1,600 feet.
Footnote: The summit features an observation tower that provides expansive views on clear days. The tower is lined with benches for resting or picnicking.
Hike descriptions adapted from the Highland Hiker’s Guide to Day Hikes.