The Bartram Trail is a 115-mile trail that extends from North Georgia into North Carolina and is named for 18th century botanist William Bartram. The 2.3-mile stretch between Jones Gap and Whiterock Mountain is a perfect section for day-use hiking. At Jones Gap, elevation 4,360 feet, the Bartram Trail passes through a field and circles the right side of Jones Knob to descend to Whiterock Gap. Follow the yellow blazes. At 0.7 miles past the gap, a spur trail to the left goes to Whiterock Mountain. Take this trail and continue past the top of the mountain to the rock face on the far side, which offers great views of the surrounding mountains. A side trail to Jones Knob is also accessible early in the hike at the far end of the field. An additional 0.6 miles up and back on the blue-blazed trail, the Jones Knob trail climbs approximately 300 feet in slightly less than 0.5 miles.
Access the loop from the Salt Rock entrance and take the path Blackrock Trail, just left of the information kiosk. In a few minutes, you arrive at a rock bald. Turn left and ascend to the top. The trail re-enters the woods at the right side of the rock face. In about 3 minutes, you will come to an old road bed, Blackrock Trail. Turn right onto this road and ascend along the ridge. In about 25 minutes, you will come to a four-way intersection near the top of Blackrock Mountain. Turn right and ascend the trail Overlook Trail to the top of the mountain. Continue past the top of the mountain and begin to descend. In about 10 minutes, you exit the woods into a large bald. Turn left and follow the trail along the top of the rock face.
Take the trail that bears to the right from Glen Falls trailhead and bulletin board. Be ready to rock-hop over several small streams on the way to the summit, which has a number of rocky overlooks into Blue Valley.
To reach Devil’s Courthouse, follow the Whiteside Mountain trail to the left up the old Jeep trail to the clearing at the top, approximately 1 mile from parking lot. The Devil’s Courthouse trail begins at the far left corner of the clearing. As it winds down the mountain, do not take any of the spur trails to the right, but stay on the main trail that follows the ridge. At approximately 0.5 miles, the trail will open into a clearing and arrive at the mountain’s “saddle.” The trail descends from the saddle to the left and the right. Continue straight along the ridge. Just past the saddle, the trail bears to the right and ascends a rock. The trail follows the left side of the ridge and ends at the Devil’s Courthouse. The panoramic views of the valley offer beautiful opportunities to see fall colors during leaf season.
Trail leads to a jumble of large granite outcrops and boulders with many caverns and ledges, a favorite of the young set.
Trail proceeds upriver for some distance before switching back to the left and returning through hemlock forest to campsite slightly higher up than parking lot on Bull Pen Road. Hemlocks here display evidence of much damage from Hemlock Woolly Adelgid infestation. Many forego the hike and just picnic along the river above the bridge.
This easy out-and-back trail leads to a rock house in an area that has been used as a shelter for hundreds of years. It is a relatively flat trail suitable for children and those who don’t wish to hike very far. The trail follows an old road through a pine forest for about 0.45 mile to a wildlife clearing. Proceed to a small stream. At this stream, turn right (upstream) onto a worn trail. The rock house is about 100 yards.
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.
As there is no dedicated, public parking on the mountain, walk from downtown. Follow Satulah Road to the cul-de-sac at the top of the road. Several nice views from granite outcrops and remnant of old cabin. On return, loop back to top of Worley Road for return trip to Highlands.
Walk up Sunset Park Road from trailhead to turnaround at the top of this graveled road – overlook with wonderful view of Highlands village is immediately to the right.