A very fun, but difficult hike. That being said, my wife and I hiked it with our three daughters (6, 9, 11) so we took our time and made sure they were okay. They made it! We were a little disappointed in the view on our particular day because of how rainy/cloudy it was, but my daughters thought it was cool that we were above the clouds :). It was also very well marked with plenty of yellow rectangles nailed in easy to see places. Fun time!

Not many big rocks but the trail never levels out. Great view at the top. Probably will not hike again.

The description of the trail is correct but it is not the Bartram Trail. The Bartram Trail continues from Beegam Gap to Wilson Gap and on to Warwoman Dell and beyond. It does cross over Rabun Bald. The trail you describe is the old Three Forks Trail now know generally as the Rabun Bald trail. Although not maintained beyond Hale Ridge, the trail continues on the other side of Hale Ridge Road and heads down toward the West Fork of the Chattooga River. After crossing over FS 86 it is once again fairly easy to follow as it makes its way down to the river. and the three forks. I went up the Rabun Bald trail yesterday. It is generally in pretty good condition but there are a few blowdowns that need to be cleared. One major blowdown over the trail requires that you crawl under it. Another is slowing developing a new trail around it. The middle section of the trail is occupied by many feral hogs. We saw a couple and heard a number of others.


4 months ago

This trail will keep your blood pumping as you climb the entire way and the view from the observation deck is nothing short of spectacular. I definitely plan to return and utilize one of the other routes next time.

To me there is lack of clarity regarding starting points to get to Rabun Bald. There are 3 trails that lead to it - I would call them easy moderate and strenuous. The easy is entering from the Kelsy Mtn road. This is a 0.7 mile hike and most folks I saw on a Saturday had come up this way starting on the short forest service road that then meets up with a trail to the top. Then there is the Bartrum trail that comes in from the North - appears to be about a 4.2 mile hike. In my opinion THIS IS NOT THE TRAIL DESCRIBED IN THIS WRITE UP. Bartrum trail does cross Hale Bridge Rd but it crosses it a few miles north aka much more than 5.6 miles from WarWoman Rd. The trail described here is Rabun Bald trail per the topo map on this site it is NOT the one in red. (One in red is the Bartrum trail coming in from the NORTH). Rabun Bald described here is the trail coming in from the East from Chestnut Ridge. This trail starts at around 2700 feet and climbs consistently till you top out at around 4800 feet. So climbing for 3+ miles. For that reason I would rate it as difficult - short but difficult. There two or three primitive campsites along the way but no water at them. One stream crossing about 1/3 of the way in. I hope this clarifies for others when choosing a starting point.

From Kelsey Mtn rd. Approximately 3.2 miles. Incline pretty much the whole way. Moderate hike. Very rewarding 360 degree view at top from observation tower. Good hike!!