Explore the most popular hiking trails in Blue Valley Experimental Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Warning! The yellowjacket nest mentioned by another hiker is now making the trail IMPASSIBLE. Sadly, the nest is just before you get to the waterfall, near the end of the trail. The trail is very flat, easy traversed UNTIL you pass the big field. Right where the trail becomes a narrow, woodsy trail, just after the field, is where the bees are. we all got stung and ran back to the car. :(

Heads up there is an active yellowjacket nest on the trail, (going towards the falls it is not far past the open field)
The waterfall itself is amazing. The trail is not bad, a fairly clear path. However there is no signage at all and if not for this app we never would have found it.

You can make this a long or a short hike. Either way you do it you won't be disappointed.

good view

Road in is dirt/gravel for a good bit and steep at parts, which is fine for a sedan in dry weather and probably okay in wet, though I probably wouldn’t recommend it in winter if it’s snowy. The last push to the top was very demanding, though the view from the top is pretty great, particularly after the corkscrews to get there.

True wilderness experience in an intimate setting. The trailhead is remote and the trail itself, while easily discernible, is at times little more than a narrow path through rhododendron (especially near the base of the falls). It’s a great place to get away from the crowds and dunk your head beneath a really scenic waterfall.

trail running
2 months ago

Have run this multiple times. Pristine views. 5 creeks and 2 waterfalls when wet. Hard run up. Fast run down! Start in the dark and hit the summit as the sun comes up!

trail running
3 months ago

Great run. Steady climb. Just FYI my watch clocked 2100 ft elevation gain, which was a bit higher than noted above.

Love this hike!

a good beginner hike. started at 11am and got back to the car at 6. brought friends who don't hike and they did well. great view at the end. well worth the trip.

The trailhead is a bit remote but a very easy stroll through peaceful woods and a brief scramble through a rhododendron thicket leads to the base of a delicate but geologically impressive walk-around falls.

5 months ago

Constant incline, very difficult up at top, but well worth it. Hard to find. Off warwoman rd, look for Hale cemetery sign, Rt. 7.. Not populated due to strenuous trail. Top is a tower with lots of hikers who come from other end of trail. Need hiking poles near top. If looking for challenging trail, this should be on your list.

6 months ago

Great hike up to the top of Georgia's second highest peak. Less traveled than the more popular route, this trail is quite steep near the top. But the reward is that you get the trail to yourself with great views near and at the summit. Parking is on the side of Hale Ridge Road. The sign marking the trail is number 211.

Great hike, the first couple of miles are fairly easy with a nice waterfall and a few creek crossings. Once you begin the climb this is where it will get difficult if you’re not in shape.

Amazing first half is the easiest but totally worth it.

Great hike! I wouldn’t rate it as difficult...amazing views!

8 months ago

Definitely worth a hike, but I would rate this as a moderate trail...the incline is very gradual. Trail well defined.

I grew up in this area and this is called The Picklesimer Rock House, not pickle Rock. Please don't go trying to change the names of our falls. This is the second one in my area that is listed wrong. Nice trail and neat little waterfall.

Awesome hike, it's about 8.2 miles and 1850' elevation gain. The trailhead is down the Dillard Road Hwy 106 from Highlands and you take a left on Hale Ridge Road which makes a few turns - the AllTrails app gets you right to the trailhead. From the dirt part of the road you will find the signage for the Bartram Trail. Make sure you head south into Georgia (downhill from the road). The trail starts out with some gradual rolling ups and downs across several small creeks, one with a nice waterfall. Then you gradually start climbing - stay on the yellow blazed Bartram Trail. After several switchbacks along a steeper grade, you'll come to the top. This is a fantastic workout and you can trail run it - very easy to do on the way down. I gave it four stars because the top is not a true bald as it is covered with scrub oaks. The best view is atop the fire tower with the true 360 degree view. Definitely worth a trip from Highlands if you are looking for a moderate to difficult hike or overnight camping at the top. Enjoy!

Hiked this in late July with my husband & my two 68 year old aunt and uncle. It was beautiful at the top 360 degrees of beauty. God is great.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

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!

Sunday, October 01, 2017

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

Thursday, August 03, 2017

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.

Monday, June 26, 2017


Monday, April 03, 2017

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.

Monday, March 27, 2017

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.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

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!!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Great climb to amazing views of GA,NC Vistas on the peak. Parking is very limited at the trailhead.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Not that hard of a hike. The hike has alot of pretty scenery and the summit view is a stunning 360 degree platform. Definitely worth the view

trail running
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Great run from Osage Overlook to Rabun Bald and back. A little bit of everything for sure and if a summer run guaranteed cooler weather than anywhere else around on the NC side.

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