Rabun Bald via Bartram Trail

HARD 74 reviews

Rabun Bald via Bartram Trail is a 8.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Dillard, Georgia that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

8.2 miles
1,847 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly





nature trips

trail running




wild flowers




Directions from Clayton: Take Warwoman Road 10 miles and turn on Forest Service Road 7 (Hale Ridge Road). Proceed 5.6 miles to the trail marker on the left.

trail running
12 days 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
1 month 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!

2 months ago

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.

4 months ago

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.

5 months ago

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

6 months ago

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

9 months ago

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!

9 months ago

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.

10 months ago

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!

10 months ago

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.

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.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Very fun hike I'd suggest waiting till after a big rain to make the multiple streams you pass full

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Amazing hike and trail

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The hike was very difficult but it was definitely worth it. The observation tower was plenty of space for my troop to sleep on and had a great view.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Been countless times and have taken tons of ppl too!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

This is one of the coolest places I've hiked. The observation deck allows a 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains, and we had it mostly to ourselves for an hour. The hike seemed very short, and wasn't too difficult. Definitely worth it to get to the top.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Great hike. Nat Geo terrain map calls it moderate, but it gains 1000ft/mile for 2 separate mile long stretches. I see a couple of people downgrade it and call it moderate, but it averages 15% and the middle mile is pretty flat. Rate it for yourself, but just know that there are folks that think calling down a difficulty level is some kind of brag.

I would make sure you go early, stay away from wet times as the grade at the top will be slick and there are stretches through erosion cuts. I went late spring and the undergrowth wasn't too bad, nor were the bugs, but I'm sure late June through September would be another story.

There really isn't anything to speak of other than the view at the top, which is a 360 degree platform. The wind is nice and helps cool you down, dry you off from the hump up. Also a connector to the Bertram


Friday, January 15, 2016

It was not hard at all. Beautiful hike and really enjoyed the view at the top.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pretty difficult! Walking sticks really helpful, especially on the way down. Amazing view!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

This hike is definitely no joke-- from its steep trail (pretty much incline the whole time) to its rocky underfoot, you'd best come hydrated. Personally, though, this trail felt lacking to me. I enjoyed the 360-degree view at the top of the tower at the mountain's summit, but for the most part the trail is very enclosed with the brush on either side and the canopy above. This was initially a win for me-- I mean, who doesn't like canopies? But at some point I had wished the air felt more open and inviting. To me it was like walking through the same uphill tunnel for 45 minutes.

The trail is lightly-used, so you won't see too many people crowding the path. One note though: you'll see a ton of flies and bees. I never care about bugs on a trail (this IS nature we're talking about), but it was a bit noticeable on this one. Had to be careful not to leave my gatorade open for to long.

Honestly, I enjoyed the view, but it's not worth the drive if you live in Atlanta.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Moderate up hill climb spectacular 369' view!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Up you go to the second highest peak in Georgia. Gain elevation the entire hike. Trail is wide and well maintained. Views at the summit are nothing short of spectacular.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Loved this trail. Starts off with a slow incline and gradually gets more steep the further you go. Once you make it to the top all the work it takes to get up there certainly pays off with the amazing 360 degree view of the Appalachian mountains. Highly recommend this hike!

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