Day 66 – North Georgia Highlands

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Day 66 of a Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways

Tellico Lake

We started the day driving south toward Georgia.  On the way, we stopped at Tellico Lake.  The lake was formed by damming the Little Tennessee River.  The land surrounding it was once owned by the Cherokee Indians and its capital, Tanasi, (the word from which Tennessee evolved) stood nearby.  I was hoping to see a memorial of eight stone pillars commemorating the eight posts that supported the tribe’s meeting house, but I only found a reconstructed fort with another school bus in the parking lot.  Apparently the week before Thanksgiving week is a good time for field trips!

tellico lake

Instead of visiting the fort, I took advantage of the morning sun and a mowed path through a field by the lake so the dogs could have some fun.  I also stopped at a highway bridge that crossed the lake to finally pick up a cache in Tennessee.  I didn’t have much luck with prior attempts.  The cache was part of the state quarters series, meaning the owner planned to hide 50 caches, each one with a different state quarter and trivia related to the state. 

I thought that was quite clever.  I found the cache for Illinois, or at least I think I did. Someone took the coin. But the owner provided some lesser known facts about the state in the post such as, “home of the first McDonald’s”.

Ocoee Scenic Byway

On our way to Dahlonega and the North Georgia Highlands, we took the Ocoee Scenic Byway from Ocoee to Ducktown.  I like those names…particularly Ducktown!  Scenic certainly is the operative word.  The Ocoee Lake was just beautiful as was the rocky Ocoee River, the site for the 1996 Olympic canoe and kayak slalom competitions.

ocoee lake in Georgia

Gold Museum State Historic Site

Dahlonega, a Cherokee word meaning precious yellow, is home to the Gold Museum State Historic Site which is domiciled in the old court building, currently complete with Christmas decorations!  Built in 1836, the courthouse is the oldest public building in North Georgia.  Dahlonega is an appropriate place for the Gold Museum given America’s first major gold rush occurred here.

The Federal Government even operated a mint pressing gold coins from 1838 until the Civil War in 1861.  Over $6 million of coins were minted here before the building was eventually donated to what is now the North Georgia College and State University.  I walked the dogs around the campus and past the old mint before I found out its history at the museum.  When I visited the museum, the price of 10 year gold was at a high of $1,497 per Troy Ounce which is equivalent to just over 31 grams. Oh the dismal dollar!

DeSoto Falls Recreation Area

After my tour of the Gold Museum, the dogs and I headed north to DeSoto Falls Recreation Area in the Chattahoochee National Forest.  We walked the mile long trail to the Upper Falls, 200 feet high, and skipped the quarter mile trail to the Lower Falls, 20 feet high.  The falls are named for Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto who searched for riches in this region during the 1500s.

desoto falls recreation area in georgia

Brasstown Bald

By the end of the hike, it was nearly 4 pm, so we took the Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway Loop for 38 miles up 4,784 foot Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s tallest mountain.  As it was getting near dusk, I hoped to spot some wildlife, but no luck.  Instead I enjoyed some lovely overlooks as the sun set before retiring in the Walmart parking lot in Blairsville for the evening. ETB

brasstown bald in georgia

Map of My Road Trip Across the USA

For a summary about my road trip across the USA, click HERE. For the interactive map, see the below link.

Other Articles About Georgia You May Like


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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned award winning travel blogger and photographer sharing the earth's beauty one word and image at a time.

4 thoughts on “Day 66 – North Georgia Highlands

  1. WOW scenic is the word for those pics, love them. There is a place a friend of mine used to go to in Georgia for an annual stitching getaway. It is Calloway Gardens, this is a place I would one day like to make it to I keep reading about it in all kinds of articles and it sounds beautiful. So, are you headed to TX for Thanksgiving?

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