Community Spotlight on Hiawassee & Young Harris

It’s often said that once you’ve discovered paradise that you never want to leave. That can certainly be said for the residents living around beautiful Lake Chatuge that is located between the towns of Hiawassee & Young Harris GA plus neighboring Hayesville, NC. Hiawassee, Georgia is seated in Towns County and was formed in 1856 from parts of nearby Rabun & Union Counties. It was named for George Washington Towns, who was the governor of Georgia from 1847 to 1851. Hiawassee is a Cherokee word meaning “meadow” and the Chattahochee National Forest covers over 57,000 acres surrounding the lake that is owned by the Tennessee valley Authority (TVA,) which built Lake Chatuge in 1941. The nearby community that founded Young Harris College, was established in 1886 as the McTyeire Institute and was first named after Methodist Bishop Holland McTyeire. Later the college was placed in the hands of  Judge Young L.G. Harris whom the town of Young Harris is now named after. Lake Chatuge is a 7,500-acre man-made reservoir that was created in 1942, by TVA which cost over nine million dollars after construction was completed on Chatuge Dam. It is one of 29 TVA hydroelectric dams throughout the Tennessee River system used to provide hydroelectric power. The unsurpassed beauty of the lake created by Chatuge Dam inspired people to name it the “Enchanted Valley. The entire region surrounding Lake Chatuge is famous for year round trout fishing in numerous streams and rivers. Another great way to have fun exploring Lake Chatuge is to enjoy a leisurely cruise on a pontoon boat or rent a jet ski, canoe, or kayak from one of the marina’s like Young Harris Watersports. Many visitors have known Hiawassee to be the home of the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds that host numerous events throughout the year with Live Concerts, Shows at Anderson Music Hall, Pioneer Village & Local Craft Events. The nearby Hamilton Rhododendron Gardens are also open year round with more than 3,000 plants in bloom. Towns County offers public parks, picnic areas and beaches for outdoor enjoyment including Bell Mountain Park that offers 360 degree views of Hiawassee & Lake Chatuge with an observation platform. Although Georgia’s highest mountian is Brasstown Bald at 4,784 ft., it has views of 4 states on a clear day. The Visitors center, with museum is Located on Hwy. 180. and has a paved trail to the top or shuttle available. For hikers the famous Appalachian Trail crosses Unicoi Mountain at Hwy. 17 /76 west of town. This trail draws hikers nationwide to see nature at it’s finest. Many accommodations can guide visitors to spend time at one of the many golf courses, horseback riding stables, white water rafting adventures and surrounding hiking, biking trails & waterfalls in our surrounding National Forest Land. The North Georgia mountains have the perfect climate, soil, and coolness to have heavy agriculture & to grow grapes the right way. Weekend events and entertainment are held at local wineries. U-pick events and fresh produce [...]

Community Spotlight on Hiawassee & Young Harris2022-06-24T12:05:28-04:00

Road Trip to Jackrabbit Mountain Recreational Area

From Atlanta, GA 113 mi From Chattanooga, TN 115 mi From Asheville, NC 103 mi From Greenville, SC 114 mi Located on the beautiful shores of Lake Chatuge just over the North Carolina state line is Jackrabbit Mountain Recreational Area. This recreation and campground area is located on the outskirts of Hayesville, N.C. and Hiawassee, GA which shares this T.V.A. lake that is surrounded by stunning mountain views. This popular destination is part of the beautiful Nantahala National Forest of southwestern North Carolina. Visitors and campers can breathe the fresh air of the forest while enjoying numerous activities, including hiking, picnicking, mountain biking, fishing and water sports. Mountain bikers can get their wheels dusty along the area’s 15-mile stacked-loop system. Many of the trails border Lake Chatuge, while others meander through the woods or ridge-top. These trails appeal to riders of all skill levels. If you are interested in hiking, try the Jackrabbit Mountain Trail with a trailhead just outside the campground; this 2.4-mile easy trail loops through open woods and offers glimpses of the lake. Lake Chatuge has more than 130 miles of shoreline and plenty of water for recreation. A short trail connects the campground and a sandy beach area that has an access fee. The beach is designated for swimming and is surrounded by picnic tables on a large grassy lawn. Popular water activities include boating, jet skiing, paddleboarding and fishing. The lake is filled with a bounty of fish ranging from spotted, white and striped bass to catfish, crappie and sun-fish. Launch your boat and fish from the lake, or try the accessible fishing pier located near the swim beach. Three campground loops offer 92 wooded sites and most provide views of Lake Chatuge. Several sites in Loops A and B can accommodate RVs, but no hook-ups are available, as this is a primitive campground. The recreational area is also equipped with showers, restroom facilities and picnic shelters. Registered campers may access the on-site RV dump station. Reserve a site at visit or by calling (877) 444-6777. From Hayesville, NC: Take US 64E for 6.2 miles. Turn right onto NC 175, and go 2.5 miles. From Hiawassee, GA: Take GA-75N for about 3.5 miles to the NC/GA state line. Turn on SR 1155, which turns into Forest Service Road 248.

Road Trip to Jackrabbit Mountain Recreational Area2022-06-24T12:07:00-04:00

Trackrock: Written in Stone

Track Rock Gap Archaeological Area is the location of a series of soapstone boulders covered with petroglyphs made by Native Americans over 1,000 years ago. There are hundreds of carvings in a wide range of figures. It's one of the most significant rock art sites in the Southeastern United States. Track Rock was a place of power within the sacred landscape of the American Indian Nations where the activities of ancient humans were influenced by spirit beings. It sits at the threshold of the spirit world. Rocks carved with footprints and tracks signified a doorway into the domain of dangerous spirit beings. Depictions of footprints and tracks are physical testimony that spirit beings were there at some time in the past, that they could still be lingering somewhere close by in the present, and that they may return unexpectedly at any time in the future. As early as 3,600 years ago, Native Americans were removing pieces of the soft but durable soapstone to make bowls which were particularly well suited for cooking as they held and radiated heat without breaking. The picture carvings were made by Native Americans during repeated visits over several hundred years beginning around A.D. 1,000. Most likely, the Cherokee, Catabwa and/or Creek tribes made the carvings. In the 1800's, early American explorers discovered the Track Rock site and it has fascinated people ever since. Recording, studying and preserving of the site began in earnest in 2009. The carvings at Track Rock were made in one of two ways. Many of the figures were created by repeated blows in the same spot using hammer stones to create the desired shape. Some of the figures were created by rubbing a hard stone back and forth to carve the design into the rock. Although soapstone is considered a soft rock, it is still rock and rather hard to carve. It took a lot of time and effort to create these figures that have lasted a thousand years. Some of the shapes that can be seen include: 252 cupules, 22 oval shapes, soapstone bowl extraction scars, deer, horse, bird, squirrel, and bear tracks, cross-in-ring motifs and nested ring design, human figures, human footprints (one with 6 toes!), and one giant's, footprint, maze-like networks, squares, tridents, zigzags, curved and straight lines, and scalloped edges. Unfortunately, signs of vandalism can be seen throughout the area in the form of square shaped depressions with flat topped pedestals in the middle that are left behind when looters chisel out the petroglyphs. There are also several areas when vandals have carved their initials over the top of the ancient marks forever destroying those petroglyphs. Track Rock Gap is open to public visitation and no fee is charged. When visiting the site, remember that the intensity of natural lighting can influence how much you are able to see. Bright mid-day sun makes it hard to see most of the figures, and the best times to visit are early or late in the day, when the light [...]

Trackrock: Written in Stone2022-06-24T12:06:21-04:00

Cherokee Homestead Exhibit

The Cherokee Homestead Exhibit, located in downtown Hayesville, is an outdoor exhibit which includes replicas of a 17th century winter house, summer house, corn crib, summer shelter, mound gardens, dugout canoe, and public art depicting elements of the Cherokee culture. The elements of the exhibit were researched and are as authentic and accurate as possible. Informational kiosks at the exhibit enable free self-guided tours at any time. The winter house and summer house were constructed with upright locust poles which support the rivercane woven sides and thatched roofs. Mud and straw daub create the plaster which was added to the woven sides of the winter house in order to enclose it against the cold winter weather. The circular fire pit would have been used for cooking, heat and light throughout the winter. The corn crib was constructed similar to the summer house and raised off the ground to prevent pilfering by animals. A shelter, located near the mound gardens, would have been used for a multitude of activities during warm weather, including basket making, flint knapping, and pounding corn kernels into corn meal. A dugout canoe constructed from the straight trunk of a poplar tree was placed under the summer house to shelter it from the elements. Forged metal masks placed throughout the exhibit represent the seven Cherokee clans: bird, blue, deer, long hair, paint, wild potato, and wolf. A two-story wall mural shows representative elements of the Cherokee culture including petroglyphs, pottery, projectile points, tools, weapons, and woven baskets. The wall also contains plaques with Cherokee philosophical thoughts written in English and Cherokee Syllabary. Hand-forged metal disks have been placed on both sides of the fence atop the wall and contain iconic figures of Cherokee culture and legends. Tours and workshops are provided by volunteers for public and private schools, colleges, adult classes and tour groups at the Cherokee Homestead Exhibit. Arrangements for a guided tour or workshop may be scheduled by calling (828) 389-3045. The Cherokee Homestead Exhibit is the site of the Cherokee Heritage Festival held from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on the third Saturday in September. Sponsored by the Clay County Communities Revitalization Association, a non-profit 501C3 organization. Please visit or write to PO Box 1533, Hayesville, NC 28904 for more information.

Cherokee Homestead Exhibit2022-06-24T12:05:44-04:00

Waterfalls of North Georgia

High Shoals Falls A succession of five waterfalls graces this 170-acre scenic area. These falls have an estimated total vertical drop of 300 feet. Directions: Take GA 75 north from Helen for 11.4 miles. Turn right on Forest Service Road 283 at the High Shoals sign. Go 1.5 miles on this road to the High Shoals Scenic Area. Horse Trough Falls A succession of five waterfalls graces this 170-acre scenic area. These falls have an estimated total vertical drop of 300 feet. Helen/Hiawassee Area: Take GA 75 north from Helen for 11.4 miles. Turn right on Forest Service Road 283 at the High Shoals sign. Go 1.5 miles on this road to the High Shoals Scenic Area. Mill Creek Falls The first waterfall drops about 150 feet into Mill Creek. The second plunges another 150 feet, into a series of rapids through the Mill Creek Gorge. Directions: from Hiawassee, take U.S. 76 east, go right on Hwy. 75 for 3.5 miles, left on Mill Creek Rd (FSR 26) for 2.5 miles. Helton Creek Falls Two waterfalls, one small, and one large, are located on Helton Creek. Directions: Go to Helton Creek Road and Forest Service Rd 118, just 1 1/2 miles north of Neel’s Gap off Highway 19/129. The road is on the right as you travel north. It is just south of Vogel State Park. You have only .2 mile trail leading from the parking area on Helton Creek Road, to the base of the larger upper falls. DeSoto Falls Three falls along a 3 mile section of the DeSoto Falls Trail are maintained for the hiker’s viewing convenience, and are designated as the lower (cascading 20 feet), the middle (falls about 80 feet) and the upper (about 200 feet) DeSoto Falls. Directions: From Dahlonega travel north on US 19 for 13.5 miles to Turners Corner. At this intersection, turn left and proceed on US 129 for 4.2 miles. Shortly after the Walasi-yi Center is a left turn for the park. Hemlock Falls The scenic two-mile trail leading to Hemlock Falls teases visitors with the sounds of rushing water during the entire hike. From Clayton: take 76W to HWY 197. Follow HWY 197 to Moccasin Creek State Park/ Lake Burton Fish Hatchery, turning right onto Andersonville Lane, the gravel road across from the hatchery. Continue 0.5 miles until the road dead ends at the trailhead. Follow the trail along Moccasin Creek. You will cross a bridge above one set of falls and will pass another small set of falls on your left before continuing up the trail to the larger Hemlock Falls.  

Waterfalls of North Georgia2022-06-24T12:09:37-04:00

Warwoman Dell

Warwoman Dell was named to honor a Cherokee Warwoman. Some believe it could have been named for Nancy Hart, the Revolutionary War era woman who may have fought at the Battle of Kettle Creek with her husband and sons. Most likely, though, it was named to honor Nancy Ward, a highly-respected “beloved woman” of the Cherokee Nation who frequented the dell and advised the Cherokee tribal council on war and peace. She was very powerful in the Cherokee clan rule, for she was the last Warwoman in the East. When the Cherokee chiefs voted to go to war, it could only happen if the Warwoman approved. The 66 steps lead to the abandoned Blue Ridge Railroad. Two moderately easy, family-friendly trails lead through this beautiful pocket of wilderness showcasing tall trees, dense vegetation, mosses, wildflowers, and three waterfalls. The hike visits the popular Becky Branch Falls, historic areas of Warwoman Dell and several smaller waterfalls on a 1.4 mile loop. While it's not a long hike, it's an exceptionally beautiful one. This is a fairly moderate, short trail, with parking and a roadside picnic spot. Directions: Traveling north US Hwy 441 in downtown Clayton, one block after US 76 comes in from the left, go east on Warwoman Dell Road for 2.8 miles. When the road makes a sharp curve to the left, watch for Warwoman Dell Recreation Area entrance on the right. Follow the gravel road to the first parking lot.

Warwoman Dell2022-06-24T12:10:53-04:00
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