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PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED: Once you've reviewed the event details, and decided you'd like to join us, you MUST sign up at the bottom of this page.

You are STRONGLY encouraged to read this page in its entirety before signing up. If you'd like to attend, we ask that you abide by our rules and procedures as a time/cost saving process (with an end result of keeping membership free and lower cost events).

Slow and Steady - Arkaquah Trail to the Solar Eclipse atop Brasstown Bald

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: Track Rock Gap near Blairsville, GA   Hike: Slow and Steady - Arkaquah Trail to the Solar Eclipse atop Brasstown Bald   National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Mon, Aug 21 2017  10:00 am >> Mon, Aug 21 2017 7:00 pm  (Carpool Departure: 8:30 am   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Wed, Jun 21 2017 9:30 pm
Registration Cut Off: Sun, Aug 20 2017 9:30 pm
Event Duration:9 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D5: Difficult
Distance:12 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Joyce T.
Email Trip Leader(s)
You must be logged in to get the Trip Leader contact information.
Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:14
Minimum Group Size:4
Number Registered So Far: 2 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


We will be working hard hiking up the Arkaquah Trail in order to get to the top of the Brasstown Bald Tower for a rare astronomical event - - a total eclipse of the sun.  The last total eclipse visible from anywhere in Georgia was March 7, 1970!  The maximum totality will be just a little over 2 minutes, though the partial phases will take place over 3 hours, between 12:05 pm and 3:10 pm.  Our plan is to hike up the mountain in time to reach the tower in time to witness the total eclipse (weather permitting).  We'll watch the full eclipse at about 2:35 to 2:38 and then head back down the trail as the final phases take place. (Thanks to Charlie Cottingham for info on the eclipse.)

At 4784', Brasstown Bald is Georgia's highest mountain. The observation deck at the summit offers a breathtaking view of the mountains’ scenic vistas, which sweep a four state area. 

We begin the hike at Track Rock Gap, an ancient archaeological site, where six smooth, soapstone boulders are etched with a variety of symbols. The petroglyphs were created by Native Americans over 1,000 years ago – one of the most significant rock art sites in the Southeast US. Check out the Track Rock site on the Chattahoochee Forest Service Website. 

The first 1.5 miles of the hike is intensely difficult in its relentless climb to the top. The Arkaquah Trail has several major "rollercoaster-like" sections that require both uphill and downhill climbs while hiking in either direction..  Because of this our total uphill elevation gains during the entire day will be about 3900' - much more than the simple elevation difference between Brasstown's summit and the Trackrock Gap parking area. (Thanks for your editing of this paragraph, Charlie!  Much improved.)

At 5.5 miles we reach the Brasstown Bald trail head. From there we take a 1/2 mile steep paved trail to the observation deck for a 360 degree view. There will be ample views of the mountains and surrounding countryside that will provide photo opportunities and much needed rest breaks. We will have lunch at the summit, and after a quick tour of the visitor center we will return back to Track Rock Gap. 

This is a strenuous, approximately 12 mile round trip hike, at a steady slow to moderate pace. Average hiking pace will be 2.5 mph. If you have not completed any D4/D5 hikes recently, the trip leaders will contact you to determine your hiking experience and reserve the right to remove any registrants that they feel may not be able to complete this hike. This is not a fitness hike, so if you're a fast hiker please be okay with the fact that the hike is not designed to be at lightening speed. 

If you'd like to see the eclipse in all its glory for the longest viewing time without having to do a strenuous hike, check out Charlie Cottingham's event posted for the same day - - - - with a D1 difficulty level.

Email the trip leader(s) if you have any questions. 

Required Items to Bring:

2-3 Litres water

Trail Snacks

Lunch / snacks

Emergency Rain Gear

Cash for Carpool

Broken-in Hiking Boots

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.


Hiking poles

A jacket for the summit

sunscreen/bug spray

epipen if you are allergic to bees

Change of clothes, socks, shoes for the ride back

A towel for the ride back

Plastic bag to carry shoes after the hike

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

GPS Coordinates:  34.869967, -83.810733

Directions to Track Rock Gap (Arkaquah Trailhead): From the Park & Ride we will go north on Georgia 400 to Dahlonega. Continue on US Hwy 19 North past Vogel State Park, then take a right on State Road 180 East. Stay on 180 for 2.4 miles, turn left at Town Creek School Rd and after 2 miles turn right on Trackrock Church Rd. Take another right onto Trackrock Gap Rd. The parking lot at the trailhead is on the left.

Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):155Mile(s)
Carpool Departure Time: 8:30 am
Carpool Location:   Log in for location
Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions
Carpool Cost: Approximate vehicle expense for this event is $62.00 (calculated at total miles (155) * $0.400, effective Monday, April 24, 2017). This is based on the current gas, maintenance, and other costs of $0.400 per mile as stated by the IRS & This should be divided by the total number of people in the vehicle (incl driver).
For example: With 4 people in the vehicle, the expense per person on this trip would be $15.50. Alternately your carpool driver may choose to split the maintenance cost plus the actual gas cost among all in the vehicle. Your carpool driver will confirm exactly how much money they require to cover costs. Please split the actual cost among all people in the vehicle.

Additional advice: The cost of your trip is up to your driver. Your cost should not be greater than what is listed above, unless there is extenuating circumstances. If you want to be sure about the cost of the trip, check with your driver before you get into the vehicle. If you are the driver of the vehicle, this is a guideline to what you charge and not a rule.

- We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines at all times while participating in AOC events.
- Details of this event are subject to undergo a change at any point in time, with or without warning.
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- Notice any errors or problems in the information on this page? Please notify us at

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:
Please review our Cancellation Policy carefully!

Registration for this event opens at 6/21/2017 9:30:00 PM