Bell Mountain: The Best Little Non-Hike in Georgia

Bell Mountain Park and Historical Site doesn’t require a hike, but the views will make you think you’ve traversed the wild forests and mountains of Towns County.

The Non-Hike

When we shared our hike on Instagram a few weeks ago, the biggest question we got was, “How far is the hike?”

Good news! There is no hike!

When you drive here, you’ll park in the parking lot and step only a few hundred feet to the observation deck. Easy-peasy.

If you’re up for it, you can climb the stairs to the second, upper observation deck, taking you higher than 3400 ft above sea-level.  Here, you’ll find 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Chatuge.

The day we visited (pictured above) was a little rainy – but even with overcast weather, the view was sensational.

The History

The Hal Herrin Estate donated the 18 acre Bell Mountain Summit to Towns County in 2016.

The history actually goes back farther than that. In the 1960s a group of men from NC bought the mountain and pillaged it for minerals. That’s when Hal Herrin stepped in and purchased the acreage to preserve it.

It wasn’t until the gift to Town County that the road was paved and parking lots were created, making it accessible to more people.

The Graffiti

You can’t read an article about Bell Mountain without hearing about the graffiti rocks. It’s been there a while – for the past few years the area is covered in cameras to prevent further vandalism.

Everyone seems to say, “I hate the graffiti.” I’m the first to agree that I wish it wasn’t there, and I’m glad it’s no longer happening.

But my beliefs lead me to view the area differently: If you can’t change something, you must accept it.

I can’t change what happened in the past (and it’s not feasible to remove it) so I choose to look at it with an artistic eye, and try and enjoy the juxtaposition of the graffiti agains the majesty of Lake Chatuge.

Lesli Peterson

Lesli Peterson

Lesli made her way to Atlanta over 20 years ago, after living in Germany, Japan and six U.S. states. She relishes the discovery of obscure, offbeat and unwonted places, and she will chat up any willing stranger to uncover a new secret locale.

After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.

Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.
Lesli Peterson

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