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.
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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 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.
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.