Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway
The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway is a nationally designated Scenic Byway that is 40.64 miles in length and makes a loop through the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest. It winds its way through the fertile valleys and mountain gaps of the southern Appalachians. From the breathtaking vistas found atop Brasstown Bald (Georgia’s tallest mountain) to the cooling mists of the byway’s numerous waterfalls, scenic wonders abound in this region of North Georgia. Outdoor enthusiasts can spend days enjoying the area’s many recreational opportunities, such as trout fishing in cool mountain streams and hiking along the southern portion of the famous Appalachian Trail. The National Forest setting also provides a protected habitat for hundreds of native plant and animal species. The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway is surrounded by a number of small mountain towns with plenty of places to spend the night, eat a satisfying meal and lots to do. Blairsville, Young Harris and Hiawassee border the byway on the North, while Cleveland and Helen can be found to the south.
Points of interest along the route include Andrews Cove Recreation Area, just off State Route 17/75 which offers visitors relaxing camping, fishing, and hiking opportunities. Anna Ruby Falls Scenic Area features twin waterfalls, Curtis Creek dropping over 150 feet and York Creek falling 50 feet cascading down to form Smith Creek. Other waterfalls include High Shoals, Raven Cliff and Dukes Creek falls. There are several routes along this byway.
- From Gainesville: Take SR 11/US 129 north from Gainesville to SR 75 in Cleveland. Then travel north on SR 75 through Helen. The byway begins at a junction with SR 75 Alternate.
- From Toccoa: Take SR 17 west from Toccoa to a junction with SR 75 near Helen. Then take SR 17/75 north through Helen. The byway begins at a junction with SR 75 Alternate.
- From Dahlonega: Take U.S. 19 north to a junction with SR 180 at the right. Then take SR 180 east to SR 348. The byway begins at a junction of SR 180 and SR 348.
- From Clayton: Take U.S. 76 west to SR 17/75. Then take SR 17/75 south to a junction with SR 180. The byway begins at a junction of SR 17/75 and SR 180.
- From Hiawassee: Take SR 17/75 south to a junction with SR 180. The byway begins at a junction of SR 17/75 and SR 180.
- From Atlanta: Take I-85 north to I-985, then take I-985 north to SR 384. Go north on SR 384 until you reach SR 75, and head north along SR 75 through Helen. The byway begins at a junction with SR 75 Alternate.
Fall leaf season varies throughout the region, but generally falls within the first week of October and the middle of November.