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Bell Mountain: No Hike Required to take in Spectacular Georgia Mountain Views


This may be one of the most unusual hiking places in North Georgia

Everything you need to know about Bell Mountain in Hiawassee GA

Unrestricted 360-degree views of the Appalachian Mountains in north Georgia. Below, the vast Chatuge Lake, studded with islets, extends far into the horizon. Bell Mountain is one of Georgia’s most beautiful views. It may, however, be the saddest mountain you’ve ever seen.

Is Bell Mountain a hard hike?

Don’t be fooled by the stunning views you see online, there’s basically no hiking whatsoever to enjoy the stunning views from the top of Bell Mountain. You’ll drive up to the top. You only need to climb up some steps and walk across a wooden landing to see the magnificent views from the top. 

Walk around the Graffiti filled Bell Mountain in Hiawassee

To be honest, getting to the parking lot is more harrowing than getting to the summit of this mountain. When you arrive at the bottom of the road, you will observe that the road leading up to the parking lot is just one lane wide. And it is quite a windy road. We don’t recommend eating immediately before you drive up this road. 

How high is Bell Mountain GA? What is the elevation of this Mountain in Hiawassee? 

Over 3400 feet above sea level. 

Bell Mountain more than 3400 feet above sea level

Where is Bell Mountain?

Bell Mountain is located near Hiawassee, Georgia, in the northeast corner of the state. You can find Bell Mountain at: 220 Shake Rag Rd, Hiawassee, GA 30546. Bell Mountain is a little over a mile from the Hiawassee Town Square. You’ll turn onto Shake Rag Road and follow it about 1.5 miles to Bell Mountain. GPS may not be able to find it.

All the way to the summit, the road is paved. You have the option of parking in one of two lots. If you park in the lower lot, it is 300 feet to the top; however, if you park in the higher lot, you will just have to walk a short distance.

Parking at Bell Mountain – no hiking for spectacular views

What is the history of Bell Mountain?

Bell Mountain, has quite a sad history. In 1960, was formerly the site of a quartzite mine. Three men from Murphy, North Carolina, blasted their way to the mountain’s summit in pursuit of the mineral. They finally discontinued operations in 1963 when they were unable to successfully mine the mountain, leaving the mountain in ruins. leaving a massive gaping crater on the top of the 3,400 foot knob that can now be seen from miles away.

Hal Herrin, a local Georgian, bought the land in 1971 with the intention of preserving it. It grew in popularity among hikers and off-road enthusiasts due to it’s difficult accessibility. When Hal died in 2014, he left the land to Towns County in order to preserve Bell Mountain for future generations.

One of the best views in Georgia is Bell Mountain

Recognizing the uniqueness of the mountain and the fabulous views, the county built an observation platform and improved the road. Later, they raised the Hal Herrin Scenic Overlook at Bell Mountain to 3,424 feet above sea level. This top platform provides a 360-degree view.

Towns County has subsequently worked hard to pave the highway to Bell Mountain and build an observation platform at the summit in order to avoid future overuse and deterioration of the mountain and also to preserve it. Some locals resent the paving of the road as they say it makes it more commercial. 

Why is There Graffiti on Bell Mountain?

Graffiti on Bell Mountain in Hiawassee

Bell Mountain has a signature look – it is covered with spray paint. The vandalism happened over decades, but has now stopped as the town outlawed it, and there are cameras to prevent this from happening.

It seems that because for so long Bell Mountain was sort of a hidden mountain in North Georgia, only some people could access it.  You either needed to be in excellent physical shape to see or own a rugged SUV to navigate the tough unpaved road. Perhaps these thought they had a right to spray graffiti to leave their mark for visiting Bell Mountain.

If you are in the area of Hiawassee or just looking for something different to do, take a drive up to Bell Mountain. Despite its wounds, it is still a beautiful site. The spectacular views are worth the drive – graffiti or not. 

About the author

Malika Bowling

Malika is the author of several books including Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! and the founder of Roamilicious. She is also a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant. Follow us @Roamilicious on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for the content not shared on the blog. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe box below) and never miss a contest, giveaway or the latest must visit restaurant!