Glassy Mountain (N 34° 50.816′ W 083° 30.083′) is single handedly one of the coolest places we have ever explored in the North Georgia mountains. A fire tower. A helipad. What more could you want in a mountain hike? It’s crazy because it’s been right under our nose (or over it) for years and we never heard anything about it or figured out exactly what it was. Glassy Mountain is right outside of Clayton Georgia. More properly, between Tiger and Lake Burton.
To get there, turn off of old 441 in “downtown” Tiger on Bridge Creek Road. A few miles up and you will see Glassy Mountain Road on the right hand side. It’s a small unassuming gravel road so keep your eyes open. The gravel road will wind you all the way to the top. At the very end of the road it splits off. One section goes off to the left about 100 yards where there is a road block over the road. The other part of the road runs off to the right a couple hundred yards where there is a gate across the road.
From here we parked our car in front of the gate on the right fork and walked up. It’s just under a mile from our rough measurements from the gate to the summit. It’s an all gravel road but it’s got a slow and steady climb to it. A car can drive it so it’s doable to walk. Just be prepared to be worn out if you’re as out of shape as we were. We were lugging a 35 lb. two year old on our back though which probably didn’t help how exhausted we were when we got to the top.While we can’t verify this, it appears the little office space and garage are used somewhat regularly. We didn’t run across anyone on the day we were up there but the window unit in the office was running. And the grass on the top was recently cut and maintained. There is also a set of radio towers for a local station so maybe they maintain it. We asked around with the 2 or 3 folks we knew who had made the trip before and they reported never seeing anyone up there as well. There aren’t any no trespassing signs posted though. The signs that are posted actually say something to the effect of “be courteous, don’t do anything criminal, and you’ll be alright”. So we went on ahead, treaded carefully, and didn’t do anything stupid.
The mountain itself is 3315 feet tall and at the summit there is a huge grassy top (similar to Max Patch). On our walk up, there were a couple of deer wandering around on top that watched us before heading out in the opposite direction. And we don’t want to freak anyone out because we’re not animal poop experts, but there was a pile of some very old large scat in the middle of the road that looked like wolf, coyote, or fox according to our trusty chart.
It was a cold day and the wind was making it colder so be prepared to deal with the extremes of sweating on the way up and freezing when you finally get to the top.The fire tower was built in 1941 and is 55 feet tall. The fire tower hasn’t been used in a while as everything was stripped out of it except for an old desk. There were 4-5 flights of stairs to get to the top but once there you had 360 degree views of the entire area. We’re not experts at our mountain and ridge line names yet, but the view was exceptional even though we had no idea some of the specifics of what we were looking at. We could make out Brasstown Bald but that was only because it was the tallest.
You could see the north eastern tip of Lake Burton and Timpson Cove in the distance to the west. Just below Lake Burton was one of the prettiest pieces of farm land we have ever seen. It looked like a golf course it was so green. We tried to find it when we came off the mountain, but couldn’t figure out exactly where it was. We also tried to find Stonewall Creek Vineyards while on the top too as it was supposed to be at the base of it, but I think we were looking on the wrong side to be able to see it.We’re not sure what the helipad was used for. We’re guessing it is for the Forest Service when dealing with any fires. Googling around doesn’t have much, if any, information on the helipad or fire tower so we can’t tell if they’re still in use or if the office space and garage are just for the radio towers.
All in all, it was a great little hike/walk and one of the most interesting ones we’ve been on in the North Georgia Mountains. We see waterfalls and mountain laurel and rhododendrons all the time. It’s not every day you get to see a helicopter pad, fire tower and 360 degree views of North Georgia. Highly recommend!