Discover 5 Animals Prowling Atop Georgia’s Tallest Mountain

Written by Katie Melynn Wood
Updated: July 13, 2023
© Josef Pittner/
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Amazing Animals at Brasstown Bold in Georgia infographic
Here are five animals that can be found at the top of Brasstown Bold in Georgia.

Georgia’s Brasstown Bald is the highest mountain in “the Peach State.” The mountain peak is 4,784 feet above sea level and is known for its breathtaking views and accessibility. It is also easy to reach from the Appalachian Trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine. The wilderness area surrounding the peak called the Brasstown Wilderness, is almost 13,000 acres in the northeastern part of the state. Brasstown Bald has hiking, wildlife viewing, and a visitor’s center with some of the best views in Georgia. We’ll explore here animals prowling on Georgia’s tallest mountain.

When you visit Brasstown Bald, one of the best places to get a great view is the 360-degree lookout. From this point, you can see into four different states, including Georgia, as well as broad expanses of the Appalachian Mountains. Because it is relatively remote, there is plenty of wildlife just steps away from this amazing view. You can enjoy a picnic, use the built-in telescopes to look for birds and other animals or go for a hike.

The wilderness area is part of the Chattahoochee–Oconee National Forest, which is protected and monitored by the National Forest Service. Because it is such unspoiled and naturally rich land, there are plenty of animals that call the area home. Some of them are common throughout Georgia, the east coast, or even the entire United States. Others are rare and hard to spot. Some are even endangered! Here are five animals that you can see from the Brasstown Bald.

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#1 Black Bears

Before you get too worried, the black bear population in the area is spread out over the vast area of the Brasstown Wilderness. While they frequent Brasstown Bald, these animals are not likely to come strolling into the visitor’s center on most days. However, if you plan to enjoy one of the four trails, which range from less than a mile to 6 miles, you should be Bear Aware.

North American Black Bears are between 220 and 600 pounds. They are plentiful throughout the United States, especially in wooded areas with plenty of trees and other animals. They do not hibernate in the winter. Instead, they become less active as a way to conserve their energy when food is scarce. This is called denning. So do not be surprised to encounter a black bear at any point in the year.

Black Bears are not common in all parts of Georgia but can be seen in the mountainous areas, like around Brasstown Bald. In fact, the Appalachia Georgia Friends of Bears hosts a Bear Day at Brasstown Bald to educate visitors about the native black bear population. The group tracks black bear sightings, assisted by visitors logging their encounters and sightings on the organization’s website, to collect data and analyze the species. As part of their education outreach, Appalachia Georgia Friends of Bears provides ways to enjoy the outdoors while ensuring that it remains safe for both humans and bears. So you might encounter a black bear as one of the animals prowling on Georgia’s tallest mountain.

Black Bear - Dangerous Animals in West Virginia
The Appalachia Georgia Friends of Bears hosts a Bear Day at Brasstown Bald to educate visitors about the native black bear population.

©Ghost Bear/

#2 White-Tailed Deer

Like many wooded areas, Brasstown Bald is home to white-tailed deer. These deer are so named for the noticeable white fur on their tails. It stands straight up and is one of the first things that you may spot of the deer itself. They blend into their environment very well and tend to avoid people and noises.

If you are hiking, you may come across white-tailed deer if you are being quiet. You might also see them from a distance. Look for rustling and movement, as they are very fast. You can see groups of deer together, including mother deer with their babies in the summer.

For those with quick eyes, you might also see deer as you drive into the nature area toward Brasstown Bald. They tend to be most active at dusk, so pay close attention to the road if you are driving around that time. It is not uncommon for a deer to think that it can dart across the road from one forested area to another, only to be surprised by an oncoming car. The expression “frozen like a deer in headlights” didn’t come about for nothing!

white-tailed deer
Like many wooded areas, Brasstown Bald is home to many white-tailed deer.

©Tom Reichner/

#3 Wild Turkey

Also known as the Eastern turkey, wild turkeys are plentiful at Brasstown Bald. These amazing birds are native to North America and associated with the wild, American landscape. So it makes sense that they would call Brasstown Bold and the surrounding wilderness area home.

Wild turkeys coexist with deer, eating many of the same foods. They can actually fly, unlike their domestic relatives. Wild turkeys are much more muscular and adapted to the wild, as their name suggests. They vary in size, however. The smaller birds are just over 5 pounds. But the largest wild turkeys can get to more than 20 pounds with a wingspan of almost five feet.

One of the most recognizable physical features of the wild turkey is its red wattle. This is an extra flap of skin on its neck that helps the turkey cool off. Before you see a wild turkey, you might hear its distinctive “gobble” sound. Wild turkeys make a lot of noise, enough to be heard up to a mile away. So even if you don’t see a wild turkey at Brasstown Bald, listen closely. You might just hear one in the nearby area.

wild turkey
When awake, wild turkeys spend most of their time looking for food so they could be animals you see prowling on Georgia’s tallest mountain.

©Sean R. Stubben/

#4 Ruffed Grouse

The small bird known as a grouse is very common throughout the eastern states, including Georgia. They even live as far north as Canada. Ruffed grouse can survive cold temperatures, although they do not usually see them in Georgia. They can be gray or brown, which helps them blend into their environment. When visiting Brasstown Bald, you may encounter a grouse and not even realize it.

They aren’t very loud or large, so it can be easy to overlook them. They have noticeable ruffs on their necks and feathered crests on their heads. Both males and females have these features. They tend to be between 1 and 1.5 pounds. If you want to look for ruffed grouse, keep your eyes on the forest floor since that is where they spend most of their time.

ruffed grouse
Both males and females, like this ruffed grouse, have noticeable ruffs on their necks and feathered crests on their heads.


#5 Bobcats

Like black bears, bobcats can be dangerous if you come across them unexpectedly on the trail. It’s best to be aware of where they live and what they look like to keep both yourself and the wildlife safe. Bobcats are common in mountainous areas, such as the Appalachian Mountains. They are some of the animals prowling on Georgia’s tallest mountain

They weigh between 9 and 33 pounds. Bobcats are generally tan or brown with some darker markings that help them camouflage in shadowy forests. They are built like many other cats but a bit more muscular and around twice as large as a typical housecat.

Bobcats like to keep their distance from people so you probably won’t see one during your visit to Brasstown Bald. However, if you look at the trails, you may see evidence that they were there. Bobcats will scrape or claw at the ground to mark their territory, often leaving urine trails to provide a scent to ward off other animals as well.

Like black bears, bobcats can be dangerous if you come across them unexpectedly on a Georgia trail.

©Victor Arita/

Plants to See at Brasstown Bald

With 360 degrees views from the top lookout point, Brasstown Bald is an amazing place to view foliage in the picturesque Appalachian Mountains. Fall is a peak time to visit, as the fall foliage is in full view. You can enjoy brilliant colors and cooler temperatures whether you want to spend time picnicking at the top of the mountain or want to hike on one of the trails.

Evergreens like white pine, fir, and hemlock are also common in the area. Even if you visit in the winter, you will still enjoy lush greenery and breathtaking views. Galax is a white wildflower that grows all around Brasstown Bald. There is a great science center at the visitor’s center that can tell you all about the plants and animals that you can expect to see when you visit Brasstown Bald.

Summary of 5 Amazing Animals at Brasstown Bold in Georgia

#1North American Black Bear
#2White-Tailed Deer
#3Wild Turkey
#4Ruffed Grouse

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About the Author

Katie is a freelance writer and teaching artist specializing in home, lifestyle, and family topics. Her work has appeared in At Ease Magazine, PEOPLE, and The Spruce, among others. When she is not writing, Katie teaches creative writing with the Apex Arts Magnet Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. You can follow Katie @katiemelynnwriter.

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