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Posted: June 13, 2011 6:34 a.m.

One Tank Trips: Brasstown Bald

Where can one day and one tank of gasoline take you?

By Tharon Giddens/

Anytime the heat gets too much for you this summer, you can always check out the National Forest Service's skycam atop Brasstown Bald, the highest peak in Georgia.

Even better, you can take an excursion and check out the peak for yourself. It's less than a three-hour drive from Newton County and well worth a day trip.

You may want to pack a sweater, even on a sweltering June day. The temperature atop the 4,784-foot-high peak is usually about 10 to 15 degrees cooler than what you're used to in Covington.

The visitors center has an interesting interpretive museum where you can learn about forest conservation and a bit of north Georgia history.

Just the scenery is enough to cool you off. On one of those rare summer days when there's no haze, you can get a view into South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee. There are signs along the rail that tell you what you're looking at.

The drive is steep up the mountain, so you need to use a lower gear. You can't drive all the way to the top, though: There's a parking lot where you can either board a shuttle or climb the remainder of the way on your own foot-power.

The pathway is paved and just .6-mile, but it's no leisurely walk in the woods. If you're used to climbing the moderate hillocks around Covington, you may be a bit out of breath by the time you reach the visitors center by foot.

But it's worth the effort. Just sit back atop the world and enjoy the cool view.

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