OK – so The Copper Basin isn’t just Georgia…it also includes two cities in Tennessee…but don’t get so exact on me here!
To be specific, it includes the city of McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN…you know these two cities because of the blue line that designates the state border. It’s where the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway takes its layover…and where you can stand in two states at once. In fact, if you’re in a canoe, you can be in two rivers at once, as this is where the Toccoa becomes the Ocoee. The third city in the Basin is Ducktown, just about 3 miles up the road.
Our friends in Blue Ridge/Fannin County have “adopted” The Copper Basin because, well…most people don’t even realize they’ve stepped from one city to another (let alone, that they’ve left the state!) So when I was up there recently, I got a tour of The Basin and a better understanding of what a hidden gem this area truly is!
Here are SIX fabulous reasons to mosey up to the border and explore The Copper Basin
White Water Rafting. The centerpiece of this area is the rolling river, so it’s no surprise that you’ll find a plethora of river activities. Visit the Olympic Ocoee River Whitewater Venue the see the hoe of the 1996 Olympic Whitewater Canoe & Kayak Slalom competition – or to take on the rapids yourself.
Ducktown Basin Museum / Burra Burra Mine. This history in this area is mind-boggling. Did you know it was one of the nations’s great copper mining communities, employing tens of thousand of people? The museum sits on the site of the historic mine , displaying relics of a bygone era. It’s fascinating to learn about the toil, the work, the struggle that ensued.
Insider Tip: Head over to the new Fannin County visitor center in McCaysville to see even more photos and memorabilia from this time period.
Waterfalls. Multiple waterfalls grace this area (even though they are not exactly IN the basin…we’re sneaking them here for you to see.) Benton Falls at 1.5 miles, two major waterfalls on the Turtletown Creek Trail, and Lowery Falls with super views.
Rod’s Rockin Rolls. After exploring, you’re going to need to fuel up, and Rod’s is where to do it. Tasty bites include sushi rolls, spring rolls, and more. And if the food wasn’t enough of a draw, you’re going to adore the location. Adjacent to the building is a gorgeous patio with plenty of cozy seating areas, blooming flowers, and a welcome vibe.
Growlers Galore. There are not one, but TWO breweries here that are singing your song. Copperhill Breweryoffers a large, open space with tons of light…and regular calls to Mystic Mountain Pizza for the perfect beer pairing! (PS – She does beer and pizza pairings at her place, too, so keep an eye on Mystic’s event calendar.) Second, Buck Bald Brewery, is smaller on the inside but gets a huge high-five from us for their fantastic open-air patio right by the train!
Insider Tip: While you’re drinking, head over to Copper Ale Station. It’s rumored to be haunted and one of the oldest bars in the state, making it a great dive bar with a side of history.
Hiawassee Loop. If you’ve been reading our blog for any amount of time, you know we are head over heels for the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad — but they aren’t the only train that has a layover here.
Nearby, the TVR offers an extended 94-mile round-trip day-trip excursion through the lower Hiwassee River Gorge, over the Hiwassee Loop and onto the joint cities of Copperhill, Tennessee, and McCaysville, Georgia, where a 90-minute layover provides opportunity to eat and shop before returning to the departure city of Etowah.
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