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U.S. Forest Service

Southern Region Viewing Area


Great Bellwort . A member of the Lily family (Liliaceae), great bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora) is a characteristic wildflower of rich, mesic cove forests of the southern Appalachian mountains. Photo by Penny Stritch.

scarlet beebalm. A member of the mint family (Lamiaceae), scarlet beebalm (Monarda didyma) is pollinated by both butterflies and ruby-throated hummingbird and is a treasure to come upon for all wildflower enthusiasts. Photo by T.G. Barnes, University of Tennessee Herbarium.

Northern maidenhair. A delicate fern, Northern maidenhair (Adiantum pedatum), found growing in high-quality moist forests. Photo by T.G. Barnes, PLANTS Database.

Sosebee Cove

Forest: Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests

District: Brasstown Ranger District

Description: Sosebee Cove is a picturesque high-elevation north facing cove forest covering 175 acres. The trail through the cove is dedicated to Arthur Woody, (the “Barefoot Ranger”) the first Forest Ranger in the state of Georgia who served from 1911 to 1945. He negotiated the purchase of Sosebee Cove. Due to its north facing orientation Sosebee Cove has a rich diversity of shade tolerant trees, shrubs, and wildflowers. The forest is a maturing second growth forest, although to many a visitor the area has a feeling of being old-growth. The mesic forest is characterized by very large yellow poplars (Liriodendron tulipifera) and yellow buckeyes (Aesculus flava). There are many other tree species that are more characteristic of forests to the north that are part of Sosebee Cove forest. Species include sweet birch (Betula lenta), American basswood (Tilia americana), mountain maple (Acer spicatum), striped maple (Acer pensylvanicum) and the rarely encountered yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea). Commonly encountered flowering small trees and shrubs include flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), and several viburnums (Viburnum spp.). Other tree species that one may encounter are cucumber magnolia (Magnolia acuminata), northern red oak (Quercus rubra), white ash (Fraxinus americana), and yellow birch (Betula allegheniensis).

Viewing Information: With its north-facing, mesic forests Sosebee Cove has a rich display of wildflowers encompassing the diversity of spring ephemerals to the autumn glory of goldenrods, asters, and other late-blooming wildflowers. Species commonly encountered in the spring include Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), large-flowered bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora), Solomon’s-seal (Polygonatum biflorum), showy orchid (Galearis spectabilis), blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) purple toadshade (Trillium cuneatum) and large-flowered trillium (Trillium grandiflorum). During the high days of summer, wildflowers such as Indian pipes (Monotropa uniflora), scarlet beebalm (Monarda didyma), skullcaps (Scutellaria spp.), American lopseed (Phyrma leptostchya), and false nettle (Boehmeria cylindracea) are commonly encountered. As the seasons transition toward late summer and early autumn the delicate blues of woodland asters (Aster spp.), the yellows of goldenrods and sunflowers (Solidago spp and Helianthus spp.) dominate the landscape at Sosebee Cove. Ferns are also commonly encountered across the slopes of Sosebee Cove. Maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum), southern lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina), marginal wood fern (Dryopteris marginalis), hay-scented fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula) and cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea) are just a few of the rich diversity of ferns documented from Sosebee Cove.

Safety First: Both forests receive high recreational use throughout the summer, and traffic along the forest roads can be heavy, especially near developed facilities. Be especially watchful when driving on GA 180 on the way to Sosebee as it is narrow and extremely winding, with numerous bicyclists and motorcycle riders sharing the road. Weather in the southern Appalachians is generally mild but wet, with abundant rainfall throughout the year. Higher elevations, however, can experience cold, wet weather at any time during the year. As a result, adequate rain gear and warm clothes are recommended, even during the summer. In addition, trails in the region are often rocky, and require supportive shoes and sure footing.

Although the area contains a stream, all surface water should be treated before drinking or cooking. Carry and drink plenty of fluids, and use sunscreen on exposed skin, especially at higher elevations. Biting insects are generally not a problem. Mosquitoes and ticks are present, but usually not a nuisance. Both mosquito and tick bites can transmit diseases, however, and appropriate measures, such as long clothing and repellants, should be used. Gnats are ubiquitous during the growing season, and often become a nuisance, due to both their numbers as well as their persistence. Please take necessary precautions while hiking outdoors.

Directions: From Blairsville, GA take U.S. 129 and 19 south for about 9.5 miles. Turn right (west) on to GA 180. Go two miles to the Sosebee parking area on the right (north side) of the highway.

Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests, Brasstown Ranger district, 1881 Highway 515, P.O. Box 9, Blairsville, GA 30514. Telephone: (706) 745-6928.

Closest Town: Blairsville, Georgia.