Track Rock
County:Union
City:Blairsville
Type:Roadside
Cage covered rocks at Track Rock Gap
Cages protect the soft soapstone, Track Rock Gap
Once covered by the waters of a great ocean, Track Rock Gap is now dry land. Georgia's Cherokee Indians simply called it "printed place" and it is the only remaining in situ set of petroglyphs in north Georgia. These beautiful, albeit worn, examples of the pre-historic Indian occupation were probably carved sometime during the Woodland Indian era (1,000 BC to 1,000 AD in Georgia).

Six pieces of soapstone (a form of metamorphic talc commonly called steatite) lie near the road in Track Rock Gap, covered by metal cages to protect the soft pieces of rock from vandals and scavengers. Cars whiz past these cages, seemingly unaware of their presence and unawed by the historic nature of the place. Nearby, the old Cherokee village known to settlers as Brasstown sat for more than 300 years, but in 1838 these caretakers were forced west along the Trail of Tears.

Close up of petroglyphs at Track Rock Gap
Stones at Track Rock Gap
For many years archeologists thought these stones were carved by Cherokee artisans, mostly because of the proximity of Brasstown to Track Rock Gap. That theory is now considered unlikely for three reasons:
  • The placement of similar finds puts them outside the Cherokee area of control.
  • Cherokee oral history has no mention of a written language
  • Discovery of Woodland Indian sites near Track Rock.
Archeologists consider the Woodlands Indians the most likely candidates, although because of the malleability of soapstone, earlier Archaic Indians may have been the ones who carved them. There is evidence of Woodland cultures living near Track Rock Gap, but older Archaic Indian sites have not been found.

Dr. Matthew Stephenson, who would gain fame as the assayer of Lumpkin County towards the end of Georgia's gold rush, included the first written account of the rocks in 1834. Early settlers found corundum near the soapstone deposits and mined it heavily. James Mooney, who chronicled the Cherokee experience in north Georgia long after they left, visited the site on at least one occasion.

Track Rock, in the fittingly named Track Rock Gap, is home to the Fringed Gentian, a beautiful, threatened biennial.

Also to do in the area

Brasstown Bald
Arkaquah Trail

Location: East of Blairsville on Track Rock Gap Rd.
Directions: Take the Georgia Mountain Parkway 5 miles east of Blairsville, Georgia. Turn right on Track Rock Gap Road and follow it for slightly more than 2 miles. The rocks are on the right. Parking is available about 100 feet past the rocks.
Additional information:

Date added: November 16, 2003
Last update: April 4, 2004


Other Attractions in Blairsville
Brasstown Bald
Union County Courthouse Museum

Roadside Listing
Rock Eagle Effigy Mound
Big Red Apple
Historic Squares of Savannah
Georgia Guidestones
Rock City
Wilder Tower
Babyland General Hospital
Clock Tower
Stonepile Gap
Moon's Station
Etowah River Bridge
Cooper's Iron Works
Cass Station
Oostanaula River Bridge
Fort Norton
John B. Gordon Hall
Relief Map at Ringgold
Relief Map at Dalton
Resaca Map
Noble Brothers Foundry
Kennesaw House
The Big Chicken
Coca-Cola bottle at Turner Field
Cagle's Dairy
World of Coca Cola
Skylift at Stone Mountain Park
Market House


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