Two Towns, One Stop
The twin towns of McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN hold treasures for visitors who “cross the line”
Two states’ worth of food, fun and shopping await you in one adventure-packed corner of the mountains.
The locals call this area the Copper Basin due to the long history of copper mining in the area. Here, two bridges (one steel, the other concrete) separate two states, and one river has two names (the Toccoa on the Georgia side, the Ocoee on the Tennessee side).
Ride the Rails (or Hop in the Car)
If you’re riding the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, these twin towns are the “end of the line” — the place where passengers disembark for a bite to eat and an amble through quaint shops filled with antiques, clothing, gifts and arts & crafts.
Of course, you don’t have to ride the train to visit. It’s a quick drive from Blue Ridge (just 10 miles on GA Hwy. 5) or Morganton (11 miles on GA Hwy. 60).
Copper Basin Finds New Life
The area is currently undergoing a revitalization effort, and seeing an influx of new stores and restaurants as a result. A group made up of locals and investors, for example, recently pressure-washed the bridge, and plans to install more than two dozen park benches around town. Other improvements include new streetlights, landscaping, and copper mining artifacts and signage to share the area’s history with visitors. A 4-acre park with exercise equipment, walking paths and pavilions is also planned for the area.
Small businesses, like Mountain Attitude Designs, Escape the Line Escape Room, Buck Bald Brewing and Copperhill Brewery, are doing their part to draw tourists and locals back to the area. Meanwhile, the old mall was completely renovated and turned into the new Riverwalk Shops. It’s scheduled to be occupied this spring by three new restaurants and a full assortment of shops, including second locations of Downtown Blue Ridge favorites, Blue Ridge Adventure Wear and The Owl’s Nest.
Area Fast Facts
McCaysville population = 996; Copperhill population = 511.
McCaysville, Copperhill & Ducktown are known collectively as the Copper Basin.
Copperhill & Ducktown were settled around 1843 when copper was discovered in the area. It was mined until the late 1980s.
Open smelting, timber harvesting and the release of harmful gases severely denuded the hills around Copperhill. In 1939, the TVA and the Tennessee Copper Company began a long-term reforesting project to help restore the area.
The Toccoa River flows north from Blue Ridge to McCaysville. As the Ocoee in Tennessee, it is known for challenging Class III & IV whitewater rafting rapids.
The Ocoee Whitewater Center off Hwy. 64 was the site of the 1996 Olympic Summer Games Canoe & Kayak Slalom competition.
More Reasons to Visit
While you’re visiting the Copper Basin area, check out these other popular attractions:
- The Blue Line — Take a “selfie” as you straddle the blue line and stand in two states at the same time!
- The Steel Bridge — The scenic old bridge crossing the Ocoee River was originally built in 1911, ending the need for a ferry.
- McCaysville Park on the Toccoa River — A hidden treasure, this riverside park has a playground, picnic tables and a boat ramp. A great spot to cool off.
- Horseshoe Bend Park — Located on the Toccoa River, this is a favorite park for picnics, fishing and relaxing. There are several covered picnic shelters, a playground and restrooms. From May through September, the park hosts “Pickin’ in the Park,” a gathering of musicians on Thursday evenings.
- Ducktown Basin Museum & Burra Burra Mine — Tour the grounds and take a fascinating journey through a 150 years of copper mining and everyday life of the Tennessee Copper Company.
- Ocoee Whitewater Center — Home of the 1996 Olympic Games, you can tour the center, hike or bike the trails, and play in the water. It’s also ground zero for whitewater rafting.
Cross the Line!
Be sure to stop in the McCaysville Visitor Center at 53 East Market Street to view historic pictures and exhibits, and find local information.