History Carved on a Rock
Track Rock Gap is one of the best-known of the petroglyph, or marked stone, sites in Georgia. The six table-sized soapstone boulders contain hundreds of symbols carved or pecked into their surface. Archaeologists have speculated dates for the figures from the Archaic Period (8,000 to 1,000 BC) to the Cherokee Indians who lived here until the 19th century. No one knows the exact meaning of the symbols or glyphs, which seem to represent animals, birds, tracks and geometric figures. The earliest written account was in 1834 by Dr. Matthew Stephenson, who was director of the U.S. Branch Mint in Dahlonega.
One of the favorite stories about Track Rock Gap was recorded by ethnographer James Mooney who gathered Cherokee stories. The Cherokee called this site Datsu`nalasgun`ylu (where there are tracks) and Degayelun`ha (the printed or branded place). Cherokee stories include an explanation that hunters paused in the gap and amused themselves by carving the glyphs: the marks were made in a great hunt when the animals were driven through the gap, and that the tracks were made when the animals were leaving the great canoe after a flood almost destroyed the world and while the earth and rocks were soft. Unlike other similar Native American sites, these petroglyphs are carved into huge soapstone boulders and not drawn or painted on the rocks.
From Blairsville, take Hwy. 19/129 south 2.8 miles. Turn left on Town Creek School Road and go 1 mile. Turn left on Trackrock Gap Road and go 3.8 miles. The parking lot will be on the left.