Fans of HBO's Band of Brothers will be familiar with Currahee Mountain. Located in Stephens County, Georgia, 40 miles and one-hour drive west of Clemson, South Carolina. the mountain served as a physical fitness challenge to the paratroopers who trained at Camp Toccoa during WWII. The distance of the trail to the summit and back, "Three miles up, three miles down," became synonymous with Currahee Mountain. Today, the trail to the top is accessible for visitors looking for a challenge.
Currahee is derived from a Cherokee word meaning "stand alone." Part of the Blue Ridge Mountain range, Currahee Mountain rises 800 feet above the surrounding area and is the highest peak in Stephens County. The 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment adopted Currahee as their motto, reflecting the nature of airborne operations which drop paratroopers alone behind enemy lines.
After WWII, Camp Toccoa was turned over to the state of Georgia and used as a prison camp before the site was abandoned in the 1950s. In 2012, Camp Toccoa at Currahee, a non-profit foundation, was formed to preserve the camp's history and the legacy of the paratroopers who trained there. The only surviving WWII structure was the mess hall. However, the camp gate and replica buildings have been erected to house the museum's artifacts. A C-47 aircraft is also on display on the campgrounds.
Next to Camp Toccoa at Currahee is the start of the Colonel Robert F. Sink memorial trail, named for the commander of the 506th PIR during WWII who was portrayed by Col. Dale Dye in Band of Brothers. The trail is open during the daytime and follows the three miles up Currahee Mountain Road to the mountain's summit. Despite the quote, "Three miles up, three miles down," the trail features inclines and declines in both directions.
Although Currahee Mountain Road can be driven to the top by car, the road itself is heavily eroded in some sections and contains loose rocks. Drivers should summit Currahee Mountain at their own discretion. Those looking for the real Currahee challenge can run the three miles up and three miles down like paratroopers did during WWII. Note that there are no bathrooms or water fountains at the bottom, summit, or along the trail. The final 1.2 miles before the summit are extremely steep, so conserve your energy for that final charge to the top.
The peak of Currahee Mountain is now host to a series of radio towers. Hidden in the middle of these fenced sites is a National Geodetic Survey Marker labeled "Currahee." Moreover, the top of Currahee Mountain offers unprecedented views of the surrounding area. With no Captain Sobel yelling at you, feel free to rest at the summit and take in the scenery before making the three-mile descent.