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Neel's Gap to Blood Mountain, GA

Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
  3 of 5 
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,109 feet
Elevation Gain 1,349 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2-3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 11.15
Interest Historic, Perennial Creek & Peak
Backpack Yes
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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5  2000-08-05 Crzy4AZ
Author Crzy4AZ
author avatar Guides 31
Routes 96
Photos 2,637
Trips 601 map ( 2,170 miles )
Age 48 Female Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Oct, Apr, Sep
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  5:22am - 7:51pm
0 Alternative

Appalachian Trail favorite
by Crzy4AZ

At 4458 feet elevation, Blood Mountain is the highest peak on the Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail (AT). This is my favorite hike in the area and at 4.4 mi RT combines a good work out with nice views (humidity permitting).

Blood Mountain gets its name either from a bloody battle between the Cherokee and Creek Indians in the 1600's or perhaps from the red lichen that light up the trail. It sounds more exciting to think of bloodshed on the mountain, but no one really knows for sure. The trailhead I've always used to go up Blood Mountain is directly across from the Walasi-Yi Interpretive Center parking lot at Neel's Gap. But it's tricky to park downhill on the edge of the steep road and can be dangerous with weekend traffic to walk back up to the TH.

Now people prefer to use the Byron Herbert Reece Access Trail (formerly known as Blood Mountain Spur) which is 0.5 miles North downhill past the Walasi-Yi Interpretive Center. This access trail is 0.7 miles long and dead ends into the AT (1.0 miles to the left to Neel's Gap and 1.5 miles to the right to the summit). The remaining 1.5 miles on the AT to the summit are mild switchbacks with a steady climb and no views until you get to rock outcrops just below the summit.

Once at the summit, look for the shabby but historic shelter built in 1934 by the Civilian Corp of Engineers. This trail is very busy on Spring, Summer, and Fall weekends with all the Atlanta day hikers.

There are many options to lengthen this hike with loops or combine it with other features in the area. My top two (day trip length) combinations are: Blood Mtn/DeSoto Falls or Blood Mtn/Lake Winfield Scott. A fun, non-camping base station for a visit would be in Dahlonega, GA which embraces its history as the first gold-rush city in the US reflected in its kitschy shops and B&B's.

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2008-01-04 Crzy4AZ
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Chattahoochie Forest
    Chattahoochee-Oconee Recreation Pass Information $5 daily / $25 Annual

    There is an option to earn an annual pass with 20 hours volunteer work.

    Free on Wednesdays. A backcountry permit from the visitor center must be obtained to hike or backpack.

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Atlanta it's about 80 miles. Take GA 400 North until it ends. Turn left onto US19/GA 60. In 4 miles turn right onto US19/GA60/GA9. Stay on US19 another 8.2 miles as the road forks to the right. Then 5.3 miles to Turner's Corner where you turn left on US19/129 and go 7.8 miles to Walasi-Yi Interpretive Center. Don't park here, but it marks the Neel's Gap TH, and there's water and other sundries here. For parking continue north down the hill to the second left for the parking area for Byron Herbert Reece Access TH.
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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