Blood Mountain via Byron Reece + Appalachian Trail :: Chattahoochee National Forest

I haven’t done much hiking in North Georgia but I will still say that this trail is one of the best in the area. The whole out-and-back hike was just about 5 miles and there’s about 1500 feet of elevation gain in 2.5 miles. It’s a nice little thigh burner which is manageable and the payoff is well worth it. Oh, and also got to hike this beaut with Luke and I just love sharing time together in the outdoors.

View from atop Blood Mountain

Our hike up Blood Mountain started via the Byron Reece Trail. After just under a mile, you’ll turn right onto the AT until you reach the summit and/or the shelter.

The first part of the trail follows a small creek, then you begin your climb. It was only slightly icy when we went but it can get slippery on the rocks. (Luna also got tangled up in my legs when another dog was passing and she pulled me right over and I busted up my palm on a jagged rock. This is why you always carry a first aid kit!) You’ll zig zag through the lands of the Blood Mountain Wilderness within the Chattahoochee National Forest as you climb with a slightly rocky trail.

There’s a more than few good overlooks of the Southern Appalachians along the way. And I’ll share a little secret: the actual ‘summit’ of the mountain doesn’t have the best view. Go a little farther until you reach the shelter and climb the huge boulder in front of it for a prime lunch spot with a breathtaking view.

You can also make this a 6-7 mile loop by connecting the Freeman Trail if you are looking for a little bit of a longer hike and prefer loops to out-and-backs.

Blood Mountain is a wonderful hike in North Georgia. This trail can get crowded in the popular months, so plan to get to the trailhead early. (We did this hike in early February with some snow and ice, so we didn’t see many others.) Also, I picked up LOTSSSSS of trash on this hike. Please keep nature wild and practice all Leave No Trace principles.

Distance from Nashville: 4 hours 15 min

Trailhead: Byron Reece Trailhead on US-19

Trail: Byron Reece and Appalachian Trail

Link to trail map: Blood Mountain Wilderness

Length of Trail: 4.7 miles round trip, out and back

Camping: Blood Mountain Shelter

Overview: Climb a mountain in the southern Appalachians with beautiful scenery all around, rock outcroppings, and a small stream near the beginning. An all around beautiful hike!

Mt. Cammerer Summit via Low Gap Trail :: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

I decided to have one last “hike hurrah” before I start grad school up for the semester so I drove to my parent’s (new) house near the Cosby entrance to the National Park to summit a (small) mountain.

My Dad decided he was also up for the challenge so I didn’t hike this one alone. It was also a lesson is slowing down when I hike and actually taking the time to take everything in. I usually am a little time constrained in the winter trying to fight the daylight hours after having to drive 3-4 or more hours roundtrip. Plus, he was, like, really excited to be in my hiking blog (which I am pretty sure he’s like one of 3 people who actually read it but WHATEVER).


Mt. Cammerer just barely misses the 5,000 ft mark at 4,928 ft. So, by no means sky high, but it was a decently challenging and fun hike with over 3,000 feet of elevation gain.

Starting at the Cosby Campground, you take the (mostly switchback-y and uphill) Low Gap Trail until it intersects the Appalachian Trail. You then follow the AT to the Mt. Cammerer Trail which takes you to the lookout/fire tower summit. After reading reviews, I admit, I was a little intimidated thinking it was going to be a ridiculously hard hike. It was no walk in the park, but, honestly, I think Fiery Gizzard and some of the South Cumberland Trails are more difficult. (Maybe it’s because over half of those trails are rocks and boulders and you literally cannot go faster than 1 mph.)


Switchbacks on switchbacks


Still climbing…

That being said, it was a great trail. Hiking in the winter means that you can see the mountains surrounding you through the bare trees, which is one of the many reasons I love it. There was a small stream crossing right at the beginning but the rest of the way is an easy-to-follow path up the mountain (just follow signs to Mt. Cammerer). At the top, you are greeted by a no-longer-in-use fire tower and 360 degree views of the Smokies. Some say these are some of the best views in the park and although I haven’t hiked every trail, the views were pretty stunning.


Summit of Mt Cammerer & Fire Tower


Dad made it!


The expanse that is the Great Smoky Mountains

Distance from Nashville: 3.5 hours

Trailhead: Cosby Campground (great place to stay the night the night before the hike)

Trail: Low Gap Trail to (part of the) Appalachian Trail to the Mt Cammerer Summit Trail, then back down the way you came (see below in brown)

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Length of trail: 11.2 miles, allow 8 hours

Link to trail map: GSMNP Simple Trail Map

Overview: You climb a mountain and see pretty things. It’s hard but not impossible and definitely worth it.

Max Patch :: Pisgah National Forest

My guy and I took a short little trip to the mountains in North Carolina. We mostly did nothing and it was wonderful. We did go on a short walk and found some breathtaking mountain views. I found a site that detailed out some short hikes with great views and it took us to Max Patch in the Pisgah National Forest. The Appalachian Trail intersects this portion of the national forest, which was also pretty cool.

The ride up there is an adventure in itself, winding up dirt roads with (so many) potholes with me hanging out the window to get as close as possible to the mountains.

This trail isn’t so much a hike as it is a walk in a bald patch with mountain views all around you. So, if you are looking for a hike in the woods, this is not your trail. But, the views are pretty dope and there’s plenty of space to lie down and take a nap in the sunshine surrounded by the mountains.



my guy hiking on the AT


Distance from Nashville: 4 hours

Trailhead: Max Patch, Pisgah National Forest

Trail: the one that meanders around the patch, just make sure you don’t keep following the white blazed poles or else you will end up in Maine at the end of the AT

Link to trail map: Max Patch Trail

Length of trail: The above loop is about 1.5 miles.

Brief overview: A path in the middle of a bald with 360 degree panoramic mountain views.