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.
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!