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!

West Rim Loop Trial :: Cloudland Canyon State Park, GA

Somehow this one had slipped past me. I’d actually never heard of it until I was scouring the internet for new hikes near me. But, as soon as I saw the photos, I immediately made plans to hike here.



Located near Chattanooga, on the western side of Lookout Mountain, Cloudland Canyon has a few different trails and waterfalls. (It’s also a state park so it has campsites, yurts, cabins, and more people than I’m used to) As a bonus surprise, it costs $5 to enter this park, so bring your cash.

The West Rim Loop us just shy of 5 miles, but you can add on a mile or so if you hike to some of the waterfalls, which I suggest. The trail meanders along the top rim of the canyon and there are occasional boulder outcroppings to survey the land below. The terrain varies a little from rocky to dirt trails, and is overall a moderate hike.


Distance from Nashville: 2hrs 15min

Trailhead: Once inside park (DISCLAIMER: It costs $5 to enter this state park), follow signs for the trails. It starts near the beautiful overlook.

Trail: West Rim Loop + additional Waterfall trail (my route in yellow)

Link to trailhead: Cloudland Canyon Trail Map

Length of hike: 5 miles (about 7 if you do the out-and-back Overlook/Waterfall Trails as well)

Brief Overview: Great day hike close to Chattanooga that’s perfectly balanced with stunning views.