This Saturday we went north into the Blood Mountain Wilderness to climb to the top of Georgia’s 4th highest peak by the same name. It was our second time there but the first trip in a few years. We found a 5.5 mi loop hike that climbs just over 2000 ft from a parking lot just past a popular destination on the Appalachian Trail: Neels Gap. It’s a beautiful, windy drive up to the trailhead and a pretty scenic hike with great views from the top. There are actually three trails you take to complete the loop. It begins on the Byron Reece Trail and then splits so that you can take the AT up for a steep ascent or take the left fork and stay on the Freeman Trial until you meet back up with the AT on the backside. Then you can hike the AT up and over Blood Mountain back to Reece and the parking lot. This is what we did. It was a good option for a pregnant woman out in the nearly 80 degree heat. The top of the mountain has plenty of spots to sit and relax, eat lunch, and take in unobstructed views. There’s also a shelter at the top for thru-hikers. One fun thing to do if you’re hiking toward Neels Gap is to ask the people you run into if they just came from Maine. Everyone loves that.
You can find good directions and a description of the hike here.