Category Archives: Hiking the Appalachian Trail

Photo courtesy of Jason Clemmons

Guest Blog: Jesica Clemmons of Sunrise Grocery

I grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta, but it always seemed as if my heart was born in the mountains. My mom and dad used to bring me to the mountains of North Georgia every chance they got; sometimes it was to hike & other times it was just to have a break from the chaos that always surrounded us. I found a comfort in that peace that we received when traveling for a weekend getaway. I loved it so much that when I turned sixteen and got my license, I would often come up to Blairsville for a hike and to see all the beautiful scenery rather than hang out in the city.

My love for these mountains and the town of Blairsville ended up building the path for me meeting my future husband. So, not only did I snag the perfect guy for me, but I also ended up living in what is for me, Heaven on earth. Not a bad deal, huh? These mountains and the town of Blairsville gave me the love of my life, an amazing job working at the oldest business in the county, and many great friends in my new hometown. Not to mention, I don’t have to drive up anymore for a weekend getaway. My weekends are now much more laid back and fun-filled.

Photo courtesy of Jason Clemmons

Photo courtesy of Jason Clemmons

Jason and I feel so lucky to live here. We live in a spot where most people come for vacation, and they come with good reason. We try to use every free moment we have to explore. Most evenings after we close Sunrise, we take a drive around our mountain town to take in the views. Rather than sit in traffic, we take in the fresh mountain air. We both always say it is better than sitting at home watching T.V.  We usually either drive up to Brasstown Bald and look for all the bears along the way or we drive up Richard Russell to watch the sky change into an array of colors from the setting sun.

Courtesy of Jason Clemmons

Courtesy of Jason Clemmons

Of course, the weekends are our favorite and are never dull. On Saturdays we are at the historic Sunrise Grocery all day. Luckily, Sunrise isn’t just a job for us, we absolutely love being there. We sell Jason’s photography, my mother in law’s knitting, my homemade soap, and lots of local goodies like jams, jellies, honey and t-shirts. So, it’s all fun things and fun people. We get to catch up with a lot of locals who come in to see us, and we also get to meet many new people from all over who are here visiting.  We strike up the fire for our boiled peanuts pretty early and from there it is usually pretty nonstop dipping up peanuts and chatting with our customers all day. It’s never a bad day at the office.

On Sundays we are able to take some time off and usually take full advantage of all this beautiful place has to offer. Sometimes we set out pretty early, as in four o’clock in the morning. Jason is a photographer and I am a nature lover so we will occasionally go somewhere to catch the sunrise. One of our favorite places is Brasstown Bald, which is the highest spot in Georgia. We’ll get up, make a BIG pot of coffee to throw in a thermos, and head out the door to hike up to the tower. A time or two we have been above the clouds and it is unbelievable! What beauty! We watch the clouds below us turn a golden orange before the sun peaks over them. One thing is for sure, we have never regretted getting up early to see a sunrise. As a matter of fact, it is a pretty amazing way to start the day.

Photo Courtesy of Jason Clemmons

Photo Courtesy of Jason Clemmons

We’re not always so ambitious when it comes to getting up early, but we definitely are both eager to get out of the house to go find some fun. Whether it is going to grab coffee at Cabin Coffee, popping into Sunrise to say hello, or head up to Mountain Crossings to check out their outdoor gear or walk a little of the Appalachian Trail, we make our rounds and then find something to do outside. A lot of times we’ll head to Helton Creek waterfall, especially if we have just had a good rain or if it snows. Other times we may go to Vogel State Park for a picnic or to walk around the lake. Vogel is both mine and Jason’s favorite state park in Georgia. You just can’t beat the view there with the lake and mountains as its backdrop. I got to say, it is a great place for a date. We went on one of our first dates there and we have the photo Jason took of the waterfall that day hanging in our room.

In the evening, we sometimes head to town to go out to eat at one of the restaurants. We have a lot of great places to eat in Blairsville so we usually just take turns going to different places. Other times we’ll go hike up to Wildcat to watch the sun go down. It is by far the absolute best place to catch a sunset that I’ve ever been to. It’s a pretty small hike, maybe about a mile, and the view is more than worth every step. It’s a great place to take a picnic or bottle of wine, sit out on the rock and toast to a stunning sunset.

fishing at vogel_credited

Spring Break Adventure Agenda

It’s Spring Break season, and there’s no better place for your spring break adventures than Blairsville-Union County! From exploring the Greater Outdoors to experiencing all of the food, culture, and shopping that Blairsville has to offer, we’ve got everything you need for the perfect spring break trip. Ready to book your mountain getaway? Great! Here are just a few things that should make your Spring Break Adventure Agenda…

Brasstown Bald
Get an unforgettable view of four states from Georgia’s highest peak. Learn more about Brasstown Bald here.

Vogel State Park
Enjoy swimming, fishing, hiking, paddle boats, and more at Vogel. Learn more about Vogel State Park, and other parks in our area here.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail
Union County boasts the only covered portion of the famous Appalachian Trail. You can also hike to the peak of Blood Mountain or brave one of the many other connecting trails. Learn more about hiking and other outdoor activities in Blairsville-Union County here.

Disc Golf
Play 18 holes of Frisbee Golf at Meeks park’s excellent 18-hole course. Learn more here.

Eat Well
Dine at one of Blairsville’s many amazing restaurants. There’s something to please every palette, from traditional southern food to fine dining! Browse listings and see a map of restaurants in the area here.

Waterfalls
We have many waterfalls here in Blairsville-Union County, like Helton Creek Falls and Wolf Creek Falls, to name a few. Learn more about our waterfalls and where to find them here.

Horseback Riding
Riders of all ages and levels can experience the countryside on horseback. Find out more about riding and a listing of stables here.

Shop ‘til You Drop
Blairsville offers a unique shopping experience, from local artisans to designer duds! Plan your shopping trip here.

As you can see, Blairsville-Union County offers something for everyone! This little list is just the tip of the iceberg, so call us today at 877-745-5789 or visit us online to learn more about all the fun your family can get into over spring break!

 

Hiking3_credited

Hiking the Appalachian Trail in Blairsville

It’s impossible to walk in the woods and be in a bad mood at the same time. Fortunately for us, Union County has a plethora of hiking trails to choose from. You can choose from moderate trails like those in our beautiful Meeks Park, the new Nottely Dam Reservoir Trails, or the scenic trail down to Helton Creek Falls. You may also choose more strenuous hikes like the Duncan Ridge Trail, the Arkaquah Trail, or the Coosa Backcountry Trail. The most famed trail, The Appalachian Trail, also crosses through Union County at Woody Gap and Neel Gap. In fact, the only covered portion of the white blaze 2,181 mile trail passes right through the structure of Mountain Crossings at Walasi-Yi.

Blairsville-Union County was designated an Appalachian Trail Community in March of 2011. This designation recognizes our community as one that is committed to promoting and protecting the AT and are neighborly to those who trod the Trail. A core group of volunteers have been working hard on several projects including compiling a FREE Union County Hiking Guide, a FREE Union County History Guide, and most recently a project showcasing the History of the AT in North Georgia which is displayed on a kinetic sculpture at Mountain Crossings created by Blairsville’s own local artist, Al Garnto.

In preparation for the hiking season this spring, Mountain Crossings is preparing for their Thru Hiker Kick Off party on Saturday, February 25th and everyone is invited!  Festivities will include bluegrass music from 1 pm to 5 pm, a gear raffle, hot dogs on the grill with all the fixin’s, a S’more making station, face painting and a scavenger hunt for the kids, unique photo ops, gear rep booths and much more! Proceeds from the gear raffle go to funding the Appalachian Trail History Project in Union County as well as Disaster Relief Efforts in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevier County, Tennessee. Raffle tickets are only $10 and enter you into a chance to win gear or bundles of gear ranging from daypacks, t-shirts, Keen hiking shoes, water bottles, stickers and much, much more. Tickets can be purchased at Mountain Crossings in advance and on the day of the event or at the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce. Tip: car pool with your friends and family, parking is limited.

For more information about your business becoming an AT Community supporter or to pick up a Union County History or Hiking Trail Guide please stop by the Welcome Center located in the Union County Community Center at 129 Union County Recreation Road, call 706-745-5789, or visit us online at www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com.

 

wintery-fall

Ho Ho Ho, What do you know?

Blairsville-Union County is not your average sleepy mountain town. There seems to always be something going on in these mountains. As we wind down on a fun, fall season, full of festivals and music, we look ahead to cooler days, crackling fires and special holidays.

Cooler days mean outdoor adventures and exploring. Choose one of many hiking trails on or adjacent to the Appalachian Trail, down to waterfalls, or even up to the highest peak in Georgia. From moderate to extreme and short to long, hiking trails are abundant in and around Blairsville-Union County. Consider a short hike to Helton Creek Falls or Wolf Creek Falls at Vogel State Park. Maybe choose a more moderate hike to the summit of Georgia’s highest mountain, Brasstown Bald rising 4,784 ft above sea level. For a more strenuous challenge, hit the Appalachian Trail at the top of Neel’s Gap and conquer Blood Mountain.

Whether you decide to camp or rent a cozy cabin, a warm crackling fire is in order this time of year. From rustic to chic, you can find a cabin on the banks of the Nottely River or on a mountaintop with endless vistas. With 90% of the county protected by the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, you have your choice of prime campgrounds. The act of gathering around a fire dates back to prehistoric times. So, unplug your phone, grab a bag of marshmallows and enjoy that mesmerizing glow of the fire with your loved ones.

So, now you know that as the last leaf falls off the trees and cold air nips at your nose, you can keep busy or unplug, shop till you drop or rejoice with the holiday season. Blairsville-Union County has everything you need for a well rounded mountain vacation with your family and friends. For more information about camping, hiking, lodging, events or area information call 706-745-5789, check out www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com, or stop by the Welcome Center at 129 Union County Recreation Road in Blairsville.

fall-drive

Fall Color in Blairsville-Union County

One of the most commonly asked questions at the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce is “when is the best time to see the leaves?” The answer to that question is difficult. The most common response is “the third and fourth week in October” However, there is a very scientific reason that determines the amount of color we are privileged to see in the autumn season. Let’s take a closer look at this.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, “The amount and brilliance of the colors that develop in any particular autumn season are related to weather conditions that occur before and during the time the chlorophyll in the leaves is dwindling. Temperature and moisture are the main influences.

A succession of warm, sunny days and cool, crisp but not freezing nights seems to bring about the most spectacular color displays. During these days, lots of sugars are produced in the leaf but the cool nights and the gradual closing of veins going into the leaf prevent these sugars from moving out. These conditions-lots of sugar and lots of light-spur production of the brilliant anthocyanin pigments, which tint reds, purples, and crimson. Because carotenoids are always present in leaves, the yellow and gold colors remain fairly constant from year to year.

The amount of moisture in the soil also affects autumn colors. Like the weather, soil moisture varies greatly from year to year. The countless combinations of these two highly variable factors assure that no two autumns can be exactly alike. A late spring, or a severe summer drought, can delay the onset of fall color by a few weeks. A warm period during fall will also lower the intensity of autumn colors. A warm wet spring, favorable summer weather, and warm sunny fall days with cool nights should produce the most brilliant autumn colors.”

We believe that the autumn of 2016 is going to be a brilliant one! Make your plans to come visit the North Georgia Mountains from the end of October through the beginning of November. Some of the best leaf peeping spots in Blairsville-Union County are:

  1. The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway is a nationally designated Scenic Byway that is 40.64 miles in length and makes a loop through the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest.  http://www.exploregeorgia.org/listing/3955-russell-brasstown-scenic-byway-cnf
  2. Lake Winfield Scott offers a myriad of fall color along with a small beautiful lake. http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/conf/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=10528&actid=29
  3. Brasstown Bald rises 4,784 feet above sea level and is Georgia’s tallest mountain. Visitors to this place on high find an observation deck which allows a spectacular 360-degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, exhibits, a film, hiking trails, and gift shop. http://cfaia.org/brasstown-bald-recreation-area-visitor-centers-in-georgia/
  4. Vogel State Park One of Georgia’s oldest and most beloved state parks is particularly popular during the fall when the Blue Ridge Mountains transform into a rolling blanket of red, yellow and gold leaves. Hikers can choose from a variety of trails, including the popular 4-mile Bear Hair Gap loop, an easy lake loop that leads to Trahlyta Falls, and the challenging 13-mile Coosa Backcountry Trail. http://www.gastateparks.org/Vogel
  5. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail stretches over 2,146+ miles from Georgia to Maine.  With over 74 miles of the southern route in North Georgia, the Appalachian Trail offers the ultimate in hiking opportunities.  http://www.appalachiantrail.org/home/explore-the-trail/explore-by-state/georgia
  6. The Southern Highroads Trail can be traveled in its entirety or in sections.  This very scenic route travels through four national forests (Chattahoochee, Nantahala, Cherokee, and Sumter) and four states (North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia).  http://www.southernhighroads.org/

To keep an eye on the leaf changing over the next few weeks, check out http://gastateparks.org/LeafWatch or https://smokymountains.com/fall-foliage-map/. Both of these websites, and many others, will keep you up-to-date on the expected peak of fall for the North Georgia Mountains.

For detailed local area information including maps, directions, dining, lodging, and upcoming event information please stop by The Welcome Center located in the Union County Community Center at 129 Union County Recreation Road, call 706-745-5789, email tourism@blairsvillechamber.com or visit us online at www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com.

Photo courtesy of Scott Michael Anna

Ch ch ch changes…

The seasons change, the years change, the days change, and time changes. With the summer drawing to a close, we can look forward to the crisp autumn and its beautiful colors. And as Blairsville-Union County grows and changes there are many new and exciting things ahead. New restaurants are opening, new retail stores are coming and new tourism assets are being developed.

Listed below are many activities perfect for getting back outside with your friends and family this fall.

Lake Nottely Bike & Hike Trail
The Tennessee Valley Authority in conjunction with Union County have created a mountain biking and hiking trail along the banks of Lake Nottely. As the path develops, picnic spots will be created along with varied levels of difficulty on the 1- 1.5 mile bike/hike loops. The access point, if you are heading west, is just past Nottely Dam on the left.

Festival-ville
The new season brings a new crop of festivals and events to experience and enjoy. At this fall’s Mountain Heritage and Sorghum Festivals, you can find yourself fully immersed in arts, crafts, heritage, and music. These are only a few select highlights; there are many more great festivals and events to choose from. A complete listing is available under the Event Calendar on www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com or you can pick up a hard copy in the Welcome Center.

History Trail
The Union County History Trail is a newly developed trail that highlights seventeen of Union County’s oldest landmarks and businesses for you to explore. Whether you are interested in tracing your roots at the Historic Courthouse or sampling some of the deliciousness at Logan Turnpike Mill, the History Trail meanders through Union County with historic and educational locations along the way.

Outdoor wonders
We are fortunate to have the Appalachian Trail and a variety of hiking trails branching off from the AT right in our back yard. Before you know it, the lakes will be back to full pool offering all of your favorite watersports like boating, paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and swimming. Pack a picnic lunch and choose a new hike that you haven’t explored yet.

A full hiking trail guide and fishing guides are available for download on www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com or you can pick up a hard copy in the Welcome Center. Another great tool is to download the FREE North Georgia Waterfall app for IOS and Android. The app will let you search both waterfalls and points of interests in 9 North Georgia Mountain Communities including Blairsville-Union County.

North Georgia Farm Trail
This jewel of a trail allows visitors and residents to enjoy the agricultural aspects of not only Union County but also of our friends along the Georgia Mountain Parkway in Jasper, Ellijay, Blue Ridge, Hiawassee, and of course beautiful Blairsville. From farm to table restaurants, farmers markets, u-pick vineyards, alpaca farms and more, the North Georgia Farm Trail has stops for everyone to enjoy. You can pick up your copy of the North Georgia Farm Trail in any of the Welcome Centers along Highway 76 or flip through the digital guide at www.gafarmtrail.com.

Playtime
Blairsville-Union County has a new playground including swings at Meeks Park for the youngsters to enjoy along with a new splash pad for the toddlers to play in by the community swimming pool. Poteete Creek Campground has a new playground for the young campers or daytime swimmers to frolic on. Very soon Union County will have our very own shooting range for the rifle team and BB gun teams along with the general public to target practice in a safe and controlled environment.

One thing that never changes is the beauty of this humble town. As a mecca for outdoor lovers, a sanctuary for retirees, a strong business environment for established and up and coming businesses, and the most ideal place to raise a family; Blairsville-Union County has it all. Believe It.

For more ideas on activities and events or detailed local area information including dining, lodging, and shopping information, please stop by The Welcome Center located in the Union County Community Center at 129 Union County Recreation Road, call 706-745-5789, email tourism@blairsvillechamber.com, or visit us online at www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com.

 

Photo Courtesy of Scott Michael Anna

Best Camping Sites in Northeast Georgia

You don’t need to look far to find the perfect place to set up camp in Northeast Georgia. From small campgrounds to state parks, the Blairsville-Union County area has plenty to offer for every camping adventure. Read more to discover four of the best camping sites in Northeast Georgia.

Trackrock Campground & Cabins
Located between Blairsville and Hiawassee, Trackrock is 300 acres of meadows, hayfields and woodlands. This campground is great for families, with lots of amenities and natural beauty. Nearby is a pond where visitors can swim and fish. For kids, there are two playgrounds as well as hiking trails the whole family can enjoy. The Chattahoochee National Forests surround the campground on three sides, keeping the campsites secluded from the city hustle and bustle. Trackrock campground offers camping for everyone: RVs, tents, and pop ups are all welcome. One and two bedroom cabins are available for those who prefer not to camp.

Vogel State Park
Vogel State Park is one of Georgia’s oldest and most beloved state parks. It is located at the base of Blood Mountain, a part of the Chattahoochee National Forest. During the fall, Vogel is transformed by the red, yellow, and gold leaves. There are many options for camping and cottages are available for rental. There are 85 campsites you can drive up to and 18 walk-in campsites for tents only. What makes this campground special is its location to other parks and hiking trails. Brasstown Bald is nearby, as are many popular trails such as the 4-mile Bear Hair Gap loop, an easy lake loop that leads to Trahlyta Falls, and the challenging 13-mile Coosa Backcountry Trail.

Lake Winfield Scott
This recreation area overlooks the beautiful Lake Winfield Scott located in Blairsville, Georgia. Here visitors can picnic, boat, fish, and hike. There are two camping loops with 36 campsites that can be claimed on a first come, first served basis. Nearby are popular hiking trails including the Lake Winfield Scott Trail, the Jarrard Gap trail, the Slaughter Creek Trail, and the Appalachian Trail.

Cooper Creek Campground
Cooper Creek Campground is located in Suches, Georgia in the North Georgia mountains. Fifteen campsites are laid out across the forest, with five of those sites nestled on the banks of the Cooper/Mulky Creek. Both creeks are trout streams with wild and stocked trout. Each campsite has a tent pad, grills, lantern pole, and a picnic table. Nearby there are five interconnected trails with plenty of tree coverage to keep the paths cool, even during the summer.

Jerae's Unity Alpacas

Fun Family Activities in Blairsville

When you hear the phrase “family fun”, what comes to mind may be the stress, long days, and lots of money. But that doesn’t have to be the case! Blairsville has activities for all ages that are free and don’t require detailed scheduling. We’ve compiled five free activities so you can spend less time thinking about time and money, and more time enjoying the beautiful North Georgia mountains with your family!

Outside adventure: Picnic and a hike
When planning a trip to North Georgia, take some time to enjoy all the picturesque nature sites. There are so many free activities waiting for you just outside your door. Helton Creek Falls is south of Blairsville off of Hwy 19/129. This hike is only 0.6 miles long, perfect for kids of any age. Be sure to pack a lunch because the falls offer a great site for a picnic. See more options at our spring hikes guide [insert link to spring hikes guide blog when available].

Learn something new: Alpaca Farms
Spend an afternoon getting to know an animal not common to North Georgia, Alpacas. At the Lasso the Moon Alpaca Farm or Jerae’s Unity Alpacas you can do just that. Be sure to stop by the gift stores for a selection of handcrafted jewelry and products made from Alpaca fiber. Entrance is free to both farms, but donations are welcomed. For both locations, please call or email ahead to make an appointment.

Treasure hunt: Geocaching
Geocaching has become an international pastime for family fun. Using a GPS device, enter in coordinates and follow the clues to a hidden cache. This is a fun way to get to know a new area, or appreciate all that your own neighborhood has to offer. There are plenty of Geocaches to discover in Blairsville, including one that takes you in and around the Union County Public Library.

Relax on the water: Lake trip
Lake Nottely offers a breathtaking alpine experience for residents and visitors just northwest of Blairsville. Or stay on shore and have a picnic at one of the parks surrounding the lake. Another option is Lake Winfield Scott which offers hiking, swimming, boating, and camping year round.

Fun times at the festival
In a tight community like Blairsville, there are festivals all year round where you can enjoy local crafters, fair food, and activities for the whole family (though not everything at these festivals is free). Check out our Festivals page for more information on upcoming festivals.

 

Courtesy of Renee Deibert

Top 5 Spring Hikes in North Georgia

Courtesy of Renee Deibert

Courtesy of Renee Deibert

Looking for a fun getaway that doesn’t break the bank? Check out our list of the best North Georgia Hikes. These trails will take you to the most iconic parts of North Georgia – including the Appalachian Trail, Blood Mountain, and the highest point in the state, Brasstown Bald. Mountain top views, beds of wildflowers, and refreshing waterfalls make these Georgia hikes perfect for a spring weekend.

1. Three Trail Loop at Lake Winfield Scott, Slaughter Creek, Appalachian Trail
Lake Winfield Scott is a part of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests. Surrounding the lake are many facilities and areas for a picnic lunch. The trail loop is 5.6 miles round trip and takes you across three separate trails providing for a variety of scenery, including creeks and wildflowers.

2. Byron Reece Trail at Neels Gap
This 1.35 mile trail goes through the lower elevation of Blood Mountain. The forest is beautiful in spring when blankets of vibrant ferns and flowers have bloomed. Small waterfalls and streams can be seen at the trailhead, while rhododendron and mountain laurels provide plenty of shade along the trail.

3. Helton Creek Falls
If you’re looking for a more relaxing day in the outdoors, consider Helton Creek Falls. With two picturesque waterfalls, it’s the perfect location to play in the water and cool off on a sunny spring day. The trail is a short 0.6 miles, leaving you with plenty of time to enjoy the views at your leisure.

4. Arkaquah Trail
This trail will take you from Brasstown Bald near Union County to Track Rock Gap. At 11 miles, this trail is more difficult than the rest, but it does offer stunning views of the North Georgia mountains. At Track Rock Gap, you can spend some time exploring the archaeological site with more than 100 petroglyph symbols.

5. Jacks Knob Trail
This moderate trail is 4.5 miles point-to-point and begins at the Brasstown Bald Visitors Center. You can take the trail all the way to the top of Brasstown or head south towards Jacks Gap and the Appalachian Trail at Chattahoochee Gap. While steep at times, this trail offers great views.

Exploring The Appalachian Trail In Georgia

The lovers of hiking would also love to agree that the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, commonly known as the AT, is the most famous hiking trail in the world. It forms the Triple Crown of long distance hiking in the United States along with the Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail.

The 2,174 miles that stretches through fourteen states of the US has remained a favorite among both passionate and casual hikers. The northern terminus of the AT rests in Maine and the southern terminus is in the fascinating state of Georgia. In between, unfolds one of the most enticing trails in the world that takes one through breathtaking natural beauty and is the home to a few rare animal and plant species.

Typically, hikers prefer hiking the trail from North Georgia to Maine than vice-versa and most commonly begin in March or April. They are known as the ‘north-bounders’ or NOBO and also GAME (Georgia(GA)-to-Maine(ME)) while those taking the opposite direction are known as SOBO or MEGA. Thirty trail clubs and multiple partnerships maintain the trail, which is managed by the National Park Service and the nonprofit organization known as the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

The state of Georgia houses seventy-five miles of the trail, which includes the southern terminus at Springer Mountain that stands at an elevation of 3,280 feet. The long winding trail that begins eight miles north of the Amicalola Falls is literally a journey through North Georgia’s macrocosm of natural history. Through mountains like Blood, Trey, and Big Cedar and gaps like Addis, Neels, and Woody, The Appalachian Trail promises a whole new world when in this part of North Georgia.

Although there are many individual favorites of the hikers taking this route, most concede that the Blood Mountain is definitely one of the most-loved places in the long trail. The name still brings to the mind thoughts of a battle that was fought between the Cherokee and the Creek Indians. But history is not the only appeal of the Blood Mountain. It is also the highest peak on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia and the sixth highest spot in the entire state. The Blood Mountain is a part of Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains where one finds the most amazing variety of temperate climate plants in the world. The species that thrive in the northern US blends with their southern kin right here in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The winters clad most of the trail with snow. But with the arrival of spring, the whiteness all around melts away bringing a world of colorful flora and fauna to life. Wildflowers such as the bloodroot, trillium, and azalea can be found most commonly in the region. And summers brings with them the laurel and rhododendron.

But what brings the North Georgia Appalachian Trail to life during the warmer months are not the motley collection of known and unknown plants but hikers who give the trail a new identity every day through their undaunted spirit and thirst for adventure.

Union County Georgia is a great place to stay during your vacation to hike the Appalachian Trail and explore its extravagant beauty.