Category Archives: Hiking the Appalachian Trail

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.

 

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.

Checking Out North Georgia and the Appalachian Trail

Step away from the stress of everyday life and take a trip back to enjoy the beauties of nature’s creation by visiting North Georgia in Union County. This area is filled with many gorgeous picturesque areas with many opportunities to enjoy a family vacation or even a weekend getaway. Being one with nature and basking in all of its glory is a true experience especially when exploring the Appalachian Trail.

The Appalachian Trail that goes through the North Georgia area is only a mere portion of the trail itself. The trail actually crosses over fourteen different states and at least sixty different national and state parks. Over seventy-six miles of the trail goes through Georgia. People who want to hike the Appalachian Trail have many different areas in the Union County area to camp out and take in all of the nature that the trail has to offer.

Not only are there winding pathways, gorgeous trees towering overhead, and mountains in the panoramic view, but there is also opportunities to see several natural species of wildflowers and animals in their natural protected habitat. Winding trails branch off of the Appalachian and the views from different areas of the trail offer views of the Blue Ridge Mountains that are spectacular. Hundreds of smaller nature trails branch off into various directions so it is a good idea to take a map.

For hiking enthusiasts, the Appalachian Trail in North Georgia is a paradise and dream excursion. At some points it may even be tougher than the average hiker typically would experience. The hike in itself will be tough work on even the most athletic of all climbers but the up and down peaks on the trail is an absolute site to be seen. There are places on the trail that could bring tears to one’s eye because it can be hard to fathom nature in all of its glory.

There are cascading waterfalls in the depths of the forest. The Appalachian Trail itself even has a rich cultural history from when there was a gold rush so many years ago. There were also several battles of the Civil War fought on this trail, changing history books in the United States forever.

If an avid fisherman is in tow, there are also several areas where people can cast a line and wait to get a bite in one of the many lakes and streams on the Appalachian Trail. The Blue Ridge Mountains are near Lake Conasauga and it is the highest lake in Georgia, resting at least 3,000 feet above sea level.

Throughout the year, one great draw to the area of Blairsville, Georgia, are the numerous hikes on the Appalachian Trail that encourages hikers to come and go on various hikes in groups. These are typically put on by the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club. There are also accommodations and camping sites that are nearby so that everyone can get geared up for the experience of their life on the North Georgia Appalachian Trail.