• Activities:

    Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    4.3 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1400 Feet

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area

Blood Mountain is an awesome day hike in the heart of The Chattahoochee National Forest. Enjoy beautiful vistas of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains from the top.

The Chattahoochee National Forest and Cohutta Wilderness make up the wild and scenic southern tip of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Blood Mountain trail offers the day hiker a taste of the Appalachian Trail that does not disappoint.

The hike starts at the Byron Reece trailhead at Neels Gap where you follow the blue trail blazes. As is typical in the southeastern mountains, your journey begins with a wander across creeks and through tight rhododendron. Enjoy the mild warm up as very soon you begin your climb up the hill to where The Byron Reece meets the Appalachian Trail at Flat Rock Gap. Turn right at this junction, following the white blazes, and settle in for the long climb to the top.

Don't let a little hill intimidate you, the scenery is amazing as the trail winds up through big rock formations and dense woods. You'll sweat, but enjoy the sweet mountain air and quiet of the hills.

There are a few false summits on the way to the top, so don't drop your pack at the first overlook you come to. Once you transition from trail to more solid rock underfoot you will cross a number of stony balds that certainly give pause to view the valley below. Press on until the ground levels off and you once more transition back to trail. You will know you have reached the top when you run into the stone cabin built by The Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934.

Picnic Rock (beside the stone cabin) is aptly named, and it is here where you will want to kick back and take in the full expanse of the Blue Ridge laid out in all its splendor. Keep your eyes out for large birds of prey who circle about, riding thermal winds, until they spot lunch and dive out of sight. Sunrise and sunset make for fantastic photo opportunities, just make sure you bring along lighting if planning to be on the trail when the sun is down.

The return trip is just a matter of retracing your steps, so take your time. It's all down hill, so stop and check out a few of the overlooks and rocky crags missed on the way up. The Appalachians are some of the world's oldest mountains, and the sands of time have literally worn much of the stone smooth with age.

Quite frankly, this is a hike to put on the repeat list as each season provides the adventurer with new discoveries, wildlife, and landscape.

Pack List

  • Day pack with plenty of water and snacks
  • Rain coat and extra layers depending on time of year
  • Good hiking shoes or boots
  • Headlamp
  • Camera
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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One of my favorite parts of the AT. A steady ascent but well worth it at the top. Lots of good boulders along the way for a picnic with a view. Loved running into thru-hikers.

3 days ago
3 days ago

This hike to the top of Blood Mountain is truly one of Georgia's top mountain hikes. Not only do you get epic views at the top, but the trail is a really good length and awesome exercise. This trail can easily be done in under 2.5 hours even if you take multiple breaks on the way up. Even if this trail is too short for you, there is a 6 mile loop trail that you can do or there are other trails nearby such as the short Desoto Falls trail that could easily be paired with this hike. Another big plus about this hike is that it is only a couple miles away from a ton of wineries so if you want to feel fancy despite your hiking clothes and reward yourself for your mountain summit earlier in the day, check out some of the awesome wineries nearby. I have to be quite honest that I really underestimated the quality of a lot of these North Georgia wines. Some of them are quite good.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Take the time and hike up in the dark and catch a sunrise. Great way to start your day

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

We just went today and started at the Byron Reese Trailhead. Once you start following the white blazes, the trail gets increasingly more strenuous. It's steep and a lot of "rock stairs" climbing. Took us about a hour to reach the top and the views were glorious! Totally worth every step!

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

It's a great trail that intersects the Appalachian Trail. Be careful if you end up having to hike in the dark. I have this habit of either going too late in the day, or taking my sweet time on the way up or at the overlook, causing me to hike back in the dark (with a head lamp of course). That happened here at Blood Mtn and my friend and I got sort of lost for about an hour. We accidentally turned on to the AT and had to retrace and find the Byron Reece trail... Could've gone forever. But anywho, it was a good experience. Met a girl in the middle of the night who was finishing her last 2 days on the AT. She started in Maine and had been on the trail for months straight. It was awesome hearing her story.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Absolutely breathtaking and totally worth the work to get to the top.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Love this hike, camping at the summit is easy and it allows you to see some really beautiful sunsets and sunrises.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Just hiked it today! Absolutely loved it! Great day hike. Family & dog friendly. Though it is not an easy trail. There were plenty of kids making it to the top. The view is definitely worth the climb. Highly recommended.

almost 3 years ago
almost 3 years ago

Rob Giersch Explorer

Humble urban and outdoor adventurer who escapes to the mountains and rivers whenever possible, trusty camera by my side.

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