Overlooking Chattahoochee National Forest and Blue Ridge Mountains, Blood Mountain is perhaps the most famous peak in Georgia. The setting of epic battles between the Cherokee and Creek Indians more than 400 years ago, the peak is no longer a place of war but a peaceful locale for dayhikers, backpackers, and Appalachian Trail thru-hikers.
Starting from the Byron Reece Memorial trailhead (just north of Neels Gap), this 5.5-mile loop up Blood Mountain—at 4,458 feet, Georgia’s fourth highest peak—connects three trails: Reece, Freeman, and the Appalachian. The first 0.7 mile follows the blue-blazed Reece Trail along a rhododendron-lined creek and under sparse hardwoods to a four-way intersection at Flatrock Gap.
Continuing straight on Freeman Trail, the route hugs the southern contours of Blood Mountain on a gradual climb up to Bird Gap (3,700 feet). Turn right to continue on the AT; look left on this stretch for sporadic views of Slaughter Mountain and its self-named gap. Continuing on, white blazes lead through trail intersections then switchback up to the Blood Mountain shelter and summit. Views of back-to-back ridges and weathered peaks stretch into Tennessee and North Carolina. To finish, descend the AT almost 1,000 feet to Flatrock Gap; then turn left and backtrack to trailhead.
-Mapped by Kris Wagner and Scott Sanders