Blood Mountain

Tips for Hiking Blood Mountain

Blood Mountain is easily one of my favorite hikes in Georgia. Located in Blairsville, Georgia (near Helen, Georgia), this is the highest peak on the Georgia section of the Appalachian trail. Even though it is a high peak, it is a completely doable hike for any hiker! As long as you come prepared, you can completed this hike and reach the 4459 foot peak.

This popular trail actually gives you two options for hikes that will take you to the summit. One hike goes out and back on the Appalachian trail and the other connects the Freeman trail to the AT and then summits Blood Mountain.

I’ve hiked and loved both trails, keep reading to decide which trail is best for you or pin this for later!

Blood Mountain is easily one of my favorite hikes in Georgia. Located in Blairsville, Georgia (near Helen, Georgia), this is the highest peak on the Georgia section of the Appalachian trail.

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Blood Mountain Via the Appalachian Trail

  • Mileage: 4.3 Miles Out and Back
  • Dog-Friendly
  • Considered an intermediate hike
  • 2.15 Miles to the summit
  • 1400ft Elevation Gain
  • Includes climbing over some boulders
  • Difficult for small children due to the incline and climbing

Blood Mountain Via the Freeman Trail

  • Mileage: 5.7 Mile Loop
  • Considered a Difficult Hike
  • Labeled Dog-Friendly, however, it is a very thin path that may make it difficult at times to walk with a dog.
  • Includes climbing over some small boulders
  • 1550ft elevation gain
  • Not recommended for children
blood mountain hike

Eric and I have completed this hike twice, and it is very special to us. The first time that we completed it was the same day that we said “I love you” for the first time. The second time was just to enjoy the hike all over again. We are fairly experienced hikers and don’t have trouble completing difficult hikes. Sometimes I get a Plantar Fasciitis flare-up, but that’s a different blog post for a different time. Either way, this hike was not challenging at all for us. You will definitely feel the incline in your legs, but it’s spread out nicely and the trail includes stone steps at difficult incline areas.

If you are not an experienced hiker, that’s ok! We have seen plenty of children on the trails (and some angry teenagers who clearly didn’t want to be there). The first time we hiked it, we had three friends of varying hiking experience with us. Two of our friends had never hiked before and rarely exercised, and even they made it to the summit! It’s important to prepare properly for any hike, but with enough motivation, this hike can be enjoyed by anyone.

Trail Info For Blood Mountain

Parking: Byron Reece Trailhead Parking

Cost: $5 Dollars per car standard Georgia State Park fee. Paid in cash and put in an envelope at the trailhead.

Blazes: They Byron Reece Trail (And Freeman Trail) are BLUE blazed. The AT has WHITE blazes.

blood mountain tree

Directions

  • Start at the Byron Reece Trailhead
  • At .7 miles, the trail splits. If you follow the BLUE blazes straight, you will continue on the longer Freeman Trail to the summit. If you follow the WHITE blazes to the right, then you will take the Appalachian Trail up to the summit.
  • If you follow the Appalachian Trail, you will come down the same way that you went up.
  • If you follow the Freeman Trail up, you will come to the intersection of the Freeman Trail and the AT at about 3.5 miles. You will follow the AT to the right and head up to the summit of the mountain. When coming down the mountain, you will follow the AT the whole way until you come back to the connection with the Byron Reece Trail.
blood mountain summit

Suggest Gear for Blood Mountain in the Summer:

  • 3 water bottles per person for the summer
  • Small backpack
  • Hiking Poles are helpful (just one per person is plenty)
  • Camera
  • Snacks for the top of the mountain
  • Headlamp if you are going in the evening
  • SMALL med kit- one bandaid, one benadryl, some ibuprofen
blood mountain trail bacon
Eric and I have a Trail Bacon tradition. We cook it before we leave and bring it with us. It’s the perfect treat to eat at the summit of Blood Mountain.

Tips for Hiking Blood Mountain

  • This is a VERY popular trail and parking is limited. It is best to arrive as early as possible to the trailhead so that you can get a parking space at the trailhead. If there is no parking at the trailhead, you have to park .25 miles away at an inn and pay to park.
  • Leave no trace
  • Check for ticks after you leave. Ticks are very active in this area in the summer.
  • If you are going early in the morning, use a hiking pole in front of you to knock down spider webs on tight portions of the trail. They will be there, and they will be annoying!
  • Stretch your calves before and after the hike

This amazing trail has so much to offer every hiker. There are beautiful trees, crazy insects, the potential for spotting wildlife, and a breathtaking summit view. Eric and I have done this hike twice and loved it so much that we tell everyone about it. On our latest hike we saw a bunch of millipedes which were really cool to watch. The first time we hiked we saw a Copperhead snake(big and poisonous) though so make sure you are always watching carefully as you would on any hike! This trail truly offers so many things for each hiker to see and enjoy.

blood mountain
blood mountain

At the summit, there is an Appalachian Trail shelter that was built in the 1930s. It is pretty cool check out so make sure you stop and give it a look!

AT Shelter

Have you done this hike? Let me know what you think about it in the comments below.

If you are looking for more of a challenging hike check out Multi-Day Hike in Shenandoah: Big Meadows/Hawksbill/Rose River

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