Blood Mountain hiking, backpacking & camping guide

Hike, backpack and camp Blood Mountain's beautiful, popular and rugged summit on the Appalachian Trail north of Helen, Georgia. 

 

It’s the tallest peak on Georgia’s stretch of the Appalachian Trail, offering stunning summit views. And it’s one of Georgia’s most popular hiking destinations. Blood Mountain draws day hikers and backpackers to its summit by the dozens every fair-weather weekend.

Hike, camp and backpack the Blood Mountain summit on the Appalachian Trail north of Helen, Georgia

But there’s more to Blood Mountain than the often-hiked Byron Reece Trail at Neels Gap to the 4,458-foot summit. Explore the Blood Mountain summit’s beauty from all angles with this list of our favorite Blood Mountain hiking trails, and grab some serenity on the mountain’s lesser-traveled trails.

Blood Mountain Trails

Hiking the Byron Reece Trail at Neels Gap

BYRON REECE TRAIL AT NEELS GAP

Get a taste of the Blood Mountain Wilderness beauty on this short trek from Neels Gap to Blood Mountain’s lower elevations, hiking a mossy, stream and fern-filled forest to the Appalachian Trail.

1.35 MILES, OUT-AND-BACK

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Hiking the Byron Reece Trail to the Appalachian Trail

BYRON REECE TRAIL TO THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL

The most direct, popular and often-busy trail to the summit, this hike accesses the AT from the Byron Reece trailhead north of Neel’s Gap.

4.3 MILES, OUT-AND-BACK

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Hiking the Blood Mountain Loop Trail on the Appalachian Trail and Freeman Trail

BLOOD MOUNTAIN LOOP TRAIL

The Blood Mountain Loop hikes the Appalachian Trail, Freeman Trail and Byron Reece Trail, trekking over and around the mountain’s summit.

6 MILE LOOP

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Hiking the Jarrard Trail, Appalachian Trail and Slaughter Creek Trail

APPALACHIAN TRAIL, JARRARD TRAIL & SLAUGHTER CREEK TRAIL

This loop departs Lake Winfield Scott, hiking the Appalachian Trail from Jarrard Gap to Blood Mountain and returning on the Slaughter Creek Trail.

5.7 MILE LOOP

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Hike to Blood Mountain via Vogel State Park north of Helen, Georgia

BLOOD MOUNTAIN VIA VOGEL STATE PARK

The longest – and most difficult – trek to Blood Mountain, this hike climbs the mountain via Vogel State Park’s Bear Hair Gap, Coosa Backcountry and Duncan Ridge trails.

8.5 MILES

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Hike Blood Mountain on the Appalachian Trail through Neels Gap to Cowrock Mountain

APPALACHIAN TRAIL: WOODY GAP TO JARRARD GAP VIA BIG CEDAR MOUNTAIN

Hike from the paved Woody Gap trailhead over the scenic Big Cedar Mountain summit to Jarrard Gap in the Blood Mountain Wilderness.

11.6 MILES

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Hike Blood Mountain on the Appalachian Trail through Neels Gap to Cowrock Mountain

BLOOD MOUNTAIN TO COWROCK MOUNTAIN VIA NEELS GAP

Backpack the Appalachian Trail from Blood Mountain to Cowrock Mountain via Neels Gap. Camp on a mountaintop – and if you’re lucky, score the prime site at the Wolf Laurel Top summit.

13 to 16 MILES

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What to Pack Hiking? Our hiking gear lists feature our favorite, trail-tested gear.

Our fave hiking gear

What to Pack?

Ready to hit the trail, but wondering what to pack?

Our gear lists feature our favorite, trail-tested hiking gear for day hikes on local trails and in the Georgia backcountry.

hiking gear list: local hikes

hiking gear list: backcountry

Backpacking & Camping

 

Blood Mountain’s high elevations and rugged beauty make it a popular backpacking and camping destination. Camp fires are not permitted in the Blood Mountain Wilderness, and its popularity (and irresponsible campers) have drawn black bears to frequent the forest. Food storage in bear-resistant canisters is required from March 1 through June 1 – and strongly suggested year-round.

Grab some solitude under the stars by backpacking in to one of the many trailside campsites on the Appalachian Trail or Slaughter Creek Trails (free, first-come first-camp). Most day-hikers scale the mountain from Flatrock Gap via the Byron Reece Trail, so find the most serenity on the Appalachian Trail on the mountain’s western face. The sites are most directly hiked via the Blood Mountain Loop Trail.

Prefer car camping at a campground? Tent camp on a glassy mountain lake at the Lake Winfield Scott campground (fees – view reservation info) and hike to Blood Mountain via the Jarrard Trail and Slaughter Creek Trail. Or spend the night at one of Vogel State Park’s cabins, electric or tent camp sites and hike to the mountain’s summit via Vogel’s Bear Hair Gap Trail, Coosa Backcountry Trail and Duncan Ridge Trails.

Where ever you camp, preserve the beauty of the Blood Mountain Wilderness. Pack out everything you pack in and leave no trace.

 

Get outside, Georgia! #atlantatrails

Find the best outdoor adventures in the southeast! Our Georgia trail map search highlights our favorite adventures on a searchable map. Or check out our favorite Atlanta hiking trails, our favorite North Georgia hiking trails, the best hikes to Georgia waterfalls, and our favorite Atlanta running trails for more great ideas on how to get outside.

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