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Hiking Trails in Georgia

Bear Hair Gap Trail

Hike the Bear Hair Gap Trail through a scenic stream-filled forest to beautiful views of Lake Trahlyta at Vogel State Park.

georgia hiking trails: 4-6 miles 4.1 miles
(round trip)
? Your mileage may vary! Accuracy of your GPS device, weather conditions, and stops along your route will affect your own recorded distance.
georgia hiking trails: moderate to difficultmore
?Our difficulty estimate, based on distance, terrain, elevation change, & ease of wayfinding. May vary daily due to weather, trail reroutes, downed trees, etc.
georgia hiking trails: dog-friendly Dog-
?Leashed dogs are allowed on this trail. We’ve loved hiking this route with our trail-loving Labrador Retrievers! Check out more of our favorite dog-friendly trails in Georgia for a great hike with your pup.

LOCATION:Vogel State Park near Hiawassee, Georgia

PACK:our Osprey day pack and our hiking gear list

Exploring a series of small, tumbling waterfalls in a rocky forest on the lower elevations of the infamous Blood Mountain, the Bear Hair Gap Trail is one of those classic North Georgia hikes that always seems to make for an excellent adventure. Departing from one of Georgia’s most popular state parks, the trail loops from the campground at Vogel State Park, climbing to lofty views of the park’s tranquil waters at Lake Trahlyta. And it explores mile after mile of scenic, lush, leafy forest along the way, looping through massive rock outcroppings and winding through a mossy forest filled with tumbling creeks.

Lake Trahlyta view on the Bear Hair Gap Trail

The adventure spans just over four miles and visits several backcountry campsites. It’s also a great day hike and popular trail run – and with an ascent of a thousand vertical feet, the trail makes for a great workout, too. And while the views from the overlook don’t rival those from the nearby true summit of Blood Mountain, the neatly framed view of Vogel’s lake, nestled in the rolling southern stretches of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is definitely worth the journey.

Hike the Bear Hair Gap Trail through a scenic stream-filled forest to beautiful views of Lake Trahlyta at Vogel State Park. #hiking #running #camping #backpacking #northgeorgia #atlanta #georgia #travel #outdoors #adventure

Bear Hair Gap Trail: the hike

The route begins at the backcountry trailhead at Vogel State Park (view maps and driving directions), hiking westbound from the park’s campground and sharing a path with the Coosa Backcountry Trail. Be sure to read the information about black bear encounters on the signs at the trailhead: on our recent hike on this loop, we spotted both a mama bear and her cub on the trail. Bear interactions with hikers have been increasing in the Blood Mountain Wilderness – so know how to avoid an encounter with a bear before you begin. The hike climbs from the trailhead, rising over a series of rustic wooden stairs and passing a wooden overlook at a tenth of a mile.

The hike crosses a wooden bridge, following green trail blazes through stands of hemlock and passing through thickets of dense rhododendron. Nearing four-tenths of a mile, the trail reaches an intersection. Beginning the loop portion of this hike, this route turns right, continuing its westbound journey. The Coosa Backcountry Trail splits off to the right at just under a half mile.

Small waterfalls on the Bear Hair Gap Trail

The hike continues its steady climb, winding through a wide switchback and passing through a thicket of dense mountain laurel. The trail veers to the southwest, crossing a wooden bridge over a tumbling creek.

The trail arcs sharply northbound, reaching an old gravel road at one mile and turns left to follow the road roughly southbound. The hike’s relentless climb pauses briefly, following the roadbed over a short level stretch and crossing a shallow creek. The climb resumes as the trail winds through a creek-filled forest, carving through several wide switchbacks.

At 1.5 miles, the hike reaches a spur trail, following the spur eastbound to an overlook. Due-north views from the overlook reveal the blue-hued Lake Trahlyta far below. A campsite near the overlook reveals wintertime views of the nearby summit of Blood Mountain and offers backpackers a great spot to crash for the night.

The route backtracks along the spur to the Bear Hair Gap loop, and reaching the loop, turns left, continuing the southbound journey. The trail rolls elevation fairly gently over the next three-quarters of a mile, and then begins to descend at 2.5 miles, passing an intersection with the Coosa Backcountry Trail.

Bear Hair Gap Trail at Vogel State Park

The hike quickly passes through a gap between several enormous, weathered rock outcroppings encrusted with silvery lichens and vibrant green moss. The trail crosses a shallow creek at 2.7 miles, catching views of several small, tumbling waterfalls upstream.

The trail descends along rustic wooden stairs and passes a campsite at just under three miles, continuing the nearly-relentless descent. The hike fords another wet creek crossing at just over three miles, continuing to follow the trail’s green trail blazes through a maze of side trails near the crossing. The trail veers roughly northbound, completing the loop at 3.75 miles and turning right at the trail intersection, following the spur trail back to Vogel’s backcountry trailhead. The hike reaches the trailhead at just over four miles, completing the adventure.

More great hikes near Vogel State Park

Ready for the next adventure? While you’re in the park, take a short walk around the lake, following the Trahlyta Lake Trail to beautiful views of Blood Mountain and a tumbling waterfall. Hike the Byron Reece Trail and a segment of the Appalachian Trail from Neels Gap, climbing to stunning views from the summit of Blood Mountain and visiting a historic stone AT shelter at the top. Follow a short path and decend through a scenic creek valley filled with gnarly-branched rhododendron to visit Helton Creek Falls, a two-tiered waterfall set in a quiet cove.

Or for an incredible high-mileage adventure, follow the Coosa Backcountry Trail and Appalachian Trail to Blood Mountain, an energetic 8.5-mile adventure from the backcountry trailhead at Vogel State Park.

After the Adventure

Vogel State Park is a great place to call home base for a few nights in the North Georgia Mountains. While you’re nearby, make the short drive up to Hiawassee and visit our new hiking outfitter store, Trailful Outdoor Co. We carry a wide selection of hiking, camping, and backpacking gear from our favorite, trail-tested brands. We also stock our full line of Atlanta Trails apparel, a bunch of locally-made gifts and goods, and a ton of trail maps, books, and guides to help inspire your next adventure. Our Atlanta Trails founders are in the shop every day… we’d love the chance to say hello!

Leave No Trace: Atlanta Trails, Asheville Trails and Trailful are official Leave No Trace partners

Please Remember

Always leave no trace, pack out everything you pack in, and if you see trash, pick it up and pack it out.

Stay on the marked trail, tell someone where you're going, pack safety and wayfinding essentials, and don't rely on a mobile phone to find your way. Please always practice good trail etiquette. And before you go, always check the trailhead kiosk, official maps, and the park or ranger office for notices of changed routes, trail closures, safety information, and restrictions.

Vogel State Park Bear Hair Gap Trail Map, Directions & Details

Bear Hair Gap Trail Map
This map shows our approximate route while exploring this trail, but does not replace an official trail map. Please refer to the official trail map for the most current and accurate route.

Love the trail?

This trail is maintained thanks to the hard work of countless volunteers and donations from supporters of the Friends of Georgia State Parks. Please support them by making a donation or joining a volunteer day. Let's work together to keep these fantastic trails maintained and open for use!

Driving Directions



GPS Coordinates

34.763817, -83.926333     //     N34 45.829 W83 55.580

Elevation Profile

Bear Hair Gap Trail Elevation Profile

Eric Champlin is a creative director and photographer who loves to explore southeast. He's the co-owner of Trailful Outdoor Co, a locally-owned hiking outfitter shop in Hiawassee in the Georgia mountains near the Appalachian Trail. He’s also the co-founder of Atlanta Trails and Asheville Trails, digital magazines that highlight the South’s best outdoor adventures. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.