Since we had opted to skip the Coosa Back Country and do Blood Mountain, we had plenty of energy to also do the Arkaquah Trail the next day. Unfortunately, the weather had taken a turn for the worse after the Oktoberfest but no worries, we did the train anyway. Besides the area was in a drought so was in need of some rain. This trail is a ride walk and is about six miles. We did it in about three hours including the walk up to Brasstown Bald, Georgia's highest peak. It was pretty dismal but the leaves were very colorful just the same and we enjoyed the work out and probably our last hike of the season. We did it to Brasstown Bald and his wife picked us up there. An easier option would be to just start there and walk along the ridge and back, thus avoiding the steep ascent and having to get picked up.
This was our second trip up to visit friends that had bought a second home in Blairsville, GA. We went to check out the fall foliage and catch the Oktoberfest in nearby Helen. We also wanted to tackle the Coosa back country trail but after reading up on it we decided that with such great weather it would be better spent getting up as high as possible to enjoy the views. So, we chose to head up to the top of Blood Mountain. We took the Slaughter Creek Trail though our friend took us up a slightly longer route and we came down the normal one. It was about six miles and took us about three hours with a nice stop at the top to enjoy the views. The leaves were changing and the weather just about perfect. We could almost see Atlanta!
Ok, it was during a big drought and there wasn't much water falling. My guess is it's not ever a roaring one anyway but it is a nice watering hole for locals to cool off and the deep valley forest is a shady relief from the hot summer Georgia sun too. It's a short but steep walk down base falls and a small climb to the upper ones.
The 2175 mile Appalachian Trail that starts at Springer Mountain in Georgia and finished at Mount Katahdin in Maine goes right through Blairsville and you can access it from numerous points. You can certainly do some steep climbs to reach it or do it the lazy way and drive right through it like we did on this occasion.
At 4,784 feet Brasstown Bald is Georgia highest mountain and the focal point of the Wolfpen Ridge that includes Blood Mountain that dominates nearby Vogel State Park. There is an observation tower from which you can look over an expansive cloud forest that gets its name from the moisture laden trees due to the clouds the generally engulf the area. On the day we were there it was nothing but blue skies! There is a steep half mile trail from the parking area to the observation tower of for those not able to make the walk there is a shuttle bus for $1.
Vogel State Park is a real gem not only for avid hikers but also for those who just like to relax in nature. There are cabins for rent circling the scenic centerpiece Lake Trahlyta and Blood Mountain looms as a backdrop. There is a swimming beach and easy walking path around the 20 acre lake but for those so inclined there are numerous trails that will take you further afield. In fact, you can hike all the way to Maine if you like on the Appalachian Trail! The hike we want to do next time up is Coosa Backcountry. It's best done as an overnighter but we'll likely do it all in one day as my buddy is not fond of camping and he does have a nice place for us to rest up after the long walk.
Brasstown Bald is Georgia's highest mountain and is located just outside Blairsville. The mountain stands at about 4700 feet and there's a short trail which leads from the parking lot to the top. Its a bit steep but not a bad walk at all. From the top, you can see into North Carolina and Tennessee and get a glimpse of the Smoky Mountains covered in a layer of haze.
I suggest looking horseback riding up in the phone book when you arrive in the area. Or, on the Web prior to arriving.