Your Guide to Mountain Hiking in Georgia
Mountain hiking always makes for a refreshing weekend getaway. If you’re eyeing locations for your next trip, there are some notable mountains in Georgia that you might want to add to your list.
Aside from its delicious peaches, Georgia boasts a rather interesting topography.
The Peach State, as it’s called, is adorned with an array of distinct physiographic regions—valleys, plains, plateaus, mountains, and hills!
Needless to say, Georgia is filled with scenic landscapes you definitely won’t want to miss.
Know your mountains
Since we’re all about mountain hiking, let’s check out some of the most popular go-to mountain hiking trails in Georgia:
- Brasstown Bald, Towns/Union county
- Rabun Bald, Rabun county
- Blood Mountain, Lumpkin/Union county
First on the list is Brasstown Bald, located near Blairsville. What’s special about this mountain is its towering summit.
Brasstown Bald is considered the highest summit in the whole state, standing tall at a little over 4,700 ft. in height.
Four different day-hike trails lead to the Brasstown Bald summit. These trails can range from 1/2 to 6 miles long. Among the trails are:
Brasstown Bald Trail
Covering only half a mile in length, this trail is the shortest of all in Brasstown Bald.
If you’re new to hiking, this is the best option to consider.
However, keep in mind that while it’s a short hike, it is also steeper than the other trails leading to the summit.
Arkaquah Foot Trail
The most challenging trail to the highest summit is Arkaquah. It’s 5.5 miles long without paved trails and you can easily lose your way. Not for beginners.
Jack’s Knob Foot Trail
Similar to Arkaquah, the Jack’s Knob trail sports pave-less paths to the summit. However, unlike Arkaquah, Jack’s Knob is only 4.5 miles long.
Wagon Train foot trail
This trail spans 5.8 miles. It’s not as steep as Arkaquah and Jack’s Knob, but can definitely pose a challenge to the inexperienced.
Once you reach the summit, you’ll find souvenir shops, a museum, and a movie house that showcases the history of Brasstown Bald.
You’ll also get a 360-degree view of the scenery at the top and a peek at three state borders, namely: North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
Second on the list is Rabun Bald, which is the second-highest point in Georgia. Unlike Brasstown Bald, which is now saturated with tourists and bucket-list checkers, Rabun Bald offers a quiet respite from the city life while providing a stunning 360-degree view that rivals that of Brasstown Bald’s.
If you’re looking to spend your weekend in tranquility, Rabun Bald is the perfect getaway location for a mountain hike.
You can choose from among three different trails to reach the Rabun Bald summit. These trails are:
The most popular trail going to the top; Bartram Trail is an eight-mile hike that stretches along steeply.
Despite that, it’s considered a moderate hike; the trail is broad and mostly shaded. You can also take your dog with you; just make sure to keep pets on a leash.
A lesser-known route to the summit of Rabun Bald is the Beegum Trail. It spans 3.3 miles, with shaded oak trees and wide pavement. The best thing about this trail? A breathtaking view of the mountains.
Blood Mountain is part of the Appalachians, a belt of mountains that spans 14 states in the US. Blood Mountain is the sixth tallest mountain in Georgia and its highest peak is within the Appalachian Mountains. Its height?
A little over 4,400 ft., only a few hundred feet shorter than its taller counterparts.
It was never really confirmed where the mountain got its bizarre name. Some say that it was the result of a bloody battle between the Cherokees and the Creek Indians.
Others claim the mountain got its name from red bacteria and catawba sprouting near the summit.
There are a handful of trails you can take to reach the summit or the lows of Blood Mountain. Here are a couple of them:
Byron Reece Trail
One of the best views in Georgia can be seen from the Byron Reece Trail.
This trail spans a total of 4.4 miles for a round trip and is surrounded by lush trees and flora.
If you’re all about the journey, the Byron Reece Trail is a good bet.
Coosa Backcountry Trail
A less popular (and less crowded) option is the Coosa Backcountry Trail. It offers an 8.5-mile round-trip hike to the top of Blood Mountain and contains more than one path—so make sure your navigation skills are top-notch.
The best seasons to climb Blood Mountain are peak spring and fall, when the leaves are changing color and when it’s not so humid.
But beware; black bears tend to roam the forest, so make sure to bring a bear-resistant canister with you at all times.
The great thing about hiking is fulfillment—you get to witness raw nature while getting a low-impact workout on the way; it’s both productive AND extremely relaxing.
But, as with any outdoor trip, you must keep some tips in mind.
Always come prepared
Hiking isn’t like the gym, where you can just dress up, grab your bottle of water, and go.
You’re going out into the wild, which involves heavy planning, especially if you are a beginner.
Research the trail
Consider this in the “preparedness” category because researching a trail is definitely mandatory.
If you have sparse knowledge about where you’re going, you might end up getting lost.
On some hiking trails, the paths are not friendly and may become confusing at times.
Pacing, pacing, pacing
Do not push yourself too hard. It’s okay to go easy on yourself, especially if you’re just starting out with hiking.
Remember that you’re dealing with elevated pavement, which means you need more energy to climb up the top.
Therefore, always keep in mind that you want to save your energy, and never rush yourself!