Blood Mountain via Byron Herbert Reece Trailhead Blood Mountain Wilderness, GA
DIFFICULTY 12.1 Medium
DURATION 2-4 hours
There And
Back Again
Blood Mountain via Byron Herbert Reece Trailhead

Journey along the Appalachian Trail to the summit of Blood Mountain, one of Georgia's most popular hiking destinations, along this short but steep trail. Climbing over 700 feet/mile, this route to Blood Mountain is the shortest but made more difficult with the rocky terrain. Your effort will be well placed with several views at the top.

The trailhead is located half a mile north of the Mountain Crossings center at Neal’s Gap along US 19. With only 38 designated parking spots, you'll want to get here early on weekends. The first .7 miles are along the Byron Herbert Reece trail. The path starts off level along a small creek, but quickly picks up the pace along several steep switchbacks and stone staircases. Arrive at Freeman Gap and the junction of the AT and the Freeman trail. Turn right along the AT, following the white blaze and continuing upward.

Most of this trail is quite rocky with a few larger boulders you'll have to navigate around and over. This makes the incline all the more challenging. About halfway the trail looks like it splits but head up the rock steps with the white blazes. It looks like this was a minor re-route as you can see where it looks like it re-joins the trail later.

At mile 1.8 you'll come to a steep bare rock face that gives you your first real view. Be extremely careful here if wet. From this point on you'll pass a series of views connected by dense, tight rhododendron tunnels. With many bare rock areas and side trails, it can seem like a small maze of paths. Most just provide slightly better views or immediately reconnect. Just look out for the white blazes.

Continue to the Blood Mountain Shelter to finish this hike. Make sure to climb up on the rock ledge to get a view at the summit. Blood Mountain is the highest point along the Appalachian Trail in Georgia and the sixth highest mountain in Georgia. Remember on your way down to take it easy. Steep rocky descents can be just as challenging as ascending. If you want a longer hike, try the Blood Mountain Loop.

Check out more Blood Mountain hikes.

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Elevation Map Length (miles) by Elevation (feet)
Slope Breakdown
Elevation Gain
Elevation Range
Grade Range
Elevation Gain
0 - 250 ft/mi
~ 0 - 5 %
0.4 mi
37 ft
250 - 500 ft/mi
~ 5 - 10 %
0.4 mi
153 ft
500 - 750 ft/mi
~ 10 - 15 %
0.5 mi
330 ft
750 - 1000 ft/mi
~ 15 - 20 %
0.4 mi
334 ft
1000+ ft/mi
~ 20+ %
0.4 mi
619 ft
For out-and-back hikes, elevation loss is the same as the gain.
Terrain Map Click to control map
length4.1 miles
difficulty12.1 Medium
duration2 - 4 hours
features Dog Friendly  Summit  Views 
trail typeThere And Back Again
blazeWhite (AT)
elevation gain1460 ft.
state Georgia 
park/forestBlood Mountain Wilderness
Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest
ranger districtBlue Ridge Ranger District
2042 Highway 515 West
Blairsville, GA 30512
parking feeNone
trailhead coordinates 34.741687, -83.922683 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 34°44.5, W 83°55.36 (Degree Minutes, MinDec)
N 34°44'30'', N 34°44'30'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Trailhead Directions
34.741687, -83.922683 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 34°44.5, W 83°55.36 most GPS units use this one
N 34°44'30'', N 34°44'30'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Google Map It
Driving north, continue .6 miles past the Mountain Crossings center at Neal's Gap. On the left, you will pass the exit for the parking lot first.
Parking Capacity
38 designated parking spaces. All other vehicles will be ticketed.
Get there early on weekends. The Byron Herbert Reece Trailhead can accommodate 38 vehicles. Vehicles parked outside designated spaces will be ticketed.
Take your time on wet rocks and steep bare rock sections. At the top there are several rock outlooks with steep drop offs.
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Reviews / Comments
Average Review Rating
5 (5)
Cyclone77-1 month ago
Worth the effort
Hiked the trail with my wife yesterday, april 5th. For an average sized human, I’d say it’s a medium level trail to the top. 5 mi round trip from the trailhead parking lot. Most of the rocks and boulders are easily navigable .Only thing that made it hard for me was being 360lbs. Had to take breaks to get the heart rate down. Great view from the summit.
Medium | Hiked Spring 2024
Smokey12-3 years ago
Still great!
Hiked this a couple of weeks after my first review. It was a day after a rain and parts of the trail were treacherous but it was still great. Just be aware and take care and maybe save this hike for after a few rain free days.
Medium-Hard | Hiked Summer 2020
Link52-3 years ago
Blood Mtn gets the heart pumping
This is a hike that tests your stamina but is fun at the same time. Don't give up! All ages hike this trail successfully. There are great views along the was and outstanding views at the top. People were picnicking at the top and many just sitting around talking and enjoying the view and sunshine from the big rocks at the top near the old AT shelter. Lot's of good information on this website!
Medium-Hard | Hiked Summer 2020
Smokey12-3 years ago
A must!
A great challenging hike! You were so right, it was very crowded (we had to loop more than once to find a parking space). But even at the top we could space out to relax and rest up from the exhausting ascent! The views were so worth the trek up! (As you and all the people descending assured us.) We weren't the only group to miss a blaze. Some are low and on rocks. But we found our way. The 5 star rating is well-deserved!
Medium-Hard | Hiked Spring 2020
hikethesouth-5 years ago
A Challenge Worth Taking
This is definitely a tough hike. Very rocky. Steep. And definitely worth it. Great views, but the sense of accomplishment is the real prize. The parking lot will fill fast on weekends so get here on a weekday if possible. Even if crowded, the difficulty and other trail options will spread people out.
Medium | Hiked Summer 2018
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