Blood Mountain - Hiking - BBQ

Blood Mountain: A Georgia Hiking Classic (And the Perfect BBQ Reward)

Blairsville, Georgia – nestled in the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest – is a gateway to adventure. Its lush mountain landscapes and winding trails draw countless hikers, particularly those drawn to the allure of the legendary Appalachian Trail (AT). One of the most iconic and challenging segments of the AT in Georgia is Blood Mountain. But don't let the foreboding name deter you – the rewards at the summit, and afterward, are worth every step.

Why is it Called Blood Mountain?

While the name might conjure up grisly images, the origins of Blood Mountain's name are surprisingly uncertain. Some tales point to a historical battle between the Creek and Cherokee Native American tribes. Others suggest the name comes from the vibrant red and orange hues of the mountainside foliage during the fall. Thankfully, the only thing fierce you're likely to encounter on the mountain these days is phenomenal scenery and your own determination.

The Climb to Conquer

The hike to the summit of Blood Mountain is not for the faint of heart. The trail, a section of the Appalachian Trail, ascends relentlessly over rocky terrain and roots, demanding both physical and mental stamina. You'll traverse through lush forests, pass cool streams, and ultimately scramble over boulders as you near the peak.

But the payoff…oh, the payoff! From the summit, sweeping panoramas unfold before you. Rolling hills stretch to the horizon, a tapestry of green punctuated by distant blue ridges. On clear days, it feels like you can see the entire world from atop Blood Mountain. Breathe deep, snap those iconic photos, and bask in your hard-earned achievement.

The Length of Your Journey is Up to You

While the view from Blood Mountain's summit is the star attraction, the trail offers options to cater to your preferred level of adventure. Here's the breakdown:

  • The Hardcore Option: For seasoned thru-hikers traversing the entire Appalachian Trail, Blood Mountain is just another challenge to overcome on their epic 2,190+ mile journey. If that's you, consider staying in the historic stone shelter located on the summit.

  • The Day Hike: A popular choice is an out-and-back day hike, starting from Neel Gap. It's a strenuous 4.3-mile journey with significant elevation gain. Prepare for a good workout and sore muscles the next day!

  • The Leisurely Loop: Those looking for something a bit tamer can opt for the Blood Mountain Loop Trail. This 5.7-mile option weaves in the Freeman Trail, offering a more gradual approach and a variety of woodland scenery.

Refueling Like a Champion

No matter how long you spend on the trail, you'll have earned a feast fit for a champion hiker. And that's where Smokeout Blairsville, an award-winning BBQ restaurant steps in.

Imagine sinking your teeth into tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs, smoky brisket, or tangy pulled pork. Pair that with our classic sides like creamy mac-and-cheese, collard greens, or crispy fries. We're the perfect place to refuel and unwind in a welcoming atmosphere. All those trail-earned calories are officially justified.

We know that after your Blood Mountain hike, you'll be craving more than just phenomenal views—you'll need a hearty dose of comfort food. Let our mouthwatering BBQ be your triumphant reward.

Planning Your Blood Mountain Adventure

Here are a few things to consider before embarking on your Blood Mountain hike:

  • Fitness Level: Be honest with yourself about your physical abilities. Blood Mountain is a tough nut to crack!

  • Trail Conditions: Check weather reports and trail updates before you go. Conditions can change rapidly in the mountains.

  • Water: Carry plenty of water, even for shorter hikes. Dehydration is sneaky.

  • Leave No Trace: Pack out what you pack in and respect this incredible wilderness area.

Blairsville is the perfect base camp for your Blood Mountain adventure. Explore the charming town, enjoy its other natural wonders, and make sure you plan a victory meal at Smokeout Blairsville. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or a weekend warrior, Blood Mountain and a side of slow-smoked BBQ is a combo that can't be beaten.