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Trail Guide Georgia: Byron Herbert Reece Trailhead to Blood Mountain Shelter via the AT

Updated: Aug 13, 2023

There's no shortage of interesting and challenging hiking opportunities in the north Georgia mountains. If you're looking for a moderate hike with great views, then this path from the Byron Herbert Reece Trail to the Blood Mountain shelter is for you.

We began our hike in the parking lot, which holds up to thirty-eight vehicles. On the sunny Friday of our hike, the lot was just over half-full at this popular trail.

From the trailhead, we followed the blue blazes about three-quarters of a mile until the Byron Reece Trail reached the Appalachian Trail. Then we took a right, following the white blazes toward the top of Blood Mountain.

The trail began under a lush green canopy. It felt magical being surrounded by ferns and moss-covered rocks, along with the little purple and white flowers alongside the trail. We could hear a creek trickling nearby. And though we saw water rushing in that same creek on a previous hike, the area was drier this time around.

Other day hikers, and their dogs, seemed to handle this hike with ease, but it was more difficult for our Florida family. There are a lot of smaller rocks on the trail and we had to tread carefully to avoid twisting an ankle. At one point, we had to boulder over some large rocks, which was a lot of fun.

Even if this hadn’t ended with magnificent views, I think it was worth it just for the challenge of the climb. Once we reached the top, the mountains greeted us with the most amazing sweeping vistas I’ve ever seen on a hike.

Several overlooks offer expansive views of the Appalachian Mountains.

The blue-gray tones in the distance looked like an ocean of mountains.

When we arrived at the top of Blood Mountain, we found an old stone building that serves as a shelter for Appalachian Trail hikers, and a privy further down along the path.

I was grateful we dressed in layers, as the temperatures ranged depending on the elevation. We also brought our trekking poles, which helped a lot in some areas, and were useless in others. Some parts of the trail were just too rocky to use them.

View from the window inside Blood Mountain Shelter

Though we weren’t able to see expansive fall colors yet at the end of September, I think this hike would be worth it any time of year.

Seasoned hikers and newbies alike will enjoy this trail for its technical challenges and rewarding panoramic scene.

For more information about the trail, check out the Forest Service webpage.


Starting/Ending Coordinates: 34.741433, -83.922850 // N34 44.486 W83 55.371

Time: 3 hrs 53 min (with many stops to enjoy the view)

Distance: 4.6 mi

Starting Elevation: 3,186 ft

Max Elevation: 4,623 ft

Have you hiked in this area before? Do you plan too? Where’s your favorite place to see epic views? Drop a comment below and let us know!


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