he Towns/Union County area of the North Georgia Mountains is a hiker’s paradise. There are many hiking opportunities, with difficulty levels ranging from easy to very strenuous – something for everyone! The Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in Maine, runs through a portion of Towns and Union Counties.

Among the favorites:

Arkaquah Trail:
This 6-mile trail runs from the parking lot at Brasstown Bald (the highest point in Georgia) to the Trackrock Archaeological Area on Trackrock Gap Road, for approximately 6 miles. For a moderate day hike, drop a car at Trackrock, drive to Brasstown Bald, and take the trail downhill back to Trackrock. If you want a real workout, reverse the direction and do the hike from Trackrock all uphill to the Brasstown Bald parking lot. This is a beautiful Spring hike, with wildflowers in abundance.

Miller Trek Trail:
This trail is a loop trail that begins at the trailhead located on the Service Entrance to Brasstown Valley Resort in Young Harris. Named for the Honorable Senator Zell Miller, it is a moderate 6-mile trail, three miles gradual uphill and three miles downhill. Or, to turn it into an easy hike, that the well marked shortcut halfway through, resulting in an easy three-mile hike.

Blood Mountain:
Pick up the Appalachian Trail South at Neel Gap, on Hwy. 129, about 12 miles south of Blairsville. This is a strenuous 2.5 mile uphill climb to Blood Mountain, the highest point on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. This is also the most popular section of the AT in Georgia.

Bear Hair Trail:
This easy to moderate 4 mile loop trail is a good hike for the family. Beginning at Vogel State Park in Union County, it is comprised of gradual uphill climbs, with a wonderful view of Lake Trahylta at the top.

Jack’s Gap/Appalachian Trail:
One can pick up the Jack’s Gap Trail across from the turnoff to Brasstown Bald Mountain on Hwy. 180. Take the trail east uphill approximately 2 miles to the intersection with the Appalachian Trail; then go north on the AT to Unicoi Gap, about 8 miles. There is a side trail of 200 yards that will take you to the springs that form the headwaters of the Chattahoochee River.

There are many more trails in the area. For more details, visit the Towns County Chamber of Commerce Office, which has trail information from the U. S. Forest Service.

Shuttle Service
Did you know that if you are hiking the Appalachian Trail, and stop off in Hiawassee for a “civilized sleep” in one of the local motels, that you can hire a shuttle service to take you back to the AT? Or, if you are flying into the Atlanta Airport and need someone to take you to Springer Mountain, these folks may be your best bet. Some of these shuttles will also take you back to the Atlanta Airport (if you have a change-of-mind about hiking the AT!). The following information is provided through the Appalachian Trail Conference in Harpers Ferry, WV. Or, for additional names, contact the Towns County Chamber of Commerce at (706) 896-4966.

Gene Hamilton
Hiawassee, GA
(706) 896-2077
Bob & Mary Swift
Helen, GA
(706) 878-3144
Fred and Joyce Woodward
Blairsville, GA
(706) 745-5188
GA Adventures
Atlanta, GA
(404) 630-7382
Mark Pentecost
Atlanta, GA
(404) 847-0476
Marty Rogers
Atlanta, GA
(404) 256-2907

Pat Roberts
Dahlonega, GA
(706) 864-3229

Tom Morris
Dahlonega, GA
(706) 864-7921

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