SLAUGHTER GAP

LOCATION: North Georgia
HIKE STARTS: Reece Memorial Lot
HIKE ENDS: Reece Memorial Lot
TOTAL DISTANCE: 5.9 Miles
HIKE TYPE: Roundtrip, Loop Hike
HIKE DIFFICULTY: Moderate to Difficult
TRAILS USED: Reece Access, Freeman, Appalachian Trails
TRAIL TRAFFIC: Heavy
TRIP TYPE: Day or Overnight Hike

MORE INFORMATION:
Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests
1755 Cleveland Highway
Gainesville, GA 30501
770 297-3000

HIGHLIGHTS: The Chattahoochee National Forest is one of two National Forests in the State of Georgia, and it takes its name from the Chattahoochee River whose headwaters begin in the North Georgia mountains. The River and the area were given the name by the English settlers who heard it from the Indians that once lived here. The wilderness was created when the Forest Service purchased 31,000 acres in Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin and Union Counties from the Gennett family in 1911 for $7.00 per acre. In the beginning, the Chattahoochee was part of the Nantahala and Cherokee National Forests in North Carolina and Tennessee, but eventually the Forest Service made additional land purchases and expanded the Chattahoochee to its current size of nearly 750,000 acres.

The Blood Mountain Wilderness area received its designation in 1991, and it is a sub-section of the Chattahoochee National Forest. The wilderness area is bordered to the northwest by Georgia Highway 60 and the Blue Ridge mountain range, and to the northeast by Georgia Highway 19/129 and Neels Gap. Major trails in this area include the Appalachian Trail, Freeman Trail, the Dockery Lake/Miller Gap Trail, the Coosa Backcountry Trail, the Duncan Ridge Trail, The Bare Hair Trail, and the Slaughter Creek Trail.

The Reece Memorial Trail crosses the Appalachian Trail and joins with the Freeman Trail which it follows along the southern slope of Blood Mountain to Bird Gap. We set up camp in this area, then hiked the next day through Slaughter Gap and over Blood Mountain. It’s a steep climb to the summit at 4,461 feet but the views from a rock outcropping near the shelter are spectacular. Blood Mountain is the highest point on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, and it is the second highest peak in the State (after Brasstown Bald.)

For an overnight backpacking trip, there are a few options. First, there is tent camping near Slaughter Gap, second there are two shelters available which can accommodate 8-12 people. Woods Hole Shelter is located 0.4 miles off the trail and only 0.1 miles from Bird Gap. Blood Mountain Shelter is an enclosed stone structure which is located at the summit Blood Mountain. Woods Hole has water from a nearby spring, but Blood Mountain does not have a water source, so you will have to carry it up from Slaughter Gap or from the trailhead. There is a stream at Slaughter Gap which makes it a heavily used camping area that has room for only a few tents.

We started our hike to Slaughter Gap from the Reece Memorial Parking Area off GA 19/129 near Neels Gap. The Reece Memorial Trail crosses the Appalachian Trail and joins with the Freeman Trail which it follows along the southern slope of Blood Mountain to Bird Gap. We set up camp in this area, then hiked the next day through Slaughter Gap and over Blood Mountain. It’s a steep climb to the summit at 4,461 feet but the views from a rock outcropping near the shelter are spectacular. Blood Mountain is the highest point on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, and it is the second highest peak in the State (after Brasstown Bald.) We finished our hike by descending Blood Mountain and following the Reece Memorial Trail back to the parking area along GA 19/129.

Guidebook For This Area

Trail Map For This Area

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