North Georgia mountains offer a cool retreat

Are you heading out of Augusta for a weekend getaway?

 

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun in the north Georgia highlands.

Here are some suggestions for a leisurely hike or two. See Sunday's Travel Page in the Your Life section for more on how to have fun in the North Georgia mountains on a budget.

hiking

The area around Blood Moun­tain is Hiking Central for Georgia, with trails available for every skill level. For a leisurely stroll, walk the mile around the lake at Vogel State Park. There seems to always be a breeze, and a great view of Blood Mountain from the south end.

A side trail leads to a waterfall just behind the lake. Several other trails are within the park of various skill levels and lengths.

Vogel is off U.S. Highway 129, about 14 miles south of Blairsville.

About 1 mile south of Vogel, get into the inside lane and look for a sign for Helton Creek Falls, and turn left. The paved road gives way to a narrow, bumpy unpaved Forest Service road to the falls. The parking area is on your right, and the trail to the falls is about a tenth of a mile.

For a trail with more of a view, retrace your route and turn left on U.S. 129 for 1½ miles, then turn right into the Byron Herbert Reece trail access parking lot at Neels Gap.

The 0 .7-mile trail takes you to the Appalachian Trail and the rock outcroppings atop Blood Mountain. It’s no leisurely stroll around the lake, but it’s easily accessible for hikers in moderately good shape.

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