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Blood Mountain Shelter

(4,450')
28.3 miles from Springer Mountain

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Blood Mountain Shelter

  Blood Mountain is the highest point on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in Georgia. It is one of the highest places in Georgia, after Brasstown Bald, and Rabun Bald. On a clear day, you can see the observation tower at Brasstown Bald. On the top of Blood Mountain, there is a two-room shelter that was built in the 1930's. (During the summer, there are sometimes hordes of flies in the shelter.) Next to the shelter is a huge boulder you can climb up for a good view. It's a nice place to have lunch after the hike up, and not a bad spot to nap. There are great views in all directions from the top of the mountain. privy located on summit. Closest water is in Slaughter Gap one mile and 660 feet descent south on A.T.  Northbounders get your water on the hike up!

 

No water!

I don't think it has become official as yet, but this shelter will soon be closed completely as it is within the Blood Mountain Wilderness area and therefore subject to the most stringent rules the USFS and GADNR can come up with regarding maintenance and improvements to the shelter. Except for its historic value (originally built by the CCC during the great depression) I think it would have been removed long ago. Essentially there can be nothing done to the shelter without the Feds and State of Georgia being dead in the middle of it, and it is a difficult site to reach for maintenance crews.

It is a very difficult area to provide space for tents (on the summit that is) and there is a total open fire ban (even when there isn't a drought) from Slaughter Gap to Neel's Gap (possibly even further south than Slaughter now) there is a serious problem with human waste already since this is one of the most popular day hiking destinations in the state and it is not possible to get water from Neel's Gap to Slaughter Gap- ever, drought or not.

Although this is one of the coolest spots on the entire AT in Georgia, it is not, in light of todays park rules, a suitable location for a shelter. This has been the general consensus for many years and it doesn't look too promising for this shelter's active future.

All that said, I still love the place and try and overnight in the vicinity of the summit whenever I'm in that area. I've had some of my more memorable hiking moments on Blood Mountain over the years including sunrises and sunsets, down right scary thunderstorms and winds and the coldest I've ever been in the woods during a raging blizzard about 20 years ago. Not to mention that Blood Mountain was the first place I ever spent the night on the AT (1962, BSA Troop 39).

This area is as fragile as the Maine tundra above tree line and in a state of tremendous over use, so if you do choose to stay here, please respect it for what it is and treat it gently.

One last comment. Unfortunately, or maybe not, there has been a recent relocation on the north slope of Blood Mountain between the Freeman Trail junction and the summit (on the Neel's Gap side of the mountain). They put in a series of switchbacks and steps to get traffic off some of the worst abused areas. While it has helped with the destruction somewhat, it has taken one of the more difficult sections out of service thereby making the overall ascent from the north a lot easier, which in turn allows a lot more people easy access to the summit and on and on ad infinitum.........

Hacksaw,
09-13-2002

Appalachian Trail Conference