13 miles SKILL: Intermediate
Views, Biological diversity CONS: None
Calf Stomp Gap NOTES: Due to the incredibly rugged
terrain, this is not a day hike.
non natives would not think of Georgia as a high country hiking
destination. The mountains of Georgia have many surprises for the
first time visitor and one of them is the Coosa backcountry Trail
. The trailhead for the 12.7 mile walk is in Vogel
State Park which is smack, dab in the middle of the Chattahoochee
National Forest. Vogel and Indian Springs were the first state
parks in Georgia. The 280 acre park is at an elevation of 2,280
feet and can get very crowded in the summer. The free permit that
is required to hike the Coosa can obtained at the park store located
beside Lake Trahlyta. The lake was built by the CCC in the
30's and is named after the Indian PrincessTrahlyta.
Trailhead is beside a restroom and drink machine. Little did I know
how good that drink machine will look in a couple of days. The trail
begins a gentle climb through a pine-hardwood forest and is with
yellow blazes. For 2 miles the trail follows a creek. Before long
the trail crosses a paved road. Here as well as on other parts of
the trail is a sign that warns the unwary hiker. It explains that
the Coosa is not a day hike and to turn back if not well equipped.
the road and continue on an old road bed. A winter view to the left
of the trail reveals the mountains you are about to climb. After
a downhill stretch you begin to climb.
Coosa Trail is relatively dry so the water sources are not always
obvious. The half way point on the trail is Calf Stomp Gap and is
the location of the stream. As you approach the dirt road that the
trail crosses the sound of a stream is down the slope to your right.
Several fire rings and cleared areas for camping are here.
The trail crosses the road and begins a climb.
Calf Stomp Gap
Filtering water from the creek below Calf Stomp
terrain here is very rugged and the footing can be shaky. As you
approach the Blood Mountain Wilderness you pass a blue blazed side
trail that goes to Coosa Bald. Descend the mountain cross a road,
water is to your right. Enter the Blood Mountain Wilderness. Through
legislation in 1991, 7,800 acres was designated the Blood Mountain
Wilderness. . Here is a pretty BIG climb as the trail approaches
Slaughter Mountain. As you climb the step mountain you can see winter
views of Blood Mountain in the distance.
trails are the rule
Blood Mountain in the background
trail descends into Slaughter Gap a wide open area with fire rings
and a multiple trail junction. Here the AT the Coosa and The Duncan
Ridge National Recreation Trail meet. This gap is well signed and
the trails are blazed. Yellow for Coosa and white for the AT. On
our trip there the weather went from 60 degrees to snow in about
an hour. It began snowing at Slaughter Gap just as a group that
had been hiking the AT arrived. They had been hiking since Unicoi
Gap and some still had their shorts on. We decided to get water
from the spring just below the gap.
legend has it, Slaughter Gap is the location of a fierce and bloody
battle between the Creek and the Cherokee Indians. The battle
was so deadly that the streams at the base of the mountain ran red
with blood. Another legend is that somewhere on Blood Mountain is
a cave with hidden gold and treasures. Before the Cherokees were
rounded up for the Trail of Tears, legend has it , they buried their
treasure on Blood Mountain. Somewhere.
to snow at Slaughter Gap
water at the Slaughter Gap spring
started our short climb to Blood Mountain on the AT.At 4,458 feet
Blood Mountain is the highest point on the Georgia section of the
AT. The Civilian Conservation Corp built the Blood Mountain Shelter
in the 30's. It has two rooms, a fireplace and a wooden floor in
the sleeping room. There used to be furniture in the front room.
There isn't any water at the top of the mountain but we were offered
water by the many many hikers that passed through.
trees that are on the summit look like they are from a horror movie
set, scraggly, stunted and lichen covered. Just above the shelter
is a large flat rock from which there is a spectacular view. The
summit of Blood Mountain is very interesting and very well traveled.
Hours could be spent here exploring and enjoying the views. Hwy
19 is just a few miles east, at the base of the mountain.
Another car can be parked on 19 for a straight through hike we,
however, backtracked down to Slaughter Gap.
Blood Mountain Shelter in a snow storm
fog rolls in
Creek near the end of the hike
The Coosa descends down from Slaughter Gap very steeply on
a rugged trail. After a few miles, the drink machine that we saw
at the start of the hike was calling our names. Nothing like a cold
Pepsi after a good hike. The drink machine must have been put there
by a fellow hiker.
State Park is 10 miles south of
Blairsville, Ga. off of Hwy. 19-129.
76 from I-85 or I-75 will take you to Blairsville.
7485 Vogel State Park Road
Blairsville, GA 30512
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