Blood Mountain by Coosa Backcountry Trail Vogel State Park, Georgia, USA, 7/05
This hike was done on July 9, 2005. The starting point is about an hour North of Dahlonega on highway 19 in Vogel State Park. We officially began from the parking toll box in front of the visitor's center. From there it is a short walk up the paved road to the trailhead on the right.
You can hike almost directly up Blood Mountain from here by taking the Coosa trail clockwise to the left. This would be about a 4 mile hike with a total of 2000ft straight ascent. About 1500ft of that would come in miles 3 and 4. You actually branch onto the Duncan Ridge/Slaughter Creek Trail and then the Applachian Trail to get to the top of Blood Mountain.
We hiked the Coosa trail counterclockwise. If you then branch off to go up Blood Mountain and return to complete the Coosa Loop, you go about 16 miles. This took us 7 hours and 50 minutes with a short lunch break. We were slowed by heavy undergrowth through some of the trail.
The trail starts around 2,250ft elevation and goes up to 2750 over about 1.5 miles as you go around Sherrif Knob. Then it drops all the way to about 2000ft by mile 3.5 where you cross Wolf Creek and a road. Then it ascends over 2000ft fairly evenly over the next 3.5 miles to Coosa Bald at 4100ft. There it joins Duncan Ridge Trail, and you have to backtrack on Duncan Ridge to actually hit the top of Coosa Bald. Now you descend with a bit of up and down to Wolfpen Gap at 3320 feet and cross highway 180. this is about 8.5 miles and 2/3 of the actual Coosa Loop.
There is a good climb here up to 4145ft for an ascent of 825ft. You then round Slaughter Mountain and descend into Slaughter Gap down to 3850ft. You can see Blood Mountain through the trees. There you branch off onto the Duncan Ridge/Slaughter Creek Trail and ascend Blood Mountain. The ascent requires you to turn onto the Appalachian Trail. You climb over 600ft over 1.5 miles. You are about 12 miles into the 16 mile trek. Total elevation gain is over 4,000ft.
The top of Blood Mountain is great. There are views from some side trials and a few rocks to scale to get really nice views. Brasstown Bald is visible in the distance. The descent is a big drop over a few miles back to the Vogel Park lot. This is some of the prettiest hiking on the loop and I highly recommend it.
Overall, there was a lot of undergrowth on the earlier parts of the trail. There were quite a few bugs also in these areas. I think the ascent up blood Mountain with the descent back to Vogel State Park were the best portions.
This is a great report. You don't really appreciate Blood by hiking from Neels Gap or up the Byron Herbert Reece trail. If you've got the time and are willing to trudge up the steep climbs then Vogel to Blood, via the Coosa, Duncan Ridge, and Appalachian trails is the better way to go. It's much more rewarding.