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Outdoors

Woody Gap to Neels Gap on the Appalachian Trail

I lived in Georgia knowing about the Appalachian Trail for more than 12 years before I ever set foot on it. I’m not sure why, except inertia and other priorities. I also never really thought about it like a simple trail that you could hike on. For some reason, it sounded like a much bigger deal than it actually is. I think it’s all the focus on the practice of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail rather than the actual trail itself.

Either way, like many would-be hikers, I read Bill Bryson’s A Walk In The Woods in July 2010, and promptly decided to invite my brother and brother-in-law on a short day hike from Woody Gap to Neels Gap in Georgia the first week of August 2010.

The Appalachian Trail in Georgia never gets much above 4000 ft. It’s also in the verdant Southern Appalachian mountains. So it’s still hot and full of growth in August.

One thing about the Appalachian Trail is that it is well-maintained even in the most remote sections. Unlike other Forest Service trails, it has a dedicated

The trail meanders up and down and all around the mountains. There’s a lot of granite and it’s easy to get a sense of the feel of the Appalachians.

This section of trail is especially popular because it crossed the summit of Blood Mountain (seen above), which is one of Georgia’s highest summits – and definitely one with the best views.

Blood Mountain is bare granite at the top, so there is very little tree obstruction. Even on summer days, you can see a long ways. The only real barrier is the haze & smog of metro Atlanta.

The rolling green hills make for perfect selfie scenery.

Even on crowded day hiking days, there is plenty of space for hanging out and resting. Both sides of the trail leading up the summit are steep with serious elevation gain.

The section from Blood Mountain to Neels Gap is especially steep with only a few views. We were picked up by my sister, although do note that there is no parking at the Neels Gap crossing. You have to park a couple miles down and make your way up a connector trail.

This section of the AT made for a great little introduction to the trail. My brothers and I ended up deciding to section hike the trail in Georgia. We did Neels Gap to Tesnatee Gap next.

By Nate

I'm Nate Shivar - I live in Atlanta and love exploring the city, outdoors, books & Internet. Read about me, my Now page, or my work.

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