Community Spotlight: Blairsville, GA

Nestled in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, Blairsville, Georgia is a hidden gem that offers a perfect blend of scenic beauty, outdoor adventures, and small-town charm. With its picturesque landscapes, historic sites, and a welcoming community, Blairsville has become a sought-after destination for travelers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, Blairsville has something to offer for every type of traveler. One of Blairsville’s main draws is its stunning natural landscapes. The town is surrounded by the Chattahoochee National Forest, which boasts an array of hiking trails, waterfalls, and breathtaking viewpoints. The Blood Mountain Wilderness Area, part of the Appalachian Trail, offers challenging hikes that reward hikers with panoramic vistas at the summit. For a more leisurely experience, the Vogel State Park provides serene lakeside picnicking, fishing, and boating opportunities, perfect for a relaxed afternoon with family and friends. See the clear blue waters of Trahlyta Lake as you follow walking trails around it and view Trahlyta Waterfalls. Union County holds an awe-inspiring natural beauty of cascading waterfalls, hiking and biking trails, city parks and nature preserves. Many visitors enjoy the rushing cascades of Helton Creek Falls which has a vertical drop more than 100 feet. The trail accesses lower + upper falls and visitors are advised to use caution on slippery rocks. The trail to the falls are located off Hwy. 129/19 South. Other Recreational areas include, Lake Winfield Scott located off Hwy. 180. Take a walk on the trail that is just under a mile around the lake where you see wildflowers and beautiful mountain scenery. The Dockery Lake Recreation Area off Hwy. 60 is below Suches in the Woody Gap area offers a 0.6 mile handicapped accessible trail with views and alternative to more difficult hikes. If your looking for remote hiking with numerous trails the Coopers Creek Scenic Wildlife Management area is located between Hwy. 60 & 180. Meeks Park located off Hwy. 515 has many recreational opportunities and is the home to many of Blairsville’s Festivals and Events. The Butternut Creek and Nottely River run through the park making for scenic picnic spots. Families enjoy the trail of Butternut Creek Loop that runs 0.7 miles near water and inclines in the park. In addition to walking trails, there is a playground, tennis courts, batting cages, disc golf, skateboard park and plenty of tables, benches and swings for relaxing under the magnificent shady oaks. If you enjoy golf Union County offers two courses that includes Butternut Creek Golf that is perched upon a hilltop, by the Union County Community Center offering dining and visitor information. Old Union Golf Course is located off Hwy. 129 N. offers a valley layout, with a distinctive links feel that can be thoroughly enjoyed by beginners to professionals. The picturesque Nottely River is a favorite among anglers, offering an abundance of trout and bass. The [...]

Community Spotlight: Blairsville, GA2023-08-24T13:35:34-04:00

Road Trip to Ellijay

Every Fall Ellijay is the perfect pick for everyone looking to enjoy the Apple Capital of Georgia. Agritourism is just one of Gilmer County's many attractions that provide more than 600,000 bushels of delicious mountain-grown apples each year. Valleys also abound with peaches, blueberries, a variety of vegetables, flower-picking fields, and several vineyards for wine tasting. What makes Ellijay more unique is the variety of outdoor recreational opportunities that make it a great place for playing in wide open spaces. Gilmer County has over 276,000 acres of diversified landscapes and waterways to hike, bike, see waterfalls, enjoy the lake, or just relax viewing majestic mountains for scenery. OUTDOOR RECREATION for Gilmer County is a bonus with 100 + miles of single-track mountain biking trails known as Georgia’s “Mountain Biking Capital” Maintained year-round Trails like Bear Creek or Pinhoti offer 6-10 mile rides for intermediate to advanced riders. Waterways offer a broad variety of options for fishing, tubing, & and kayaking on the Coosawattee, Ellijay, and Cartecay. Enjoy catching bass, bluegill, catfish, walleye, and trout. Recreational areas like Harrison Park have walking trails and wildflowers while River Park, located near the Cartecay River and fairgrounds, offers playgrounds and other family activities. If your path is a fairway, Whitepath Golf Course is Gilmer County's public 18-hole golf course with rolling hills and beautiful mountain views. CARTERS LAKE is one of the deepest reservoir lakes in North Georgia with 62 miles of shoreline. Enjoy camping, hiking, bird watching, boating, biking, fishing, hunting and picnicking. Although fishing is popular; visitors can access the lake by canoe, kayak, powerboat, or sailing. Several campgrounds with many amenities are located around Carters Lake including Doll Mountain, Woodring Branch, and Harris Branch Beach. FORT MOUNTAIN STATE PARK Enjoy a scenic drive on Highway 52 near the Cohutta Wilderness to 2,850 ft above sea level, at Fort Mountain. Hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders will find beautiful trails and streams encircling a lake. Scenic views, a stone fire tower & ancient rock wall that stands on the highest point of the mountain. Go to for more information. APPLE ORCHARDS Every year harvest season is fluttering in the “Fall” to a variety of activities from “You Pick”, music, hayrides, petting farms, games, and baked goodies. Sample apples and produce from Red Apple Barn, B.J. Reece, Panorama, Hillcrest, Aaron Family Orchards, R & A Orchards, and Mack Aaron’s or Penland's Apple House. WINERIES, BREWERY & DISTILLERS Fertile soil, hillsides, and temperatures help to grow award-winning wines. Gilmer Co. wineries celebrate with live music & and food at several facilities including Engelheim, Cartecay Vineyards, Buckley Vineyards, Ellijay River Vineyards, Grapes & Ladders, Roo Mountain Vineyards, and Ott Vineyards & Winery. Additional hospitality continues for brewery, distillery, and hard cider at Cartecay River Brewing, Whitepath Distillery & Reece Cider Co. Nearby Vineyards are also located in Talking Rock, Jasper, & Blue Ridge. DOWNTOWN ELLIJAY: Experience a true “Main Street” community. Receive welcoming hospitality at accommodations that include quaint B&B's, cabins, hotels, or [...]

Road Trip to Ellijay2023-08-24T13:36:30-04:00

Warwoman Dell

Warwoman Dell was named to honor a Cherokee Warwoman. Some believe it could have been named for Nancy Hart, the Revolutionary War era woman who may have fought at the Battle of Kettle Creek with her husband and sons. Most likely, though, it was named to honor Nancy Ward, a highly-respected “beloved woman” of the Cherokee Nation who frequented the dell and advised the Cherokee tribal council on war and peace. She was very powerful in the Cherokee clan rule, for she was the last Warwoman in the East. When the Cherokee chiefs voted to go to war, it could only happen if the Warwoman approved. Nancy Ward was born circa 1738 and was called Nanyehi in her native Cherokee language. She was no stranger to war. At the Battle of Taliwa in Ball Ground, Georgia, she helped her husband, Kingfisher, in battle by laying behind a log and chewing his bullets so that the resulting jagged edges might create more damage. When her husband was killed, Nancy picked up his rifle and continued the fight leading her people to victory. She was only 17. At the age of 18, she was awarded with the Cherokee title of “Ghigau”, a prestigious title meaning “beloved woman” or “war woman”, making her a member of the tribal council of chiefs. She was also named the leader of the Women’s Council of Clan Representatives and took over the role of ambassador and negotiator for her people. Through the difficult, war raved years of the Revolutionary War era, Nancy Ward continued promoting alliance and mutual friendship between the Cherokees and the colonists. She led the Cherokee in the implementation of farming, dairy production, and new loom weaving techniques that forever changed traditional roles in Cherokee society. She died in 1822, or possibly 1824, before the Cherokee were removed from their remaining lands during the Trail of Tears. In the 1930’s, after decades of logging had nearly destroyed the area, the Civilian Conservation Corps arrived to reforest and restore the natural beauty of the dell. There is small Forest Service park located at the site of the CCC camp of the 1930’s. No remains of the camp buildings exist. A series of stone structures, identified as trout hatcheries by a sign in the park, are the only remnants of the CCC at Warwoman Dell. Thanks to the hard work of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the area’s natural beauty can be appreciated today. Two moderately easy, family-friendly trails lead through this beautiful pocket of wilderness showcasing tall trees, dense vegetation, mosses, wildflowers, and three waterfalls. The hike visits the popular Becky Branch Falls, historic areas of Warwoman Dell and several smaller waterfalls on a 1.4 mile loop. While it’s not a long hike, it’s an exceptionally beautiful one. This is a fairly moderate, short trail, with parking and a roadside picnic spot. Directions: Traveling north US Hwy 441 in downtown Clayton, one block after US 76 comes in from the left, go east on Warwoman Dell [...]

Warwoman Dell2023-08-24T13:27:58-04:00

Explore North Georgia State Parks

North Georgia State Parks include a variety of recreational activities besides camping and welcome travelers to explore “Our Neck of the Woods”. Enjoy your passion to see a waterfall, go horseback riding, canoeing, fishing, hiking, biking, or just have a picnic. The great State Parks of North Georgia are waiting for you to watch nature at it’s best! Moccasin Creek State Park Park (706) 947-3194 Reservations (800) 864-7275 Known as the park “where spring spends the summer,” Moccasin Creek is located on the shores of lovely 2,800-acre Lake Burton. Accessibility offers easy navigation for large RVs, children’s bicycles and wheelchairs. This also includes a fishing pier that sits above a trout-filled creek open only to physically challenged visitors, senior citizens and children. Smithgall Woods State Park Park (706) 878-3087 Reservations (800) 864-7275 Dukes Creek, one of North Georgia’s premier trout stream, runs through this spectacular mountain property and has become known for it’s catch-and-release fishing. Eighteen miles of roads and five miles of trails allow hikers and bicyclists to explore hardwoods, streams and wildlife. Dukes Creek Falls has a direct trail for cottage guests to view. Unicoi State Park Park (706) 878-2201 Reservations (800) 864-7275 Lodge (800) 573-9659 Unicoi State Park, named from the turnpike that was the early means of transportation, is over 1,050 acres of beautiful nature trails. It includes a 53 acre lake for non-motorized boats and a swimming beach. Enjoy flora, fauna and abundant wildlife as you picnic or hike a trail. Campsites and Cottages provide campers with many accommodations, including a 100 Room Lodge and Conference Center with a restaurant.

Explore North Georgia State Parks2023-08-24T13:35:56-04:00

Fort Mountain Mystery

Just outside Ellijay, traveling on State Road 52 to the Northwest, is a winding two lane road that ascends more than a thousand feet with sharp turns and pull-offs on both sides. Fort Mountain State Park’s entrance then takes you to the park office where you can get information about trails, camping, R.V. sites, and many activities, including hiking, backpacking, biking, picnicking, horse back riding, fishing, swimming, or geocoaching hidden treasures. Fort Mountain takes its name from a peak that has remnants of a stone formation around part of that peak. These mysterious piles of non-native rock, many of them large, form a long discontinuous zig-zag wall that runs more than 928 feet and varies in height from two to six feet. The original construction and function of the formation as a fort is less accepted today and its origin remains unknown. Some scholars believe that the formation could be attributed to pre-Columbian native Americans from around 500 A.D. and that it held a ceremonial or religious purpose. The ancient wall runs east to west and the alignment illuminates one side of the wall at sunrise and the other side at sunset as ancient Native American cultures often worshiped the sun. The myths of the culture who built it abound. Cherokee Indian culture speaks of a race of “moon-eyed” people who are said to have lived in Appalachia until the Cherokee expelled them. Another myth revolves around the Welsh prince Madoc, who purportedly sailed to America in 1170. The story asserts that Madoc’s colonists had intermarried with local Native Americans. These “Welsh Indians” were credited with the construction of a number of landmarks throughout the United States. For more information to Fort Mountain State Park, call 706-695-262

Fort Mountain Mystery2023-08-24T13:27:47-04:00

Vogel State Park

Nestled in the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest, Vogel State Park is one of Georgia’s favorite destinations. Established in 1931, Vogel, is the second oldest state park in Georgia and rises 2,500 feet above sea level. The entire area around Vogel was once linked to the Native Americans and the State Park sits at the base of Blood Mountain, the highest summit on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. Driving from the south, visitors pass through Neel Gap, a beautiful mountain pass near Brasstown Bald, which is the highest point in Georgia. The history of the “Vogel” name starts in the 20th century when Augustus Vogel and Fred Vogel Jr. began a lumber mill in Union County. The mill employed many of the men in the county to cut and process lumber from the 65,000 acres of land owned by the Pfister Vogel Leather Company. Unfortunately, the state of Georgia entered an economic downturn in the mid-1920’s and the lumber mill was no longer economically feasible. In 1929 the Vogels donated nearly 259 acres to the state, much of it still encompassed within the 233-acres within Vogel State Park. This park shares a timeless connection with its Civilian Conservation Corps builders that dammed Wolf Creek to form Lake Trahlyta and built housing around the lake for the CCC boys. The 22-acre Lake Trahlyta is named for the Cherokee maiden whose grave sits at the center of Stonepile Gap. The rest of the land donated by the Vogels is under the Chattahoochee National Forest and includes the stone building now known as Mountain Crossings at Walasi-yi and Nottla or Nottely Falls, east of the Byron Herbert Reese Trail parking lot. Originally, Walasi-yi was a restaurant run by the state. Directly by Vogel is the Byron Herbert Reece Farm and Heritage Center that celebrates the life of this famous poet who received numerous awards for his writing. The center has wonderful displays, restoration of the Reece writing studio, authentic farm buildings and equipment, plus self-guided tours. Vogel State Park offers a variety of hiking, swimming, fishing and enjoying family time in a diverse mountain landscape. An easy 1.0 mile hiking trail circles the lake, allowing access to fishing docks and the boathouse. A 0.1 miles side trail takes hikers down to Trahlyta Falls, also know as Spillway Falls. A spur trail off the Trahlyta Lake Loop will take you down to an observation deck at the bottom of the roaring falls! More experienced hikers may enjoy the popular 4-mile Bear Hair Gap and the challenging 13-mile Coosa Backcountry Trail. Helton Creek Falls can be found just minutes away from Vogel. There are two waterfalls to see — the lower and upper falls — and the hike is a short, family-friendly 0.6 miles. If you’re looking for another nearby waterfall hike for the whole family, look no further than DeSoto Falls! The DeSoto Falls hike also takes you to two waterfalls, and has a beautiful picnic area. Cottages, campsites and primitive backpacking sites [...]

Vogel State Park2023-08-24T13:24:09-04:00

North Georgia Hiking Trails

Many visitors come to explore the hundreds of trails through North Georgia’s National Forest.  Whether you want to see a waterfall, like to go hiking, biking, or horseback riding, here are some suggestions for a trail adventure: Ellijay - Three Forks Trail: To the left (North) on the trail is Long Creek Falls (2.3 miles round trip) . To the right is a beautiful section of old growth forest along Stover Creek. Directions: Take 52 East from Ellijay about 4.8 miles. Turn left on Big Creek Road at the Dollar General. Follow this road about 15.4 miles (the final .4 miles are dirt) to Forest Service 58 and turn Right. This road follows Noontootla Creek to Three Forks. Parking is available where the trails cross the road. Blue Ridge - Free Knob Loop Trail: 2.5 miles, easy rating Directions from Blue Ridge, Georgia: Travel east (toward Blairsville, GA) on GA Hwy 515, approx. 0.8 miles past intersection with GA Hwy 5. Turn Right at Windy Ridge Rd., go 0.2 miles to dead end with Old U.S. 76. Turn left, go 0.2 miles to Aska Road on right. Continue south on Aska Read to Shallowford Bridge. Turn left across river and immediate right on dirt-gravel road leading to Dial, GA. At 0.4 miles come to point where trail enters road from forest. Continue east on road to parking area at 1.2 miles. Suches - Jarrard Gap Trail Trail: 1.0 mile, easy/moderate rating Directions: Take US 19 and 129 south from Blairsville Georgia for 9.5 miles. Turn right (west) onto GA 180 and go 7 miles to the main entrance to Lake Winfield Scott Campground. Turn left into the campground. Follow this road over a hill and continue straight ahead into a gravel parking lot at the foot of the hill. From the parking lot, hike along the paved road passing the guard rail at the head of the lake. The trailhead is on the right of the road just past the guard rails. Blairsville - Sosebee Cover Trail Trail: Traveling through a second-growth cove hardwood forest, the 0.25 mile Sosebee Cove Trail is rated easy and receives moderate use. This area is a memorial to Arthur Woody, who served as the first Forest Service Ranger in Georgia. Directions: from Blairsville Georgia, travel 9.5 miles south along US 19/129 and turn right (west) onto GA 180. Continue along GA 180 for 2 miles to the Sosebee Cove parking lot on the right. Hiawassee - High Shoals Creek Trail: The two waterfalls on High Shoals Creek are the highlight of this 170 acre site. A 1.2 mile trail takes visitors from FS 283 down to the falls. Directions: Take 75 South from Hiawassee turn right onto Indian Grave Gap Road, graveled Forest Service Road 283 which leads visitors through the Swallow Creek Wildlife Management Area to the High Shoals Creek Falls Scenic Area. Dahlonega - Yahoola Creek Trail: This is about a 4 mile trail that circles Yahoola Creek Reservoir but also swerves [...]

North Georgia Hiking Trails2023-08-24T13:19:07-04:00
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