Page 38 - 2019 Union County Community Guide
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 36 | Attractions & Recreation
They say that a journey of a thou- sand miles starts with the first step. And for many, the 2,192
miles of the Appalachian Trail starts by lacing up their boots in Georgia. The famed footpath runs through Blairs-
ville-Union County, and we are proud to be an “AT Community.”
This designation comes from our efforts to promote and protect the
Appalachian Trail — and to provide support to those who hike it. Thru-hikers can catch a shuttle to town and enjoy special discounts on lodging, dining and supplies from the AT Community Supporters in the area.
Completed in August of 1937, the Appalachian Trail winds through 14 states — from the southern terminus at nearby Springer Mountain, Georgia, to the northern terminus at Katahdin, Maine. It is estimated that 3 million people visit the Trail each year, and more than 3,000 people attempt a full thru-hike. In Union County, the Appalachian Trail tra- verses three high mountain gaps — Hog Pen Gap, Jack’s Knob and Jarrard Gap — which provide direct access to the AT and are reached by paved roadways. In addition, there are a variety of other access trails that intersect the AT throughout the county.
A unique feature of the AT in Union County is a small sec- tion that runs through the Walasi-Yi Interpretive Center — the only section of the trail that runs through a man-made structure. Whether heading north or south on the AT, hik- ers use the local outfitters, Mountain Crossings, as a place to resupply, rest up at the hostel and pick up mail. Many also take advantage of Mountain Crossings’ Trail- famous “shakedown” to help lighten their loads. You can also reach Walasi-Yi and Mountain Crossings by car off GA 19/129 at Neel Gap.
  Trahlyta Falls at Vogel State Park
 GA Highway 325 on the shores of Lake Nottely. There are large and small RV and tent sites, with power and water at most. In addition to camping, you’ll find a boat ramp, picnic tables, swimming area, pavilion, playground, fishing area, hiking trails, restrooms and bathhouse with showers.
Track Rock Gap Road, Blairsville (706) 745-6928 |
One of the most significant rock art sites in the Southeast and the only such site on public land in Georgia, Track Rock is home to more than 100 different rock carvings, or petroglyphs, thought to be made by early Native Americans.
405 Vogel State Park Road, Blairsville
(706) 745-2628 |
At the base of Blood Mountain lies one of Georgia’s oldest and most popular state parks. Built mostly by the Civilian Conserva- tion Corps in the 1930s, this 233-acre natural retreat features more than 100 campsites, 35 cottages, picnic shelters, a 22-acre lake with a swimming beach, easily accessible Trahlyta Falls, mini golf course, hiking trails, museum, general store and more.
Take a Hike Almost Anywhere
If you’re looking for an easy paved trail or some shorter hikes, Meeks Park offers more than 4.5 miles of trails. But our area is also home to a number of mountain hiking trails that can be as challenging as they are beautiful.
The most famous trail in the area, of course, is the Appala­ chian Trail (AT), which is accessible from several locations within Union County. See the article at left — then just follow the white rectangle “blazes” found on trees, rocks and posts.
Looking for an interesting day trip? The Jacks Knob Trail stretches 4.5 miles from Brasstown Bald to the top of Wolfpen Ridge. The trailhead is located at the Brasstown Bald parking lot, as is the popular 5.5-mile Arkaquah Trail that leads to Track Rock Gap.
The Coosa Backcountry Trail loops 12.5 miles in the rugged mountains near Vogel State Park. The trail is moderately diffi- cult and requires a permit that you can get at the Vogel State

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