Appalachian Trail Community: Blairsville - Union County, GA

Welcome to Blairsville, Georgia! Thousands of people every year hike in the Blood Mountain Wilderness where a bronze plaque and familiar white blazes mark the 2,100 mile Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Whether heading north or south, the famous Mountain Crossings at Walasi-Yi is a welcome sight. The 80-year old rock building is the only place where the A.T. actually passes through a building. It is also home to Winton Porter, a well known outfitter and author in Union County. Winton greets hikers, aids them if necessary (in many ways), and will even arrange a ride into nearby Blairsville. Many other local businesses do an exceptional job supporting A.T. hikers, including Blood Mountain Cabins a few hundred yards off the trail, Wolfpen Gap Country Store in Suches, Sunrise Grocery about 4 miles north of  Neel Gap, Alexander’s Store, and Bikes & Hikes in Downtown Blairsville.

While the Appalachian Trail is a study in strength, perseverance, and remarkable beauty, the small towns of Blairsville and Suches in Union County are havens of good food, family entertainment, hot showers, and comfortable beds! We are very proud to be designated as an Appalachian Trail Community! Blairsville and Suches invite all hikers to visit our mountain towns where southern hospitality is evident in every smiling face. Whether winter, spring, summer, or fall, there are friendly people, tasty meals, and a warm welcome waiting.

Downtown Blairsville has a whole line up of annual events perfect for a day of fun off the trail. Events include the Spring Arts & Crafts Festival, the Blairsville Scottish Festival (sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce), the Butternut Creek Arts & Crafts Festival, the Green Bean Festival, the Bluegrass Festival, the Mountain Market Heritage Festival (sponsored by the Union County Historical Society), and the famous Sorghum Festival. Other events include free Friday Night Concerts at the historic old courthouse, Blairsville Cruise-Ins, the Union County Farmers Market, Halloween on the Square, and more.

Family style camping and recreation are available at Vogel State Park and Lake Winfield Scott, both connected to the A.T. by short trails near Blood Mountain. Union County offers easy paved road access to the A.T. at Woody Gap, Neel Gap, Tesnatee Gap, and Hog Pen Gap for day hikers out for a short excursion or thru-hikers seeking provisions and a break from the rigors of the trail. There is also boating on Lake Nottley, tubing on Nottley River, and other outdoor activities at Meeks Park – one of the most beautiful municipal parks in Georgia. Meeks Park, with shady trees along Butternut Creek, is also home to Al Garnto’s Appalachian Sculpture Project, the largest kinetic sculpture project in the southeast. Blairsville is fortunate to have a public school system that embraces the A.T. and the outdoor activities that it provides. The Union County Middle School is a fine example of students learning by doing, and with help from dedicated volunteers and local hiking clubs, fieldtrips to the A.T. are greatly anticipated by all participants.

Need to catch up on email? The Union County Public Library offers free internet access and comfortable nooks to read away the hours. There are shops, restaurants, inns, hiker friendly motels, and welcoming places of worship waiting for you in Blairsville, so stop in for a day or for a weekend. Friendly faces and big smiles will welcome you to town! Don’t forget to ask for a hiker discount – many of our local businesses will grant your requests.

For more information about Blairsville, GA, please see the North Georgia News, ​Union County Development Authority, or Stories and Events. Our community is often featured in national and regional publications. A.T. Journeys, the official magazine of the ATC, included a great article about our community which you can read here (pages 8-9). 

Be sure to check out all the great events going on in Blairsville!
Blairsville GA Community Designation