One of Georgia's oldest and most popular state parks, Vogel is located at the base of Blood Mountain in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Driving from the south, visitors pass through Neel Gap, a beautiful mountain pass near Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia. Vogel is particularly popular during the fall when the Blue Ridge Mountains transform into a rolling blanket of red, yellow and gold leaves. Hikers can choose from a variety of trails, including the popular four-mile Bear Hair Gap loop, an easy one-mile lake loop, and the challenging 13-mile Coosa Backcountry Trail. Cottages, campsites and primitive backpacking sites provide a range of overnight accommodations. The parks 22-acre lake is open to non-motorized boats. During summer, visitors can cool off at the scenic lakeside beach.
What a great day for a hike, 2/25/17. Temperatures in the low 50's rather breezy, Very packed trail this morning and Mountain Crossing was having a little concert with a talented blue grass/folk band. Overall an amazing day to be in the Mountains.
This trail has some rather difficult aspects to it, it really is a formation of ups and downs for the entire duration before reaching an intersecting trail heading up to the Blood Mt Shelter. A definite all day hike starting in the Vogel State Park winding to slaughter and eventually Blood Mt peak.
The trail was incredibly difficult. It took two days in total with around 12 hours hiking in total taking the counter-clockwise route. My daughter and I can typically grind out 12 miles or so in a single day, but not on this trail. It reminded me of the AT. There were lots of ups, and then a few more ups after that. We had to stop several times on the last stretch of trail up to Coosa to rest our legs. The second day was pretty intense, too, especially the hike up to Slaughter Mountain. The last few miles of the loop after Slaughter Gap were much, much easier.
We parked at Vogel State Park, picked up a backcountry pass from the visitor center and set off from the state park around 10 a.m. Saturday morning. We made it to Coosa Bald from the Coosa Backcountry Trail around 4. There were a few places where forest roads crossed the trail, and there seemed to be a few people taking advantage of closer parking. I imagine that you still need to get a backcountry pass, even if you don't park at Vogel itself.
The trail is located in the Blood Mountain Wilderness of the Chattahoochee National Forest, but I'm not sure who is ultimately responsible for maintenance. It was well maintained. Only one or two times during the 13 miles did we see a fallen tree or trees blocking the trail.
I recommend it, for sure, but I'd suggest making it an overnight trek and stopping close to where we did 7 or so miles in. There were campsites every mile or so. It's officially 12.9 miles, but with the approach trail and the half mile or so up to Coosa Bald along Duncan Ridge added up to around 15-16 or so.