Freeman Trail is a 5.9 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Blairsville, GA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
1.8 mile rugged, rocky trail follows a ridgeline on Blood Mtn. at about 3300', connecting to the AT at Flatrock Gap and Bird Gap. Intersects the Reece access trail. First off, these 1.8 miles only gain (or lose, depending on direction) about 250 feet total, but it's so rocky and the boulders are so large you'll be stepping up and down more than a 45-minute stairclimber session in the gym. EXTREMELY rugged and rocky making what would be an easy-to-moderate trail into a strenuous trip. Recommend GOOD maps and a compass or a GPS as the trail is not well-marked (at one point, you have to cross approximately 500 feet of rock garden about 100 feet wide, no discernible trail, with a blaze on a tree on the far side I had to get the binoculars out to see). Not recommended to hike alone as there are many "ankle-eaters" and chances to slip and fall on unstable or slippery rocks. When combined with the B.H. Reece trail, the southbound Blood Mountain ascent and descent to Slaughter Gap then down to Bird Gap, then back to the Reece trail via the Freeman trail, this makes an approximately 7-mile loop that is quite difficult. Saw plenty of folks on the Blood Mountain ascents but nary a soul on the Freeman Trail, which is extremely remote. NOT advised to hike alone unless you're an experienced hiker/mountaineer.
Long and Windy
Good trail and good alternative (or bypass) to blood mountain. More technical, more overgrown, less people, but still good views when the leaves are down. Did I mention less people? If you come up the Byron Reece connector it can be a little misleading to catch the trailhead. It sits off the the right as you look South. I made the mistake of going down the rocky open area instead and well, South facing rocks, sun, cool temps, you know what that means. I stumbled into a group of snakes and that made for some interest.
Only 3 stars, but could be 4. 3.5 is about right. It's a nice trail that is plenty of work without the climb of blood mountain.
Puts the R in rugged on parts of this trail... Overall a challenge accepted and accomplished!
Thought this would be an easier descent from Blood Mountain and thought it would make a nice way to complete a loop trail. We thought wrong. Rocky, slippery from leaves, and not so easy to navigate. By the time we got down, it felt as though both my husband and I would need new ankles and knees. Retreating down the access trail would have been a lot better. All in all it was a challenge...and we enjoyed our day hiking...but that said, I can safely cross it off the list as completed and not visit it again! Definitely wear good boots...a walking stick might be helpful too. And I can verify that it was remote...didn't see another hiker the whole time we were on it.
A good alternative to the AT for going up Blood Mountain from the Byron Reece parking lot in summer when the AT is quite crowded. There are not many views along the Freeman Trail portion and it can be rocky but it is quiet and peaceful. Bird Gap (on the western end) offers a nice place to relax before going up Blood Mountain.
Just went out and did this again (in good boots, no less!) and it was significantly easier than last time. Didn't break anything this time around and the leaf drifts weren't near as bad.
I did this hike with a buddy to complete a loop over the Blood Mountain. Our experience was not as dramatic as the one John Fletcher described in his review but the trail was rather rocky and overgrown in places. I would avoid it with small kids or after rain but it is not too bad in good boots.
Never again. Rocky, leaves that are sometimes waist-deep, plenty of opportunities to turn an ankle or fall and fracture a kneecap (which I did). Extremely remote and devoid of other hikers. DO NOT hike alone unless you're capable of getting yourself out of a bad situation. I thought I was, and I did, but only just. (My hike time on this review is extended because I had to stop and splint a patella fracture, and was hobbling out on a homemade crutch.) Also bring GOOD maps, a compass, and your best land nav skills because it's not well-blazed or easy to follow.
Not much to see unless you like rocks.
The trail itself would be easy-to-moderate except for the rocks, which make it difficult, and the fact that I did it as the tail end of a 7-mile loop that included the AT up and back down Blood Mtn, which made the entire trip very strenuous.