Departing from the scenic shores of Lake Winfield Scott, this three-trail adventure explores the stunningly beautiful Blood Mountain Wilderness, hiking through a scenic forest. It’s a moderately strenuous adventure, but well worth the effort, following the Jarrard Trail to Jarrard Gap, the Appalachian Trail to the lower elevations of Blood Mountain, and the Slaughter Creek Trail through a rolling, rocky creek valley.
The Jarrard Trail reaches Jarrard Gap and intersects the Appalachian Trail at 1.15 miles. Following the iconic, white rectangular blazes of the Appalachian Trail, the route turns left, hiking northeast. Views of the rolling, adjacent ridges emerge between the surrounding trees as the Appalachian Trail reaches the Gaddis Mountain summit at 1.55 miles. Wildflowers are prolific here in spring, when trillium and other native flowers cover the rolling terrain in abundant blooms, stretching to reach sunlight under the forest canopy.
The Appalachian Trail rolls elevation over the next mile, descending through shallow gaps and climbing several small knobs before reaching a junction with the Freeman Trail, a popular loop route around Blood Mountain, at 2.6 miles. Several level backpacking campsites are located left of the trail. This hike continues gaining elevation, following the Appalachian Trail to reach the Slaughter Creek Trail at 3 miles.
The trail head is at Lake Winfield Scott, which is located off of GA Hwy 180. Initially, The Jarrard Gap Trail shares the path with the Slaughter Creek Trail.