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 park?s 22-acre lake is open to non-motorized boats. During summer, visitors can cool off at the scenic lakeside beach.
Access the Byron Herbert Reece Nature Trail from the Back Country Trailhead located near the campground. Follow the green access trail blazes 0.1 mile to the trail intersection marked with white blazing. The ?BHR? trail loops from this location through a diverse forest that has more types of trees than grow in Yellowstone National Park. Wildflowers abound during the warmer months.
Beginning at the Backcountry Trailhead, follow the green-blazed access trail to where the yellow-blazed Coosa Backcountry Trail begins its loop up and over the summit of Duncan Ridge and connection can be made with several trails in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Hikers will climb and descend over 1 mile in elevation crossing 3 ridgelines. Please read the precautions for the Bear Gap Trail.
Beginning at the Backcountry Trailhead, follow the green-blazed access trail to where the orange-blazed Bear Hair Gap Trail begins its nearly 4 mile loop up and over the lower ridges of Blood Mountain. Wildflowers abound in season and long-distance vistas can be seen after the leaves have fallen. The trail leaves the park and travels onto the Chattahoochee National Forest which is open to hunting. It is advisable to wear bright colored clothing or safety orange vests during hunting season.
The trail around Lake Trahlyta can be accessed from picnic shelter #2 or cabin #35. The trail crosses an earthen dam constructed by the CCC in 1935. A spur trail off the dam leads to an observation deck below the dam?s spillway. One of the more photographed views in North Georgia is of Blood and Slaughter Mountains taken from the bridge over the dam spillway. This is an easy walk.
BACKCOUNTRY TRAILS & CAMPING
Backcountry camping is allowed on the Coosa Trail by permit. Sites are available on a first come-first served basis. To help preserve our natural and cultural resources and their beauty and uniqueness for others to enjoy, we encourage low-impact practices: ?Pack it In, Pack it Out; Take only Pictures and Memories, Leave only Footprints.? Rangers can and will cite violators disregarding rules and regulations or damaging our resources.
Backcountry trails cross over several streams and nearby to other water sources, purity of these water sources cannot be guaranteed and it is advisable to treat any water collected from these before using.
The ?backcountry? area is wild and remote. To be safe, always be aware of your surroundings. For example, do not camp beneath standing dead trees or trees with dead branches. Be aware of rapidly changing weather conditions, not just cold or wet; but also of the dangers of heat and lightning. Be wary of poisonous plants, stinging and biting insects, snakes, and other animals. Be ?bear-safe,? carry a food storage bag and rope to hang packs and food supplies. Even a dog that has become separated from its owner can ruin a trip by eating unprotected food supplies.
When possible, travel with a friend, or better yet, friends. At the least, leave an itinerary with someone you can trust and who will send help, should you become incapacitated or overdue. Cellular telephones should not be depended upon in mountainous terrain. Always allow adequate time to make your journey, and never wander off of marked trails. Criminal trespass charges and search and rescue costs can be charged to persons guilty of negligence or failing to get user permits (OCGA 12-3-10).