A loop hike, Bear Hair Gap begins and ends at Vogel State Park. Make a winding trek among Burnett Branch and its feeder streams, climb the unnamed knob with the vista, and then drop down to Wolf Creek and its tributaries before descending back to the state park. Along the way you enter the Chattahoochee National Forest and the Blood Mountain Wilderness. Though the path has some elevation changes, they are never severe or too long, making this hike ideal for anyone who wants to see classic Southern Appalachian woods without getting completely whipped or investing a full day.
Start a slight uptick, passing the Reece Nature Trail at 0.2 miles. This trail is a fine walk in its own right, traveling a mile through the forest, with interpretive signs informing hikers about various aspects of the park flora and fauna. Ahead, cross Burnett Branch on a foot bridge. Stay right here, as spur trails lead to campsites in the park campground. Keep upstream to reach another trail junction at 0.4 mile. this is the beginning of the actual Bear Hair Gap Trail. You can also see the return route of the orange-blazed Bear Hair Gap Trail, which shares treadway down here with the yellow-blazed Coosa Backcountry Trail.
If the day is clear you can see Georgia's highest point, Brasstown Bald, in the distance among other mountains to the north. This is an unusual vista, as most views in the North Georgia Mountains open in a southerly direction. The southbound track makes for glorious walking, nearly level and simply cruising through the forest. Just when you get used to the quiet uplands, the trail curves right and enters a noisy watershed. The creek, Wolf Branch, makes quite a literal splash as it dashes downward to feed Lake Trahlyta.
Total Distance: 4.3 miles
Hiking Time: 2 3/4 hours
Vertical Rise: 830 feet
Follow Hwy 515 to Blairsville, take Hwy 129 towards Blood Mountain to Vogel State Park. Park near the visitor center and walk uphill on the road to the right (as you face the visitor center) for about 200 yards to the trailhead, near cabin No. 7