Whether you’re driving a bucket of balls, pitching tents under the stars, or paddling on our waterways, you’ll find plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors in Union County! Take the boat out on one of our two major lakes, or camp lakeside, fish for trout, or paddle in our rivers and streams, hike or mountain bike our many trails, possibly ending at a gorgeous waterfall, play in our parks, see the area on horseback, hit our golf greens, or relax among the vines at a fabulous winery. You’ll find it all here in Union County.
The 4,180-acre TVA-controlled Lake Nottely is a fisherman’s paradise, offering ample opportunities to land largemouth bass, spotted bass, crappie and striped bass, among others. With 106 miles of pristine shoreline nestled in the mountains just northwest of Blairsville, this unspoiled lake offers a breathtaking alpine experience for residents and visitors. Full pool is at 1,779 feet above M.S.L. and is held at or near that level in the summer until Labor Day for recreation and power generation. Lake Nottely is also a flood control lake and the target level for January 1 each year is 1,762 feet, or 17 feet below full pool. Construction of the dam was completed in 1942. It is 184 feet high and stretches 2,300 feet across the Nottely River.
For the latest information on lake levels and water releases for Lake Nottely, visit TVA: Lake Information
Near Suches, high in the mountains, you’ll find this clear 18-acre lake with picnicking, camping, swimming, fishing, boating and hiking. There is a covered pavilion and bath house near swimming area.
Lake Trahlyta is the centerpiece of Vogel State Park. This 22-acre lake is open to non-motorized boats. During summer, visitors can cool off at the scenic lakeside beach.
Numerous opportunities to camp out under the stars can be found in Union County, from Vogel State Park’s 103 tent, trailer, RV campsites; 18 walk-in campsites; 35 cottages; pioneer campground; and primitive backpacking campsites; to thousands of acres of National Forest and WMA lands available for camping; to a number of RV campgrounds in the area.
Poteete Creek Park is a 100-acre tract on Lake Nottely, with swimming area, camp sites, boat launch, picnic tables, and a picnic pavilion.
Rivers & Streams
Hundreds of creeks and trout streams flow through Union County, attracting anglers and water sports enthusiasts for fishing and paddling. The Nottely River flows below Vogel State Park and offers a spectacular view of nature during all seasons. Mountain trout fishing is a treat from this stream. There are 60 miles of designated trout streams within Union County. River rafting is available on the Nottely River which flows from south to north through Blairsville into Lake Nottely. Within a three-quarter hour drive is the Ocoee River Gorge, where its raging waters hosted the kayak event for the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Appalachian & Other Trails, Walasi Yi Center
The Appalachian Trail runs from Georgia to Maine across Union County with Walasi-Yi Center, a major stop for hikers located 4 miles south of Vogel State Park at Neel’s Gap and U.S. 19/129 near the top of Blood Mountain, Georgia’s second highest peak.
Other Trails: (List all hiking/trail links here)
Numerous vistas are available in the area. The Chattahoochee National Forest covers over 51% of Union County. Waterfalls offer beautiful scenery for hikers throughout the area.
- Blood Mountain Falls & Falls on Waters Creek
- DeSoto Falls
- Haynes Falls
- Helton Creek Falls
- Horsetrough Falls
- Nottely Falls
- Trahlyta Falls
- Wolf Creek Falls
Vogel State Park, Georgia’s original state park built in 1927, is only 10 miles south of Blairsville just off US 19/129 in the middle of the Chattahoochee National Forest at the base of Blood Mountain. With an elevation of 2,280 feet, its facilities are built around Lake Trahlyta for swimming, paddle boating and fishing. With revenues of $1.2-million, Vogel Park is the only traditional park in the State system that realizes a profit.
Camping Life Magazine in 2000 listed Vogel State Park in the top 25 USA public campgrounds, alongside such parks as Yellowstone National Park, Mt. Zion National Park and various state parks around the country. Families for several generations have been visiting Vogel together. There are many Union County full-time and part-time residents who purchased property and moved here after visiting Vogel State Park for several years.
Vogel State Park features include non-motorized boating on Lake Trahlyta and lake swimming from the beach area; fishing year round, with mountain trout fishing nearby; camping and cottages; picnicking at tables and shelters throughout the park; hiking on 17 miles of wooded mountain trails; a group shelter; an 18-hole mini-golf course and children’s playground, both located at the park’s visitor center.
Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s highest mountain at 4,784 feet above sea level, is 20 miles southeast of Blairsville (by road) and offers: a panoramic view of four states, exhibits, video presentations, picnic tables, snack foods, and a log cabin bookstore. A one-half mile walking trail from the parking lot located in Union County takes you to the mountain peak and the museum, located within Towns County. Hottest temperature ever recorded on Brasstown Bald Mountain was 84 degrees F.
The Union County Recreation Department maintains and operates Meeks Park, including walking trails, lighted girls and adult softball and Little League baseball fields, utility fields, bleachers, concession stands, rest rooms, batting cage, playground equipment and picnic facilities. Butternut Creek winds through the park, adding its beauty to the park setting.
Little League Baseball games and girls and adult softball games are played at Meeks Park. The youth football games are played at the high school field. An Olympic-size swimming pool, bath house and concession stand opened in 2000 at Meeks Park and operates from Memorial Day until Labor Day.
One of the best ways to get back to nature and explore the countryside around Blairsville and Union County is on horseback. Stables in the area cater to riders of all levels, even children. To locate a stable, click here to access the Business Directory of the Blairsville-Union Chamber of Commerce.
Georgia’s wine industry is booming! Northeast Georgia wineries are exploding with vinis vinifera varital, a special class of European grapes grown for crafting fine quality wines. The microclimate in the Northeast Georgia Mountains is ideal for growing vinifera grapes and the steep red-clay hillsides of North Georgia mirror the “terra rosa” (meaning red earth) soils of some of Europe’s most famous wine-growing areas. Area wineries offer tours, tastings, and special events year round. For more details: click here