It’s easy to forget here in our sprawling asphalt jungle that we’re just a couple hours south of some of the oldest mountains in the world. Tourist-friendly high country abounds in North Georgia, from Brasstown Bald to the Bavarian-themed oddity of Helen, but our rugged upstate landscape doesn’t need coin-operated telescopes or lederhosen to get our attention. We just like to revel in its natural beauty, and for that you can’t beat BLOOD MOUNTAIN. It’s the highest peak on Georgia’s section of the Appalachian Trail and juts up from the 750,000-acre Chattahoochee National Forest, amid creeks, mountain lakes, waterfalls and miles of backcountry trails. It’s a hard 4.4-mile hike to the top, but the peak rewards you with spectacular views, which can include Atlanta on a clear day. www.fs.fed.us/conf.