Located along US/19/129 at Neel’s Gap, high upon the Blood Mountain ridgeline, is the historic Walasi-Yi Interpretive Center, constructed between the years 1934 to 1938 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). This picturesque stone structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.
Outside the structure there’s a large kiosk and a very interesting Historical Marker. The center operates as a store offering items and books for outdoor enthusiast and hikers. Store items include clothing, maps, camping equipment, mountain crafts and gifts. The Appalachian Trail literally passes through the covered breezeway of this historic center near its restrooms. This covered breezeway is the only covered structure along the Appalachian Trail that the renowned trail actually passes thru in its entire 2,135-mile length.
The Center offers a stone observation deck with 3-picnic tables along its southern view with breathtaking mountain vistas and distance foothills and piedmont below. A connector trail leads from the Appalachian Trail to the observation deck. The parking area is available to ‘visitors only’ due to the lack of space along the narrow steep Neel’s Gap.
Day hikers will need to park at the Byron Herbert Reece Memorial parking area about a 1/4-mile to the north of the center, and take the Byron Herbert Reece Trail (blue blazed) up to the Appalachian Trail (white blazed) atop of Blood Mountain.