Hiking The Duncan Ridge Trail

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Designated as a National Recreation Trail, the Duncan Ridge Trail moves along mountains and valleys and then reaches the waterfalls as its focal point. This trail is maintained by the US Forest Service at the Ranger Districts of Toccoa and Brasstown. The trail is also within the Chattahoochee National Forest where several scenic spots are available. At the intersection found in Long Creek, the meeting point between Benton MacKaye Trail and the Duncan Ridge Trail is the trail head. The path then crosses over the 265-foot suspension bridge at the Toccoa River.

The path on this Duncan Ridge Trail is extremely exhausting with several challenging climbs and is marked with blue blazes. It is reputed to be one of the most challenging trails in the eastern part of Georgia. On the Appalachian Trail, the Duncan Ridge Trail starts at Three Forks as it shares a common footpath with Benton MacKaye Trail that also eventually ends at Georgia Highway 60. This common route ends approximately 16 miles to Rhodes Mountain.

From Georgia Highway 60, move further towards the top of Rhodes Mountain where near the top of it Duncan Ridge swerves east as Benton MacKaye goes west. Then expect to make a fast descent from Rhodes Mountain to the Rhodes Mountain Gap. It will then become an easy path further down the path at this point. However, as soon as you get to move towards Fish Gap, the trail ascends steeply and then goes down as it continues a few more rigorous sets of uphill and downhill hike. At the end of that series of switchbacks, expect another steep ascent as you pace to the summit of Akin Mountain.

From the top of the mountain, move further down to Mulky Gap. As you emerge from it, move further for about .3 miles where the Duncan Ridge Trail continues as it now parallels with the Forest Service Road 39 (Duncan Ridge Road). From here, another set of steep switchbacks is expected as the Duncan Ridge Trail climbs to the Wildcat Knob and Coosa Bald.

On this footpath, a common trail is now shared by Coosa Backcountry Trail and Duncan Ridge Trail for a short distance until one final climb towards Slaughter Mountain. The way down from Slaughter Mountain becomes easy where the trail rejoins the Appalachian Trail about 4,458 feet below from the summit. The trail ends at this section of the Appalachian Train in the Slaughter Gap.

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Hiking The Duncan Ridge Trail

This article was published on 2011/05/07