Duncan Ridge Trail

Area Status: Open
Image from the trail at Duncan Ridge

Approximately an hour and a half from Atlanta and two hours southeast of Chattanooga, this challenging trail's northern terminus begins at Neels Gap (only 25 miles north of Dahlonega), stretches from Blood Mountain, along the Duncan Ridge of the Cooper Creek Wildlife Management Area, and finally ends at the Benton MacKaye Trail in Fannin County. The Duncan Ridge Trail offers some of the most difficult--yet rewarding--ascents in Georgia.  Despite it's challenging reputation, the DRT is an excellent connector trail, linking the Appalachian Trail and the Benton MacKaye Trail, forming a loop more than 60 miles long with opportunities to experience 3 of the most prized trails in Georgia. With stunning scenery, waterfalls and panoramic views, this trail will surely not disappoint!

At a Glance

Information Center: Please contact the Blue Ridge Ranger District for more information at 706-745-6928


Day Hiking

There are multiple day-hikes within the vicinity of the Duncan Ridge Trail:

  • Sosebee Cove (a short, double loop memorial trail for Arthur Woody, Georgia's first Ranger)
  • Bear Hair Gap (3.6mi)
  • Coosa Backcountry Trail (12.4 mi); visit the Vogel State Park hiking page for more information and a nice map of all the trails in the vicinity of the park.
  • Byron Herbert Reece Trail (4.4 miles total when traveling to the top of Blood Mountain, and then back down to trailhead)
  • Lake Winifield Scott Trail (less than a mile, a single loop around Lake Winifield Scott.  Very easy hike and ideal for seniors.)
  • Jarrard Gap-AT connector trail (1.2mi)


The Duncan Ridge Trail (blue blazed) begins at Three Forks on the Appalachian Trail (white square) and shares the Benton MacKaye Trail (white diamonds) for 15 miles until reaching GA State Rd. 60, where shortly after the DRT breaks and goes east, while the BMT continues west to the Conasauga District.  At the section where the DRT shares tread with the Coosa Backcountry Trail the blazes will be yellow. Climbing mountains and gaps, the trail ends back at the AT at Slaughter Mountain.  

DRT has access points at:

Three Forks Trailhead
Coosa Trailhead
Wildcat Knob Trailhead
Slaughter Mountain

Viewing Scenery

Scenic highlights are many on this trail, but perhaps one of its most well-known is the 265 foot high wooden suspension bridge hanging high above the Toccoa River. This practical piece of art along with waterfalls, winding streams, interesting rock formations as well as breath-taking views make up only a few of the things you will you experience on this trail.