Atlanta, GA: Duncan Ridge (Section 2A)

A classic Appalachian ridge hike, this 11-mile shuttle tackles numerous knobs and summits under heavy canopy with occasional Blue Ridge views.
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A classic Appalachian ridge hike, this 11-mile shuttle tackles numerous knobs and summits under heavy canopy with occasional Blue Ridge views.

Trekking west to east, this 11-mile shuttle wanders the first half of the Duncan Ridge Trail Section 2 (and part of Section 3 of the Benton MacKaye Trail). After stashing a vehicle at Mulky Gap (the east end of the hike), drive west to a Benton MacKaye Trail access point on GA 60 and begin hiking, following the white diamond blazes.
The climbing kicks up in a hurry on the route up Wallalah Mountain. This is a classic Appalachian ridge trek with numerous short summit approaches of peaks and knobs and very few respites from steep climbing or descending. The trail is very well-marked and well-maintained throughout (and scattered with some campsites). In season, you'll likely be hiking under a heavy tunnel of tree canopy (a deciduous mix of oaks and hardwoods). When the trees do part at the occasional overlook points, they reveal far-reaching views of Chattahoochee National Forest and the Blue Ridge peaks of north Georgia.
-Mapped by Scott Sanders, GroundedGraphics.com
TO TRAILHEAD: Start: Take I 85 N to US 19/GA 400 N. Go 46.8 miles and turn left on US 19/GA 249. In 5.1 miles turn right on US .19/GA 60. 8 miles later, turn left to stay on GA 60. Continue 21.9 miles to trailhead (on right).
End: After turning left on GA 60, go 14.9 miles and turn right on Cooper Creek Rd. (at the Cooper Creek Convenience Store). Go 4.2 miles and turn left on Old Mulky Gap Rd. In 3.4 miles you'll synch up with Mulky Gap Rd. and the trailhead is just a few hundred feet ahead.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 17.9

Waypoints

DNC001

Location: 34.7660942, -84.1643448

The asphalt parking lot on GA 60 is marked by a green hiker sign and has enough space for 3 cars. Do not filter water from the creek near the road as there some is agricultural "run off" from a chicken farm up stream. Begin hiking north on the white-diamond blazed Benton MacKaye Trail (which shares a tread with the Duncan Ridge Trail for the first 4.2 miles).

DNC002

Location: 34.7668686, -84.1643982

Continue straight @ 4-way intersection, following white diamond blazes through a mixed deciduous forest of evergreen, oaks, and hardwoods.

DNC003

Location: 34.7727318, -84.159317

Continue straight @ 4-way intersection.

DNC004

Location: 34.7781258, -84.1568375

At this slightly confusing spot, the trail makes a hard right and heads uphill. Ahead, you'll tackle two more switchbacks on a 500-foot climb up to the spine and summit of Wallalah Mountain.

DNC005

Location: 34.7812054, -84.1517115

Follow the trail as it makes a sharp U-turn to the left and descends a short stretch before jogging back east along the north ridge of Wallalah (marked with blue blazes).

DNC006

Location: 34.7817154, -84.1438065

Continue straight @ 4-way intersection across an old logging road. This stretch of the trail through thick green tree canopy is classic Appalachian ridge hiking.

DNC007

Location: 34.7843056, -84.1309814

Licklog Mountain: This heavily wooded summit doesn't offer much in the way of far-reaching views.

DNC008

Location: 34.7882547, -84.1274214

The trail arrives at a medium-sized campsite (room for 5-6 tents) with a fire-pit. Down the hill to the right is the first usable water source.

DNC009

Location: 34.7946053, -84.124588

Bear right @ 3-way junction. This is where the Benton MacKaye and Duncan Ridge trails separate. From here, follow the blue rectangular trail blazes.

DNC010

Location: 34.795475, -84.1241913

Bear right @ second 3-way junction. Fifty yards to the left of this junction is a scenic overlook to the north.

DNC011

Location: 34.8014793, -84.1011658

Trail crests Gregory Knob. This stretch of trail undulates steeply over a handful of short summits. The climbs are steep but brief.

DNC012

Location: 34.8057747, -84.0877075

Sarvis Gap: Look for the wooden sign with a 'W' pointing a water source and a directional arrow pointing out the direction of the trail.

DNC013

Location: 34.8018951, -84.070755

Continue straight at Fish Gap, passing an intersection with a gravel road. You'll pass a water source down the road.

DNC014

Location: 34.7991714, -84.0397491

This section of the trail ends at Mulky Gap.

Wallalah View

Location: 34.7765173, -84.1542864

A scenic view to the south from on the climb up Wallalah Mountain. © Scott Sanders

Campsite

Location: 34.7883957, -84.1272068

Follow the 'W' to a spring water source. © Scott Sanders

Scenic Overlook

Location: 34.796114, -84.1237736

© Scott Sanders

Fish Gap

Location: 34.8016115, -84.0707731

© Scott Sanders

Rhodes Mountain Gap

Location: 34.7982284, -84.1162205

© Scott Sanders

Blue Ridge Views

Location: 34.8001314, -84.0508604

© Scott Sanders