Hiking west from the Vogel State Park Visitors Center, this 13.4-mile loop escapes deep into the Blue Ridge Mountains on a challenging loop on the Coosa Backcountry Trail. Rangers discourage dayhiking this route, but it is doable for fit hikers. Hiking through a mixed hardwood forest of oak, hickory, and white pine, the route crosses multiple forest creeks and (in season) samples a wide assortment of north Georgia wildflowers. Water sources are scattered throughout the loop (with the exception of the stretch from Slaughter Gap to Long Branch).
Hiked clockwise, the trail starts with a 3.5-mile, 1,700-foot climb up to Slaughter Mountain. From there, you’ll descend steeply to Wolf Pen Gap, before beginning another slog up Wildcat Knob and Coosa Bald. From there, the trail descends 2,100 feet over the next 3.6 miles before the final effort of the day, a gradual 700-foot climb around the contours of Frady Mountain and Sheriff Knob: not difficult in its own right, but tough on the legs after a long day of hiking. The final descent to the park is a welcome grade back to Vogel State Park.
-Mapped by Scott Sanders