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Cooper's Furnace and Laurel Ridge Trails
Georgia Trails

Trail Length: 1.6 miles Type of trail: Loop
County: Bartow County, GA Our rating: E
Features: picnicking, historic, family, bathrooms Your rating:
Usage: Light Added on: January 01, 1993
Last hiked: September 01, 2015 Updated on: September 13, 2015
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Additional Trails
Hiking trails in Bartow County, GA

Directions to Cooper's Furnace and Laurel Ridge Trails


Iron Works at Cooper's FurnaceThis trail begins at Coopers Furnace Day Use Area and follows an upgraded portion of an old logging road and a rail bed that was used to transport wood to the furnace. It then crosses a Laurel Ridge to an improved road, which is the return path to Cooper's Furnace. This is a great family hike and it is interpreted in places.


Mark Antony Cooper served during the Seminole Wars, in command of Fort Cooper (near Inverness) and his men help build the military road that connected with Fort Brooke and Fort King. He was an early proponent of railroads in Georgia and strongly supported the Western and Atlantic Railroad (WARR). In 1843 he ran for Georgia governor and lost.

Because of his involvement with the WARR he know of the Stroup Iron Works on Stamp Creek. He purchased the furnace and moved it to the Etowah River in 1847. In 1848 he added a short line railroad to from the iron works to Etowah Station on the WARR and began building the city of Etowah, Georgia. Almost all of the remains of the city were covered by Lake Allatoona.

During the Great Locomotive Chase it was Mark Anthony Cooper's engine, The Yonah, that prevented the Raiders from burning the Western and Atlantic bridge over the Etowah River. This small engine also carried William Fuller and others to the Kingston railroad yard. During the Atlanta Campaign Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston positioned men at the top of these hills, the Allatoona Mountains. Union General Jacob Cox's men advanced towards the furnace along the railroad bed. After a brief skirmish, the Rebels retreated south of the Etowah River and the Union Army captured the irons works and destroyed the surrounding city of Etowah, a major target of the Atlanta Campaign.

Cooper Furnace Trail

A gate past the iron furnace marks the start of the trail, which climbs easily near a small creek. Cooper's Furnace Trail bears left to begin the loop at a lake formed by a beaver dam and fortified by the Army Corps of Engineers. Enhanced by non-intrusive birdhouses, the wildlife in the area is abundant. Following an old railbed the trail is relatively rock free and close to level. At .5 miles the footpath turns right and crosses a bridge as it makes a short, difficult ascent. Note that the trail is now rocky and there are many exposed tree roots. As the trail straightens watch for a fence on the right protecting hikers from a fairly steep drop.

At the end of the fence the Laurel Ridge Trail bears right and the Cooper Furnace Trail continues to a small parking lot. The .6 mile Pine Mountain Connector Trail comes off to the left before the parking lot. This trail takes hikers to the Pine Mountain Trail.

Laurel Ridge Trail

Return to the Laurel Ridge Trail and turn left. The pathway narrows and makes an energetic climb to the ridge. Follow the treadway to the right and shortly the first of two overlooks permits a stunning view of the cove any time of year. A second overlook also offer a view into the Cooper's Furnace cove. A section of the trail is banked with heavy stone, visible proof of the railway that ran here before the Civil War. Here the trail begins to follow a high ridge. At the Visitors Center, take a few minutes to see the displays and walk to the Lake Allatoona overview. This is one of the finest views south of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The trail then returns to the beaver lake over the upgraded portion of the old logging road.

The Laurel Ridge Trail is a .4 mile hike that climbs to just below the ridgetop of Laurel Ridge then follows it to the improved road that returns you to the Cooper Furnace Day Use Area. At the end of the trail a path to the right begins a moderate climb to the Allatoona Lake Visitors Center. The Visitors Center houses a museum to the Corps of Engineers that built the dam and created Lake Allatoona.


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Georgia Hikes
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Atlanta Campaign
Joseph E. Johnston
Western and Atlantic Railroad

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