|Trail Length: 12.5 miles||Type of trail: Loop|
|County: Union County, GA||Our rating: Moderate|
|Features: scenic, camping||Your rating:|
|Usage: Light||Added on: January 01, 1995|
|Last hiked: June 06, 2014||Updated on: June 07, 2014|
|About these ratings|
Hiking trails in Union County, GA
We rate the 12.5 miles Coosa Backcountry Trail as moderate although there are some areas of extended strenuous difficulty. The trail is marked with green blazes and a hiking permit is required and available free at the Vogel State Park Visitor Center. The first (and last) 0.5 miles of the trail is known as the Coosa Backcountry Loop Access Trail
Coosa Backcountry Trail
Walking this trail in a single day is not recommended. Coosa Bald and Slaughter Mountain are the highpoints on this journey and along its path are Burnett Gap, Locust Stake Gap and Calf Stomp Gap, but in 2003 the trail was rerouted to avoid Slaughter Gap. The trail runs near the Appalachian Trail in the AT Woody Gap to Neels Gap section. The Coosa Backcountry Trail does not actually climb Coosa Bald, the trails namesake. To see the view from the bald, you will have to use the Duncan Ridge Trail. The Bear Hair Trail, which is a balloon trail with a spur to an unnamed knob shares the Coosa Backcountry Trail tread way for about half its distance.
Follow the green blazes from the Visitors Center and turn right at a sign near cabin number 7 that serves as the entrance for both the Coosa and Bear Hair Trails. Climbing alongside Burnett Branch the Coosa Backcountry Access Trail climbs through a forest typical of the North Georgia mountains. Watch for various pines, hickory and oak that approach the look of an old growth forest. At 0.3 miles the Byron Herbert Reece Nature Trail comes off to the right. A scant 0.2 miles later the Access Trail "T"s into a dirt road that serves as the combined Coosa Backcountry Trail and the Bear Hair Trail. We normally hike the Coosa in a counter-clockwise direction, so turn right at the T.
About 0.1 miles later the Coosa bears right and the Bear Hair Trail bears left. Almost immediately a green blazed bridge crosses Burnett Branch for the last time. The Coosa begins a moderate climb to GA 180, known locally as Wolf Pen Gap Road, at Burnett Gap.
An easy to moderate climb brings hikers to the base of Ben's Knob. A slow change has been and continues to take place as the forest common to the lower coves is replaced by the hickory and oak forest common to the ridges. For most of the rest of the trail this ridge forest prevails. The trail winds alongside this mountain's steep slopes then levels out to Calf Stomp Gap. After crossing Calf Stomp Road the trail climbs with Coosa Bald off to the right, before merging with the Duncan Ridge Trail (Coosa Bald, the namesake of the trail, is part of Duncan Ridge). There are some good scenic views in this area. From here the trail drops to Wildcat Gap where it briefly joins Duncan Ridge Road, then leaves to ascend Wildcat Knob. As the trail crosses Wildcat Knob it reaches the halfway mark.
The trail descends sharply coming off Wildcat Knob, following an old road at first, then turning onto a path, eventually leading to Duncan Ridge Road again where the Coosa Trail again crosses Georgia 180 at Wolfpen Gap. The climb into and out of Wolfpen Gap is the most difficult of the trail, as the Coosa/Duncan Ridge begins its ascent of Slaughter Mountain.
From this point it is a relatively easy journey to return to Vogel. Coming off Slaughter Mountain the Coosa turns left just before Slaughter Gap, winding down to Wolf Creek. Just before joining Wolf Creek the Bear Hair Trail joins the hike for the return to the trailhead.