Coosa Backcountry Trail

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Summary

Upon completing the 12.9 mile Coosa Backcountry trail, you’ll have hiked three peaks and clocked more than 5,000 feet of elevation.

Written by

Alexa Lampasona

Distance

12.9 miles

The first mile is a warm up for what’s to come, as you gradually ascend through the park and into the Chattahoochee National Forest. At mile two, the trail evens out and gradually descends. The trail is surrounded by lush ferns in summer, and you’ll cross over the tricklings of creeks on the trail. Enjoy it, because at mile 3.5, you’ll begin your 3 mile ascent of nearly 2,000 feet. Around mile 8, you’ll come to the intersection of the popular Duncan Ridge Trail. Turn left and follow double blazed green and blue markings as you descend into Wolf Pen Gap. The final elevation haul comes after this, and is steeper than the first ascent. It’s only 1 mile, and then you can enjoy a gradual descent into the valley and back into Vogel State Park.

Destination Distance From Downtown

75.1 miles

Difficulty

4 of 5 diamonds

For those that think Georgia State Parks do not have tough terrain, take a hike-literally- on the Coosa Backcountry Trail. This trail starts in Vogel State Park and follows a loop out of the park and into the Chattahoochee National Forest. Upon completing the 12.9 mile trail, you’ll have hiked three peaks and clocked more than 5,000 feet of elevation.

Time To Complete

8 hours

Backpackers looking for an overnight trip with a shorter distance but serious elevation will find Coosa Backcountry Trail a challenging feat. Once out in the Chattahoochee National Forest, you’ll rarely encounter other hikers. Despite its limited use, the trail is in good condition and you’ll find several campsites. If you do backpack, you must obtain a backcountry permit from the park office before leaving. Hikers can make the trip in a day and will feel rewarded by its difficult elevation.

Seasonality

All Seasons

In winter, the trees are thin enough that you can catch glimpses of the surrounding mountains, but in summer, the thick forests don’t offer much of a view. Instead, most of the hike is flush with moss and greenery. For much of the trail, the terrain is dirt-packed, but on the last two miles, you’ll find more rocks, so watch your footing on the descent.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Fees Permits

Yes

$5 parking fee for all visitors to Georgia State Parks.

Land Website

Vogel State Park

Review

Intro

For those that think Georgia State Parks do not have tough terrain, take a hike-literally- on the Coosa Backcountry Trail. This trail starts in Vogel State Park and follows a loop out of the park and into the Chattahoochee National Forest. Upon completing the 12.9 mile trail, you’ll have hiked three peaks and clocked more than 5,000 feet of elevation.

What Makes It Great

The first mile is a warm up for what’s to come, as you gradually ascend through the park and into the Chattahoochee National Forest. At mile two, the trail evens out and gradually descends. The trail is surrounded by lush ferns in summer, and you’ll cross over the tricklings of creeks on the trail. Enjoy it, because at mile 3.5, you’ll begin your 3 mile ascent of nearly 2,000 feet. Around mile 8, you’ll come to the intersection of the popular Duncan Ridge Trail. Turn left and follow double blazed green and blue markings as you descend into Wolf Pen Gap. The final elevation haul comes after this, and is steeper than the first ascent. It’s only 1 mile, and then you can enjoy a gradual descent into the valley and back into Vogel State Park. 

In winter, the trees are thin enough that you can catch glimpses of the surrounding mountains, but in summer, the thick forests don’t offer much of a view. Instead, most of the hike is flush with moss and greenery. For much of the trail, the terrain is dirt-packed, but on the last two miles, you’ll find more rocks, so watch your footing on the descent. 

Who is Going to Love It

Backpackers looking for an overnight trip with a shorter distance but serious elevation will find Coosa Backcountry Trail a challenging feat. Once out in the Chattahoochee National Forest, you’ll rarely encounter other hikers. Despite its limited use, the trail is in good condition and you’ll find several campsites. If you do backpack, you must obtain a backcountry permit from the park office before leaving. Hikers can make the trip in a day and will feel rewarded by its difficult elevation. 

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

 Begin at the Backcountry sign inside the park, which is south of the visitor center on the right side of the paved park road. You’ll follow the green blazed access trail to the Coosa Backcountry Trail, which is blazed bright green throughout the entire loop. The short, steep section after Wolfpen Gap is only blazed blue, but don’t worry, you’re still going in the right direction. If looking at a map, you’ll want to take the trail counter-clockwise. 

The parking fee for Georgia State Parks is $5 per day. Dogs are allowed on leashes, but make sure your pup has some endurance to complete this loop.

The trail is not suggested for a one-day attempt, but if you’ve done double-digit hikes, you can accomplish the distance in a day. If all else fails, you reach Highway 180 at Wolfpen Gap around mile 9, and you could arrange to get picked up there. 

Location

Coosa Backcountry Trail

405 Vogel State Park Road
Blairsville, GA, 30512
34.766779, -83.920835

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