A Spring Hike To Coosa Bald (Via The Duncan Ridge Trail)

Sixteen years ago, The Ox and I did a winter ascent of Coosa Bald (4,271 feet) via a spur off the Coosa Backcountry Trail.  I remembered a few campsites scattered near the summit and decided to return via a much shorter route this time.

Coosa Bald Summit

Coosa Bald is located near (and approachable from) Vogel State Park, and we stopped at Neel’s Gap a few miles South of the park.  The store was busy on this cool and clear weekend, and The Weasel snapped this photo of hiking boots hanging in the trees over the Appalachian Trail hiker hostel. It seems that more than a few thru-hikers have discarded their boots here.

There are multiple approaches to Coosa Bald, but we ended up at the Duncan Ridge Road trailhead where it intersects with the Duncan Ridge Trail. If you drive here, do it in a high-clearance vehicle and consider having either four or all wheel drive  – especially if it’s wet or muddy.  Your Ford Taurus  is likely to lose a muffler or at the minimum have some trouble navigating this road.

DRT/Coosa Trail Junction


To reach Coosa Bald, you follow the blue-blazed Duncan Ridge Trail to the summit.  It splits with the green blazed Coosa Backcountry Trail where we took this photo – and caught our breathe.  (Although many older guidebooks have the Coosa Trail blazed in yellow).


Campsites are scare on the summit, but we managed to find one on the North side of Coosa Bald – although to call it a “bald” is incorrect. The area has almost entirely been reclaimed by trees.

Coosa Bald

Here we are at Coosa Bald enjoying the views to the South and the sunset (through the trees) to the West. Leaves cover the trees right now in Atlanta, but on the summit the buds were only starting to bust out. We planned accordingly – otherwise there wouldn’t be much to see on the “bald”.

Coosa Sunset

The temperature dropped quickly after sunset.  It was in the low 30’s tonight and we are only a week away from May.  So Boone Dawg was quite happy to curl up in his sleeping bag for the night.

Boone Dawg

In summary, Coosa Bald is a remote place that you are likely to have to yourself. Go for the solitude – but not for the stellar campsites or panoramic views.

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