Hikers looking for a long-term challenge can explore the Duncan Ridge Trail, beginning at Three Forks on the Appalachian Trail/Benton MacKaye Trail in Georgia. Taking this trail leads hikers and their intrepid four-legged partners to some of the most remote lands inside the Chattahoochee National Forest. If you know what you're doing and are looking for a long getaway to enjoy the peace and serenity that nature offers away from the city lights, this is definitely the hike for you!
Explorers will continue their adventure when they have to cross a swinging bridge and climb Tooni Mountain to get to the main highway. At the highway, the intersection offers a choice: You can keep following the trail east or take another trail to the west. Following the Duncan Trail to the east takes you to a variety of sharp inclines that intersect other trails, ascend hills and mountains, head down Blood Mountain in the Appalachians, and eventually end up back in Neels Gap.
If you feel like you and Fido are up to the challenge, you can access the Duncan Ridge Trail by heading north from Dahlonega for 19 miles, where you will end up in Neels Gap to park. When you leave the parking lot there, you will need to start your hike by heading south to Slaughter Gap, two miles along the Appalachian Trail. Then your real hike will begin at the entrance to the trail!
This trail is definitely only recommended for experienced hikers. Be sure to plan ahead for an extended hike for you and Fido. Pack your backpack with plenty of protein snacks for you both to keep your energy up, and bring lots of water as well. Keep Fido on a short leash so that you both stay together. Plan well and bring an extra phone charger, map, and compass; you may need it!