10 routes · Trail Running
A 57-mile trail running circuit touring the finest peaks in North Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains.
Trail Running Difficult
- 88 km
- 4.4 km
- 4.4 km
- 1 day +
- Low Point
- 584 m
- High Point
- 1.3 km
The Georgia Loop tours some of Southern Appalachia's finest peaks along the Appalachian, Benton MacKaye, and Duncan Ridge trails for a rugged 57-mile circuit packed with epic views along beautifully-kept singletrack. First-hand accounts, including this one from 2018 compare the route to the Grand Canyon R2R2R, and warn that it's "not something you just wake up and decide to do one morning." Detailed planning and strategizing are crucial, and a quick online search will yield an endless selection of blogs and other reports from those who have attempted it.
According to fastestknowntime.com, supported efforts have been documented in the 11 to 12-hour range, while unsupported efforts average closer to 14 or 15 hours. As such, lights are essential, and many runners opt for a late-night or early-morning start with aims to finish by sunset the following day.
The Georgia Loop can be attempted any time of year, though late winter and early spring provide the most favorable weather. Just remember to keep a close eye on the forecast and to bring plenty of layers. Even with a small chance of rain or snow, the highest peaks often yield their own weather patterns, and it's guaranteed that you will get wet at some point. The ability to start a fire and make a temporary shelter can go a long way if you are out during a stretch of cooler weather - a recommendation that holds true for trail runners and backpackers alike.
Given the nature of the run and its many access points, simply pick the closest trailhead to you and begin your run in either direction. Some reports, including this one note a preferred direction of counter-clockwise, while other sections are easier reversed. This version of the run originates at Woody Gap near Dahlonega, which is the preferred start for those driving up from Atlanta. Crew and aid access is also available at several points, though some areas are harder to access without an AWD or 4WD vehicle.
Sources: https://trailrunning100.com/2018/03/03/georgia-loop-report/ https://fastestknowntime.com/route/georgia-loop-ga