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  1. #1
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    Default Duncan Ridge Trail (GA) Re-Route

    I was out on the DRT the past two days, and came across some contractors re-routing the trail in a pretty significant way, in my opinion. Three separate stretches of the steep, straight up climbs to the top of mountains that the trail is known for, between Fish Gap and Rhodes Mountain Gap, are being re-routed around the sides as more moderate and sustainable trail.

    I understand why it's being done, but this seems like kind of a big deal since the steep, difficult climbs are what the trail is known for. I suppose I'm for it though. Don't think runners will be too happy about it. Kinda cool to say I was one of the last to do the "old" trail, that actually follows the Duncan Ridge, officially.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Contouring(side hilling)the difficulty out? I don't recall too many erosion and sustainability problems on the DRT. Well, we can add the difficulty back in by walking backwards.

  3. #3
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    Following to see what others think...

  4. #4
    Registered User Dances with Mice's Avatar
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    Over the last 15+ years I've seen no significant erosion on the trail portion being relocated. It's not the best designed trail, that's true, but adding switchbacks at some of the gaps would have been another solution that retained the character of the trail.

    I have seen significant erosion problems on the stretch between Coosa and Mulky which aren't being relo'd.

    Portion of new trail: https://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=63070&c=683
    Last edited by Dances with Mice; 01-06-2019 at 20:03.
    You never turned around to see the frowns
    On the jugglers and the clowns
    When they all did tricks for you.

  5. #5

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    Wow Dances with Mice---I've never seen such heavy impact on a foot trail as in your pic--

    drt_relo_490329_original.jpg
    I can understand digging out the bank to make a level foot tread---but putting in all these cinder blocks? Obviously this part of the trail must be adjacent to a road to haul in all this weight.

    I guess the old trail must've got a sensitive hiker upset after probably slipping and breaking a nail and so they complained to the FS.

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    So care to ponder what's the reasoning DWM?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    So care to ponder what's the reasoning DWM?
    When I was out there I actually ran into some sort of Forest Service (may not have been Forest Service, some sort of government employee) employee who was the individual that ultimately decided this trail needed to be re-routed. He was basically supervising the contractors out there working on it. My buddy had actually met the guy before and said that's pretty much what his job is, evaluating if trails need to be moved and where new trails should go. His explanation was to make it "sustainable trail".

  8. #8
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    I thought they were just fortifying a place where a spring was crossing the trail. That looks like a cart path at a golf course. Going to be interesting maintaining that section.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by skater View Post
    I thought they were just fortifying a place where a spring was crossing the trail. That looks like a cart path at a golf course. Going to be interesting maintaining that section.
    Especially when a severe cold snap at 0F freezes the ground solid and heaves these blocks all over the place.

  10. #10
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    Damn. I really need to go checkout this reroute. Does anyone know if the old trail is still accessible or have they laid down trees/debris over the old section?

    Ran the GA Loop last March and was wanting to take a stab at going sub 12 hours this year but if the reroute is significant it won't be the same .

  11. #11
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    I don't know if the old section is closed off yet, but I can say with certainty that it will be by springtime, and it is not being maintained so fallen trees may be an obstacle. The biggest impact from the reroute will be taking out the peak on Payne. Given the very tiny fraction of the 60 overall miles that this reroute impacts, one could be forgiven for ignoring the difference. Regardless, if you can do the loop in 12 hours, you are at a physical level that few people achieve.

  12. #12
    Registered User cneill13's Avatar
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    The old route on the DRT will be accessible. I still hike on the part of the AT that goes over Gooch mountain that was relocated in early-2000. I also hiked a few weeks ago on the old Gooch mountain AT trail that was relocated through Gooch Gap last year.

    It is too bad the DRT is being changed. The old route is one of the toughest trail sections I have ever hiked. But even if the routes are changed, it will not stop me.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmercer812 View Post
    Damn. I really need to go checkout this reroute. Does anyone know if the old trail is still accessible or have they laid down trees/debris over the old section?

    Ran the GA Loop last March and was wanting to take a stab at going sub 12 hours this year but if the reroute is significant it won't be the same .
    Just wanted to follow up with my previous post. Yesterday, I ran the GA Loop again and avoided the DRT reroute and stuck to the old trail. I established a new FKT 11:19:28.

    https://www.strava.com/activities/2225491497

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    Anthony's Nose trail, on the East Side of the Bear Mountain Bridge over the Hudson River used to be the AT, it was a short rock scramble. The AT was relocated off the face to a more gradual climb which no longer goes to the top. The fantastic viewpoint is a side trip now.

    With increasing usage of the AT, I can see this happening more and more. Just because a trail has been sustainable in the past doesn't mean it can keep up with the increasing hiker traffic year after year. If a section may get itself into trouble I think it's better to move the AT to a more sustainable route, but keep the other section open for those who want to hike the steeps, but it would not be the AT (assuming there is manpower for this). This way the steeps would get less traffic, but still there for those who want just that or are willing to blue blaze.

  15. #15
    Registered User Pak-Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmercer812 View Post
    Just wanted to follow up with my previous post. Yesterday, I ran the GA Loop again and avoided the DRT reroute and stuck to the old trail. I established a new FKT 11:19:28.

    https://www.strava.com/activities/2225491497

    Will be doing the loop in the coming weeks.. Anything to look out for? Is the Duncan Ridge Trail easy to follow? Any advice would be great.. Thank you
    "All that is important is this one moment in movement. Make the moment vital and worth living." Martha Graham

  16. #16
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    DRT is pretty easy to follow. Debris has been laid across the old trail right after fish gap (approximately 20 miles) but if you are going CCW just veer right and go around the debris and you'll be on the old trail which is still blazed. From there you shouldn't have a problem following the old trail.

    Other than that all the trails are in great shape right now. There were some blowdowns on slaughter mtn over the past two months but they have all been cleared. I didn't encounter any. Good luck and enjoy!

  17. #17
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    I hiked the Georgia Loop last week, clockwise from Flat Rock Gap. Started Sunday, and finished yesterday. It is my understanding that the underlying reason for the re-route of the Duncan Ridge Trail from Rhodes Gap to Fish Gap is that the Forest Service wanted some more useful fire break in that area. So, as a result, there is a new trail. I took the old route from Rhodes Gap to Sarvis Gap because that appeared to still be the "official" blazed route. I took the new trail from Sarvis Gap to Fish Gap because the old trail was blocked off with logs, and what not, but the new trail was not blazed as of Friday. All of the new trail appears to not be completely finished yet, and I'm assuming the concrete landscape blocks are there to keep the machine they are using from damaging a wet area as they move it from place to place. I bet they go away. The Duncan Ridge Trail is in good shape for the most part. I ran into one human between Rhodes Mountain and White Oak Stomp.
    don't like logging? try wiping with a pine cone.

  18. #18
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    Thanks for the update!

  19. #19
    Registered User general's Avatar
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    The side hill between Bryant Gap and Buckeye Gap is really skinny.
    don't like logging? try wiping with a pine cone.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by general View Post
    The side hill between Bryant Gap and Buckeye Gap is really skinny.
    I'll take a look at that.

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