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The trail is an easy hike with fairly manageable switchbacks and is located at the Eastern Blue Ridge to Cooper Creek Recreation Area. Expect to see forests and a stream along the way. The whole stretch takes about 2.5 miles and the trail is easy to moderate. The trail starts at the parking lot about 0.3 miles from FS 236 and is marked by orange blazes. Some spaces at the FS 236 area are also allocated for campers. Regular army training exercises are done here so it is recommended to call Camp Frank D. Merrill in Dahlonega for the schedule of activities.
Cooper Creek Trail is about half a mile from the start of the trail which connects the trails for Mill Shoals and Yellow Mountain Trail. The footpath continues to an old roadbed and moves along the north side of the Yellow Mountain. At that point, the path follows the Mill Shoals Creek which is about 1.4 mile on the hike where you will pass by two rivulets. The Mill Shoals Trail has been rerouted where the trail ends at Duncan Ridge Road (FS 39) at the Shope Gap and forms a loop at the section of the Yellow Mountain Trail.
From the start of the trail, the footpath ascends through a white pine and oak forest and emerges easily to the Cooper Creek Scenic Area on its northwestern edge. Then it turns into gradual and steady switchbacks as you continue around 0.7 miles before reaching Mill Shoals Trail at the top of a spur ridge. On this junction which is 0.7 mile on the hike, a blue-blazed trail sign informs that you are already at the Cooper Creek Trail. The path continues on an old roadbed on the right as it makes an easy ascent to the junction of Yellow Mountain where the Yellow Mountain trailhead is located.
Pace straight ahead to the path to Mill Shoals as it makes a descent onto a hardwood cove. There are American chestnut stumps in the area while other trees have already taken its place. You will then emerge out from this forest about 0.9 miles on the hike and continue to make a descent to an old logging road. The footpath makes a right turn and followed by a quick downhill switch to the left off the road towards Mill Shoals Creek. Cross two streams as the path follows through lines of tall white pine trees. The path then continues to pass along an old roadbed and sets onto Duncan Ridge Road (FS 39).
At this point, the view offers a magnificent scene of Cliff Ridge and the Beebait Knob from a distance. The trail then turns right and continues to FS 39 for another mile onto Shope Gap at the FS 39 and old woods road junction. Then loop back by turning right towards the woods road by following Shope Gap Trail’s green blazes.
write by rivera