Blue Ridge was made for dog lovers! Not only do we have many cabins at Escape to Blue Ridge that are pet-friendly but we also have many places around town where pets are welcome as well! From hiking trails, to restaurants and shops, to breweries and wineries; you can bring your best friend along with you for all your adventures!
Puptastic Hiking Trails
While dogs are welcome anywhere in the great outdoors we have specific hikes that are perfect for your dog. The trails on these hikes are easy for them to navigate and not too long that they would be overworked. One of our favorite easy hikes for pups is the trail to Long Branch Falls. Not only will your pup love accompanying you on your adventure but they’ll also love cooling off in the falls after the hike. Some other local dog-friendly trails with waterfalls include Raven Cliff Falls Trail and Jack River Falls Trail; both are great for dogs with high energy because they are a little longer. And if you and your dog are feeling brave enough a hike along the Benton MacKaye Trail to the famous Swinging Bridge is always a treat! Need a few more suggestions? Follow our dog-friendly hiking blog for more ideas: https://www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/dog-friendly-hikes-blue-ridge-georgia/
Many of our local breweries and wineries also allow pets! There’s nothing quite like a weekend afternoon spent relaxing with a glass of wine in your hand or a pint of beer, with mountain views, and your favorite furry friend beside you. You will likely bring your friends along with you, so you might as well bring the best one! For brews with the dogs Grumpy Old Men Brewing, Fannin Brewing Company, Copperhill Brewery, Blue Ridge Brewery, and Buck Bald Brewing all invite you to bring your pups along with you as you sip on their delicious craft beers. Every October Grumpy Old Men Brewing even has an awesome Barktober event full of beer, food, fun, and lots of dogs! And for wine lovers, dogs are welcome at Bear Claw Winery, Serenberry Vineyards, and Cartecay Vineyards. Cartecay Vineyards is so pet-friendly they even have their own vineyard dog who might come up and say hi! Many of these local breweries and wineries also have live music on the weekends; so bring your favorite people, favorite dogs, and have some fun!
As animal lovers ourselves, we
understand that when you plan a vacation to Blue Ridge, Georgia that you want
your four-legged family members to accompany you. Just as you love the fresh
mountain air and seeing new places, so do pooches! There are so many new smells
they’ve never sniffed, creeks to splash in, and they would much rather be with
you than be kenneled!
Here at Escape to Blue Ridge we have over 100 cabins that are pet friendly! You can choose cabins by the lake or near a river. There are also pet friendly cabins in the middle of the woods with acres and acres for your puppers to run to their little heart’s content. Some properties are even fenced in like Black Dog of Blue Ridge.
Blue Ridge is a very pet friendly
community. Whether you are bringing Fido with you or just want to bring home a souvenir
for your best friend, Blue
Ridge Cotton Company is both a pet and human friendly store! Here you will
find great apparel, gifts, and of course doggie approved décor! The owner’s own
pup, Watson Agee, can often
be seen “working” at one of their two locations in Blue Ridge or Blairsville.
Stop in, give him a pet on the head, and enjoy browsing all of their unique
outdoorsy canines, head to Blue
Ridge Adventure Gear for the hottest trends, most delicious treats, and all
the outdoor gear you might possibly need. Keep Rufus safe out on Lake Blue
Ridge with life jackets, play fetch at Morganton Point with glow in the dark
balls, or keep them safe in your car with a dog hammock. Oh, did we mention the
treats? Well, they have plenty along with their sister store, Blue Ridge Adventure Wear. Your
pup is going to get pawsitively excited when you buy him some of their most
scrumptious looking doggie donut treats!
Love Dogs and Cats Too
is a holistic pet supply shop that has everything you could ever need for your
favorite family member. They carry collars, leashes, food, toys, and treats.
Here you’ll find natural flea and tick soaps, pet friendly cbd oils, and even
puppy clothes! Stop on in if you Love Dogs, they’ll be happy to see you!
It’s true. We have some incredible restaurants here in Blue Ridge. The best part is some of them allow pets to join their owners for delicious meals. Right in the heart of downtown Blue Ridge, you can sit on the inviting patio of The Black Sheep and enjoy an outstanding meal. This fine dining establishment features southern cuisine in a casual atmosphere. Their steaks are to-die-for, but really you’ll enjoy anything Chef Brandon prepares!
Relax on the largest pet friendly deck in Georgia & Tennessee. In the Twin Cities of McCaysville, Ga & Copperhill, Tn you and your furry BFF can dine at either Burra Burra on the River or The Twisted Tomato! Overlooking the famous steel bridge and the Toccoa River, here you’ll get beautiful scenery, delicious food, and lots of pets and love for your 4-legged buddy!
How can you not love a business that broadcasts “Dogs are welcome, and people are tolerated!” Grumpy Old Men Brewing is a laid back, fun microbrewery is open Tuesday through Saturday and offers 18 beers on tap. They often have live music and they stand by their motto: If we don’t like it, we don’t drink it. If we don’t drink it, we don’t sell it. So, come out and feel like a local, have fun, and drink good beer!
If you don’t already have a best friend
or are looking to grow your furfamily, stop by the Humane Society of Blue Ridge.
This no kill shelter often partners with local businesses to encourage pet adoptions
and to support their non-profit work of supporting sick, injured, or abandoned
animals. They run a Thrift Store to help offset operational costs, and they
even have a dog park that’s open 24/7 that all are welcome to use!
A lot of times our guests will make
day trips from the cabin and not all towns are as pet friendly as Blue Ridge. If
your planning an adventure and you can’t take Benji with you, make an appointment
at Violet’s Doggy Daycare. Here
your pup will be able to make friends, run around, and be safe and secure until
you come retrieve them. While there you can even get your pooch a peticure or a
full grooming session. Violet’s also offers homemade pet treats and jerky
While you are on vacation, sometimes things
can happen. Maybe Rufus counter surfed and gobbled down some grapes and now he feels
under the weather or maybe while he was out exploring in the yard, he tried to eat
some berries that he shouldn’t have. We don’t like to think about these things happening
and when you are away from home you don’t know who to use or where to go to
when emergency services are needed. Fortunately, right here in Blue Ridge we
have a highly rated and extremely respected emergency veterinary service that
is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year! Mountain Emergency Animal Center provides
comprehensive emergency and urgent care and work closely with your primary
veterinarian to provide the most complete care possible for your family pet. We
hope that you won’t need to utilize their services, but in the event that you
need to, know that you are in great hands!
Hiking with your dog can be fun for both you and your furry friend. Not only does it provide a great source of exercise for you and your dog, but it’s also one of the best ways to have amazing adventures while creating memories that will last a lifetime. It’s a win-win for everyone! Here are some of our favorite trails: https://www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/dog-friendly-hikes-blue-ridge-georgia/
Blue Ridge, Georgia is THE place for pet lovers! This small, welcoming town was meant for outdoor lovers and their pets! Go on a hike all day with your furry friend and then at night enjoy dinner on the patio at many of our pet-friendly restaurants. Even many of our wineries and breweries love having dogs join!
We know you want to include your Fido with you wherever you go, that’s why a large number of our cabins are dog-friendly; that way your furry friends won’t miss out on the fun! With stunning mountain views, easy access to the trails, and close to the shopping and dining of downtown Blue Ridge; these 6 cabins will become your home away from home for you and your pets!
Blue Chase Lodge
There are many Blue Ridge mountain cabin rentals, some with a view of the water, others with a mountain view. But if you stay at Blue Chase Lodge, you don’t have to choose. This handsome home overlooking Lake Blue Ridge offers you both water and mountain vistas, and they’re spectacular. Inside the lodge, wood construction, cheerfully painted walls, and rustic décor combine to create a comfortable, cozy mountain ambiance. The open floor plan and two large screened decks provide ample space to gather and relax, and the three bedrooms, each with rustic log furniture, sumptuous bedding, private bath, fabulous view, and 32” TV, provide a hotel-like experience.
Blue Chase Lodge is named for the owners’ dogs, Sebastian Blue and Chase, and you’re welcome to bring your canine best friends with you to explore the grounds and lie on the sunny deck like they do. Bring your hiking boots and fishing gear along, too, so you can take advantage of everything the area has to offer. With the beauty of the lake and mountains surrounding you, a stay at Blue Chase Lodge offers a unique opportunity to get away from it all and experience a carefree, blissful vacation with the ones you love.
Perched high on the hillside overlooking Blue Ridge’s natural beauty you won’t be “duckin’ out” on the views! This cabin provides you with unobstructed, long-range mountain views that can be viewed from all around the cabin. You, your friends and family, and your dog, of course, will love taking in the views on the wraparound deck.
With 3 bedrooms and a pull-out couch, this cabin is great for large families or big groups. The spacious kitchen is filled with plenty of cabinet and counter space that will give you plenty of room to cook for your guests and store all that delicious food you’ll be making. And if back to the great outdoors is where you want to be, then you can grill outside and eat at the outdoor table or bar; that way the fun never has to stop. And then fire up some s’mores at the firepit before bed.
Duckin’ Out is just minutes from the Aska Adventure Area so you’ll want to take advantage of all the hiking, fishing, and boating you can do! And of course, bring your dog along with you when you go! Everyone is in for a great time filled with outdoor fun when you stay at Duckin’ Out!
Located on the side of a mountain, Eagles Pride should be on your list of getaways. With 3 different porches to take in the view, your dog will love getting a chance to be outside but still stay close to you. Hang out on the porch all day where you’ll take in the views, grill out, relax in the hot tub, and cook s’mores by at the firepit all with your furry friend close by.
Inside, take advantage of the state-of-the-art kitchen, the fully stocked game room, the comfortable leather couches, and 3 bedrooms each with a loft. Also, enjoy being a short drive away from downtown Blue Ridge and the hiking trails of the Aska Adventure Area. The possibilities are endless for you and your pup, so enjoy all Eagles Pride has to offer!
Fawn Ridge is a stunning mountain retreat perfect for families of 4 or a double date getaway. And you can bring your dog along to join in the fun! You’ll feel completely relaxed and rejuvenated in this cozy home with a log cabin/lodge-style feel. You’ll watch a movie on the smart TV, curled up with your pup, in the living room while staying warm by the stone gas fireplace; and you can do it all with a view. All around the cabin is floor-to-ceiling windows to show-off the beautiful mountain views. Your dog will love sitting in front of the windows, watching nature in action.
For your entertainment enjoy a game room with a gas fireplace, smart TV, pool table, and board games of all kinds, or step out on the deck to enjoy a nice soak in the hot tub while watching the sunset behind the mountains. Grill out on the deck or cook in the beautiful and spacious kitchen. Then after dinner head off the deck and play a round of horseshoes with the group; see if your dog will try and chase the horseshoes when you throw them! And when your long day of exploring is done, head to bed on a king-sized mattress in either of the two bedrooms. You and your furry friend will love Fawn Ridge’s wonderful amenities and easy access to the best places in Blue Ridge.
As its name implies, Grand View will give you and your pup some of the best views you’ve ever seen, right from the comfort of your porch! This cabin will provide you with stunning long range mountain views and even overlooks the beautiful Mercier Orchards. The deck is full of many different seating options because we know where you and your furry friend will want to spend most of your time! Even enjoy a dip in the open-air hot tub to continue taking in the views while getting your ultimate relaxation time in.
Inside, you’ll be enchanted by the custom furniture and charming décor. The large wood-burning fireplace welcomes all humans and pets to cuddle close, while dinner is cooked in the beautiful, high-end kitchen. After dinner, journey to the loft where you’ll find all kinds of fun board games that will get the whole family involved. With 4 bedrooms, you can have up to 8 guests (and some dogs) with you to experience all the fun of Blue Ridge! Bring your friends and your pets, and come take in the view!
You won’t feel lonesome at all in the beautiful Lonesome Dove cabin, which sleeps up to 10 people and can hold your furry friends as well! It’s the perfect escape for large groups or big families! With a stunning garden and waterfall, you’ll be living like royalty while the dog enjoys taking out some of that crazy dog energy on the expansive lawn.
Inside you’ll be blown away by the western theme and unique interior design style. The open floor plan is great for entertaining. Mom can cook in the spacious kitchen with stainless steel appliances, while the kids set up the dining table for dinner, and friends relax in the living room, curled up next to the stone fireplace watching a movie on the flat screen tv. Your dog will love having everyone so close.
In the evening, relax with the whole group on the screened-in porch to watch the sun go down and watch the big game on the porch’s flat screen TV. And for dessert, s’mores at the firepit! After a long day, you’ll be happy to fall asleep in any of the 4 bedrooms which each have a king-size bed!
Lonesome Dove, is just a mile from the shops and restaurants of downtown and minutes from all kinds of outdoor adventures like hiking, horseback riding, rafting, and more. Not only will everyone in your group have a fantastic time at Lonesome Dove but your dog will too! They’ll completely love exploring the 5.5-acre property and having their favorite people so close!
Our dogs are such an important part of our lives and our families so understandably you’d love to bring them with you everywhere you go! After all, dogs are man’s best friend. At Escape to Blue Ridge, we’re happy to have you and your favorite furry friends stay with us! Together you can enjoy the great outdoors of the North Georgia Mountains!
Bringing your dog with you on your Blue Ridge mountain vacation can enrich a trip in so many ways. You’ll meet and talk to dog-loving strangers who otherwise would have passed right by you. You’ll travel to dog-friendly parks and other places that wouldn’t ordinarily be on your itinerary. You’ll have a built-in reason to go outside, exercise and have fun. Most meaningfully, you’ll have your best friend at your side. We are glad that you and your four legged pooch have decided to stay with us, and we thought we’d take this opportunity to share some of Blue Ridge’s favorite canine and people friendly spots.
Let’s Get Our 20,000 Steps In
Fido isn’t wearing a Fitbit, but he does have twice as many legs that welcome the fresh air and exercise that come as a vacation bonus here in the foothills of the Appalachians. The Chattahoochee National Forest is dog-friendly. When combined with the Oconee National Forest, the Chattahoochee National Forest spans nearly 867,000 acres across 26 counties and features thousands of miles of clear streams and rivers, 850 miles of recreation trails, picnic areas, and areas rich in natural scenery, history, and culture. Hikers bringing their dogs on the trails must keep them under verbal or physical restraint at all times—using a leash in crowded areas is highly encouraged.
If your dog loves to socialize with her canine counterparts, then a visit to the Humane Society of Blue Ridge Dog Park is a must. An off leash park there offers both Big dog and Small Dog areas. There are toys to play with or you are welcome to bring your furkids favorite fetch toy. Clean up bags are provided, but you need to do the heavy lifting and disposal into the litter cans. The park is open sun-up till sun-down, 7 days a week.
Shopping is GRRRRReat
Blue Ridge Cotton Company is a dog-friendly clothing store, located in downtown Blue Ridge. Inside the store, you’ll find an extensive pet section, including gifts, books, leashes in a variety of colors, treats, and more. There’s even more irresistible human stuff, too. Additionally, Blue Ridge Cotton Company donates one percent of every purchase to a number of animal charities in the local area.
If it’s a girls day out, then the two of you need to head over to Humble Pie Ladies Boutique. A pet-friendly ladies outfitter in Blue Ridge, the clothing they stock is Bohemian-style, unique, affordable and comfortable. Dogs are welcome to join you in the dressing room as you decide which flowing dress or headband best suits you.
Love Dogs and Cats Too is a pet-friendly store full of items for Fido and Fluffy. They stock everything from healthy treats and snazzy leashes to plush toys and comfy beds. Dogs are welcome inside to sniff out their birthday gift or drop some hints as to their favorite kind of toy to take home.
Drinking out of a bowl, frosted mug or goblet
Eventually you and your pet are going to get thirsty. Though your four legged friend isn’t old enough to legally indulge in liquid spirits, he/she will still love to socialize with you as you test out some of the finest in craft beers and wines produced in our region. Hanging out on the patio seating at Grumpy Old Men’s Brewing will actually put you all in a good mood. Fannin Brewing Company is another favorite for Fido travelers and the Ale beer connoisseur on the other end of the leash. Just up the road from downtown Blue Ridge is Bear Claw Vineyards & Winery, a boutique farm winery with vineyards where production of handcrafted wines are offered in the tasting room which also includes a dog friendly patio. Salud!
This Movie Rates 5 Bones
When was the last time you took your pooch to the movies? Here in Blue Ridge you can bring Chunky with you to catch Call of the Wild (or Lady and the Tramp if she’s into chick flicks) on the biggest screen she’s ever seen – at the Swan Drive-in Theater. Screening since 1955, this drive-in features 1st run blockbusters & an old-school snack bar with burgers. You’ll love the nostalgia, your pet will dig the burger bar outdoor patio and you’ll both enjoy the movie.
French Fries to Fine Dining
It’s vacation, and McDonalds isn’t going to do for either of you. It’s time to try new gourmet delights, something that didn’t come out of a can. Toccoa Riverside Restaurant, located in Blue Ridge, GA, is a casual eatery that serves up a variety of delicious American fare. Best known for their local trout dishes, it’s best not to mention to your pet that there is also catfish on the menu. Spot is welcome to join you at one of their pet-friendly outdoor tables while you enjoy your meal. (They even offer a special menu just for pups with options like hot dogs, burgers, chicken, rice, and more!) And there is live entertainment for your pet too, as they quack up watching the ducks waddling along the river bed.
You don’t have to be a Polish Greyhound to enjoy the patio dining at Margo’s Gourmet Polish Kitchen. Margo makes everything fresh daily, and Cuddles will appreciate that she refers to her famous steamed weiners as sausages, not hot dogs. If you are both preferring something more like a pizza than a pierogi, upstairs from Margo’s is where Blue Jeans Pizza is located. Rated #1 Blue Ridge Pizza on Trip Advisor, this Italian-American eatery also serves up menu options like appetizers, salads, burgers, pizza, strombolis, calzones, subs, pasta, wraps, and more. And your furry bambino is welcome to join you at their outdoor patio seating.
When the palate calls for something more upscale or a certain date night ambience, then be sure to sniff out these two places. Harvest on Main has comfortable seating on their patio under the porch for both you and your furkid. Don’t share the menu though. Cuddles will have you ordering the Smoked Duroc Bone-In Pork Chop served with Red Skinned Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Pork Collard Greens, topped with Mushroom Ragout. Guess who wants the bone?
And talk about the right canine atmosphere to indulge in culinary perfection, check out the 200 year old tree that Cuddles can rest under while you indulge in what’s been voted the best weekend brunch in Blue Ridge at The Black Sheep, just a short walk down Main Street.
Spring is in full bloom and this is an ideal time to come visit the North Georgia Mountains! Escape to Blue Ridge and enjoy a vibrant downtown, great restaurants, unique shops, rushing waterfalls, a sparkling blue lake, and mountain views that will take your breath away!
The Blue Coyote is known for their live music and entertainment. While you’re there you can enjoy their tasty bar food and a whole bunch of beer! They even have a dog-friendly patio! Stop by, check it out, and enjoy the music!
May 3 – Slickfoot Band Live May 4 – Southern Vantage Band May 10 – Apollo Band May 11 – Mind the Stepchildren May 17 – Shadow Ape Band May 18 – Topper/Voices of Rock May 24 – Breaking Point Band May 25 – Gregg Erwin May 31 – Rocket Band
Australian and on tour, Achison is a guitar master as well as a song writer. His music has been compared to the Allman Brothers Band, Eric Clapton and JJ Cale. He has a solid foundation in blues while also embracing varied musical styles.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn the art of watercolor painting, now’s the
time. This three-day retreat covers techniques like layering, blending,
accenting and various other aspects of watercolor painting. Crafters at all
levels from beginners to advanced are welcome.
You can’t get a better venue or greater acoustics than right on the
lake. With delicious food and jamming tunes, you’ll love the atmosphere and
entertainment at the Boat Dock Bar & Grill at the Lake Blue Ridge Marina.
May 3 – Shannon York and Rob Harper May 4 – Lindsay Beth Harper May 5 – Buck & Oz Return May 10 – Danny Rhea Live May 11 – Gopher Broke May 18 – David Welch Unplugged May 24 – Gopher Broke
On Friday meet all the biggies – Bigfoot, Avenger, Brutus, Gunslinger and more. Plus you get to meet the guys who drive these monster trucks and eat a bit of barbecue while you’re at it. On Saturday the trucks and their drivers are in full stomp mode. Choose either event or both.
Ellijay is apple country so no wonder an apple festival is a huge springtime
attraction! Artists, crafters, music, entertainment, and children’s activities
will all be there to kick off the spring season! Pet friendly and FREE
It’s a tradition at wineries to help grapes wake up in the spring – it takes more than a nudge, and alarm clocks are worthless with grapes. So, cuttings from cold weather prunings fuel the bonfire and grapevines are perked up by folks drinking wine and listening to live music. It’s a tradition. It’s necessary. And it’s fun!
This will be the 12th annual Taste of Blue Ridge, benefiting the Humane Society of Blue Ridge. More than 30 restaurants from around the Blue Ridge area will participate – plenty to eat, plus live and silent auctions and live music!
Being out your creative side at Mercier’s and create a beautiful painting of an apple tree. The cost is $40/per person and includes a tractor ride up to the pavilion overlooking the orchard, a lunch consisting of a variety of sandwiches, fruits, and desserts, all the art supplies you will need, and a skilled artist to help you! All skill levels are welcome!
Back in Blue Ridge, American Idol winner Kris Allen is ready to rock the mountains in a special live intimate acoustic show in a private cabin! Tickets are seriously limited, so get them as soon as you can!
Rule of thumb – do anything (whether it’s art, a demolition derby or a golf outing) whenever the first two words describing the event are “rusty trucks”. In this case, it’s an art event – so sign up soon and you’ll be painting your very own rusty truck before you know it. The cost is $25 and all art supplies are included plus instruction by Becca.
It’s the swinging 60’s and it was okay to call flight attendants “stewardesses”. Dating practices also were a tad different in those days, like three fiances! Life gets a little bumpy when his lies catch up to him and his friend Robert comes to stay!
Not your usual 5k or 10k – that’s for sure. This Adventure Race features a 24-hour race and an 8-hour race complete with secret locations and a variety of skill sets like trekking, biking, paddling, navigation and orienteering.
An Eggfest is a gathering of Big Green Egg fans and experienced cooks from
all across the country and Canada. The cooks will be showcasing their skills
and talents and will be preparing their specialty recipes all day long!
Travis Tritt and The Cadillac Three will be live in Hiawassee on May 18!
Grab your best boots and sing along to some of your favorite Country songs like
“It’s a great day to be alive”, “Here’s a quarter”,
“T.R.O.U.B.L.E” and “I’m gonna be somebody”!
The 44th Annual Spring Arts in the Park is a Southern tradition in these parts. Enjoy more than 200 arts, crafts and food booths, featuring the best in mountain crafts and fine arts, demonstrations, music and dancing!
Blairsville’s Downtown comes alive Memorial Day Weekend with talented artists, musicians, and food. The weekend begins with a concert at the Old Courthouse Friday evening, a Memorial Day parade at 10am on Saturday, an outdoor concert on the Square Saturday evening and of course the festival! FREE and family-friendly!
New Homes Added to Our Program
Do you dream of a private mountain getaway where you can leave the stresses of daily life behind and relax with family and friends in a magnificent setting? That dream can become a reality at Just Bluffing. This beautifully designed Blue Ridge cabin rental is a tri-level showplace situated on a bluff amid the trees, with a glorious view of the mountains from sunrise to sunset. Secluded and serene but just six miles from the shops and restaurants of downtown Blue Ridge and fun activities like apple picking at Mercier’s Orchard, it’s the perfect place for a well-deserved vacation.
Aska Adventure Lodge
The Aska Adventure Lodge is located in the sought after Aska Adventure area and is conveniently located less than five minutes from the quaint town of Blue Ridge, Georgia, the Toccoa River and Lake Blue Ridge. It is close to everything you’d want, but tucked away with all the privacy you’d expect from a mountain vacation retreat. Aska is the Cherokee Native American word for “winter retreat,” however, this cabin is perfect in every season. Hike right from the expansive wraparound porch, up the hill and connect with the Benton MacKaye Trail. Or, take advantage of the many popular area waterfalls and great tubing and canoeing activities.
In Case You Missed It
Dog Friendly Hikes
Hiking with your dog can be fun for both you and your furry friend. Not only does it provide a great source of exercise for you and your dog, but it’s also one of the best ways to have amazing adventures while creating memories that will last a lifetime. It’s a win-win for everyone! While we’d all love to be able to take our dogs with us on every trail we venture down, we can’t always do that. Sometimes the trails are too steep or the terrain is too rough for our four-legged friends to maneuver, or sometimes they simply aren’t allowed in that area because of other critters that may be dangerous for our dogs to encounter. To make things a little easier for you and your furry companion, here’s a list of a few trails around the Blue Ridge area that are sure to bring tons of fun for both and your favorite adventure buddy! Keep Reading.
Hiking with your dog can be fun for both you and your furry friend. Not only does it provide a great source of exercise for you and your dog, but it’s also one of the best ways to have amazing adventures while creating memories that will last a lifetime. It’s a win-win for everyone!
While we’d all love to be able to take our dogs with us on every trail we venture down, we can’t always do that. Sometimes the trails are too steep or the terrain is too rough for our four-legged friends to maneuver, or sometimes they simply aren’t allowed in that area because of other critters that may be dangerous for our dogs to encounter.
To make things a little easier for you and your furry companion, here’s a list of a few trails around the Blue Ridge area that are sure to bring tons of fun for both you and your favorite adventure buddy!
Duncan Ridge Trail
Easily accessible by both the Appalachian Trail and the Benton MacKaye Trail, the Duncan Ridge Trail is one of the more difficult trails in the Northeast Georgia Mountains, spanning a total of around 30.1 miles. While the trail is labeled as moderate to strenuous by most experienced hikers and backpackers out there (mainly because of the low usage and steep climbs), don’t let that discourage you from taking on this gorgeous trek back into the Chattahoochee National Forest! You don’t have to hike the whole 30.1 miles and for those with pups that aren’t too keen on making friends with other hikers/dogs, this trail will let you have the outdoor experience you always wanted without the anxiety of other dogs and hikers.
The Duncan Ridge Trail begins at Three Forks on the Appalachian Trail/Benton MacKaye Trail. Beginning at Three Forks, you’ll hop on the AT and walk the beautiful mile stretch out toward Long Creek Falls, following the soft sounds of the creek that runs alongside the trail. Hiking toward the falls, the Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT) and the Duncan Ridge Trail veer off to the right less than 0.1 miles after the short path down to the falls begins. There will be markers present that identifies which trail is the BMT and which is the Duncan Ridge Trail but just in case, follow the blue vertical blazes (marks on the trees) for the Duncan Ridge and the white diamond blazes for the BMT.
From there, hikers will follow the trail through a tunnel of laurels and rhododendrons during the spring and summer months deep into the Chattahoochee National Forest before reaching the swinging bridge over the Toccoa River. Hikers can choose to push on and make the climb up Tooni Mountain, or call it a day a hike back toward Three Forks. Regardless of what you decide, just remember to have fun and hike your own hike!
Appalachian Approach Trail
Roughly 75 percent of Appalachian Trail hikers, thru-hikers and sectioners alike, decide to take the Appalachian Approach Trail to begin the trail while the other 25 percent simply take off at the base of Springer Mountain as they start the 2,192 mile (or less) journey. But for those who want to join the majority, the 8-mile trail starts off from Amicalola Falls State Park, beginning the 78-mile Georgia portion of this famous hiking trail to Maine. Not planning on walking to Maine? Then just hop on the Appalachian Approach Trail with your favorite furry pal and enjoy one of the best day hikes in the North Georgia Mountains.
Just above the top of Amicalola Falls (you can hike up the falls or just enjoy the view from the parking lot at the top), the trailhead begins. For the first ⅓ mile, the trail will coincide with the Len Foote Hike Inn. When the trail forks, follow the blue blazes, veer left, and head toward Springer Mountain.
Soon enough the trail will leave Amicalola State Park, climbing its way through the Chattahoochee National Forest and onward toward the Appalachian Trail. Though not strenuous, this trail is rated at moderate, so this might prove a challenge for some at certain parts of the trail. Elevation gain is steady over the eight miles, climbing gradually through the thick Chattahoochee Forest. During the spring and summer months, the trail beams with lush greenery and vibrant native wildflowers. In the fall, the trail is a technicolor of bright orange, yellow, and red. Regardless of the time of year, the trail promises spectacular scenery.
While much of the eight-mile stretch is shaded and covered with thicket, the last 1.5 miles will provide close to 500-ft elevation gain and thinning treeline as you make the final climb up Springer. And once you get to the summit, the blue blazes will fade to white, marking the Southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail and a gorgeous view of the rolling mountains and valleys of the Blue Ridge.
Stanley Gap Trail
If you’re looking for the typical North Georgia hiking experience for you and your furry friend, look no further than the Stanley Gap Trail. Full of bright red Georgia clay and plenty of white mountain granite and large roots, you’re in for an adventurous afternoon out in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Now, be forewarned, this trail doesn’t offer up any waterfalls or stunning summit views, but it’s great for those who just want to get out and enjoy the beauty of the North Georgia Mountains. Plus, you’ll have plenty of protection from the sun on hot, humid days.
Coming in at just under 5 miles — around 4.8 mi — the Stanley Gap Trail is rated at moderated, but those used to hiking easier trails shouldn’t find this one too difficult either. It’s fairly forgiving, with breaks in the upward climb every 50- 100 ft along the way. The main thing hikers should watch out for are large upturned roots and rocks that can be a bit tricky to manage if you’re not careful. But as long as you are being mindful of them, the hike shouldn’t pose any problems whatsoever.
The highest point on the trail comes around Rocky Mountain, just below the summit, near the trail’s halfway point. After reaching that point, you’ll have to scamper up one last incline before winding back down for 1,000 ft descent toward Deep Gap. If you’re not wanting to hike all the way back to the trailhead, you can always make arrangements ahead of time for someone to pick you up at the Deep Gap parking lot or even catch a ride with a trail system shuttle driver back to you (and your dog!) back to your car.
Where are your favorite places to hike with your favorite 4-legged family member? Be sure to share your pictures of your journeys with us on Facebook or Instagram. We’d love to see where your Escape to Blue Ridge takes you!