Hiking the Cooper’s Furnace To The Laurel Ridge Trail

Marwa Grimes

Begin the trek at Coopers Furnace to an old logging road. This is an old railroad bed where wood were transported. Move forward until you will find a ridge where the path leads back to Cooper’s Furnace. A quick trivia about the place’s name, this area was where Anthony Copper’s engine named the Yonah prevented the Raiders from accessing the Western and Atlantic Bridge on the Etowah River which was one major target during the Atlanta Campaign. This was a foundry that was built by Jacob Stroup in the 1830’s before Mark Cooper purchased it. Later on, Cooper sold this property and built the Etowah Railroad that passed the furnace at Cooper Iron Works.

The Yonah also transported William Fuller to the Kingston railroad yard. The battle area is right around Allatoona Mountains where Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston led his men at the top of the hills surrounding the furnace as Union General Jacob Cox advanced towards the furnace on the railroad yard. The Confederates then retreated to the southern end of Etowah River where the Union Army destroyed the surrounding city of Etowah. All that was left after the destruction were the furnace, a chimney, and a railroad cut on the Western and Atlantic Railroad.

The trailhead is found at the gate right after the iron furnace. It starts here where you will ascent to a small creek. The path then begins to loop at beaver dam where it formed a lake that was fortified by the Army Corps of Engineers. The ecosystem is abundant with wildlife where you can also see some birdhouses that served as shelter for several bird species.

The trail follows an old railbed that winds up at a single switchback to a cove facing south. Then swerve right at approximately.4 mile and start to make an ascent to the Allatoona Lake Vistors Center where it approaches a pathway towards a parking lot. The Visitors Center offers a display of Cooper’s Furnace history during the Civil War. Take the Lake Allatoona overview near the Center and indulge in the spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains’ southern section.

From here, take a right turn to a narrow path that proceeds to Laurel Ridge Trail. Closely follow the trail to the right until you will emerge to the most scenic view at the cove. There are some heavy stones along some portions of the trail which are Civil War remnants of the railway that was existent before. At this point, the footpath approaches a high ridge. After this, the trail loops back to the old logging road at beaver lake.

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