Kelly Ridge

Kelly Ridge

Approximate size: 15,273 acres
Old-growth known: 662 acres

Kelly Ridge has everything people love about the mountains. This area offers visitors grand vistas, wildflower coves, dramatic boulderfields, delightful cascades, game species, and clean trout streams in abundance. No spot epitomizes this more than Ramp Cove. The unmaintained (but well-worn) trail takes visitors up around a cascade and into one of the richest wildflower coves in Georgia. The cove is also famous for the grove of giant buckeyes that were passed over by early loggers and the fields of its namesake, wild leeks.

Due to the generally nutrient-rich geology that underlies the area, similar rich coves and impressive wildflower displays occur throughout the area. Those soils and lack of recent\ logging have allowed several species of trees to reach record dimensions. They also allow many rare species to thrive in the area, including showy ones such as three-birds orchid. Other rare species cling to the cold climate found on the north side of 4,280-foot Double Springs Knob.

The lower elevations and streams are popular hunting and fishing destinations. 5.3 miles of Appalachian Trail provide access to the higher elevations. This section of trail weaves in and out of the old-growth white oak stands that dot the area’s high ridges. These intact forests provide clean water for the Moccasin Creek Fish Hatchery. This Mountain Treasure is also important to wildlife and plants beyond its boundaries as an essential link in the migration corridor connecting the Georgia Blue Ridge to the mountains of North Carolina.

Much of Kelly Ridge has partial protection as an Inventoried Roadless Area, but some of the lower elevations extend beyond the roadless boundary.

Help us protect this 16,000-acre oasis of waterfalls, old-growth, rare species, panoramic views, and world-class trails.


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