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Appalachian Trail in Georgia
to Hightower Gap
This 8.3 mile section of the Appalachian Trail is where it all starts for north bound thru hikers. The 3782 foot summit of Springer Mountain is the southern terminus for the AT. For south bound thru hikers, this is the end of your long journey.
To reach the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail on the 3782 foot summit of Springer Mountain, you have three options. The first and most popular is to begin at the visitor center at Amicalola Falls State Park and take the 8.8 mile Approach Trail to Springer Mountain. This trail is steep at times and climbs almost the whole way with an elevation gain of over 2000 feet.
Another option is to take USFS 28 to Nimblewill Gap and then take the Approach Trail another 2.8 miles to the summit of Springer Mountain. This option requires driving on some rough and at times, muddy forest service roads. For those hikers taking the Approach Trail, there is a shelter located 1.5 miles from Springer Mountain. The Black Gap Shelter was formally the Springer Mountain Shelter that was built in 1953, then dismantled and moved to the new location, 1.5 miles from Springer Mountain, in 1995. The shelter sleeps eight and there is a privy nearby.
The quickest and easiest way to get to the southern terminus at Springer Mountain is to take USFS 42 to the crossing of the Appalachian Trail about one mile north of the summit. This will mean retracing your steps, however it will save you many miles compared to hiking the Approach Trail. USFS 42 is a well graded gravel road that is suitable for all vehicles. Many north bound thru hikers begin their journey from Springer between Mid March and early April. You should plan to expect snow, either still on the ground or possible snow storms in the higher elevations. Find some information and a couple of maps of this section of the AT below.
This section of the Appalachian Trail begins at the 3782 foot summit of Springer Mountain. You'll find a plaque at the summit as well as the first white blaze on the rock for those heading north on the AT. At 0.2 miles reach a blue blazed side trail on your right that leads 600 feet to the Springer Mountain Shelter. This shelter was built in 1993 and sleeps twelve. There is a privy nearby and tentpads in this heavily used area.
At 1.0 miles cross USFS 42. There is a large parking area for about forty cars located at this popular trail crossing. The GPS coordinates are N34 38.266 W84 11.699 for those who have a GPS device in their vehicle. At 2.8 miles reach the Stover Creek Shelter. This shelter is an alternative to the crowded Springer Mountain Shelter. The shelter was originally moved here in 1984 with a newer shelter built in 2006. This large shelter sleeps 16 with tentpads and a privy nearby. At 3.8 miles cross Stover Creek. At 4.3 miles reach and cross USFS Road 58 at an area called Three Forks. There are a few campsites nearby and parking available for about six cars. The GPS coordinates are N34 39.811 W84 11.037 for those with a GPS devise in their vehicle.
At 5.1 miles there is a side trail on the left that leads a short distance to Long Creek Falls. At 6.0 miles cross an old logging road. At 7.8 miles reach a blue blazed side trail on the left that leads 0.2 miles to the Hawk Mountain Shelter. This shelter was built in 1993 and sleeps 12. There is a privy located nearby. Army Rangers from nearby Camp Frank D Merrill use this area for training and can be spotted at all times of the day or night. At 8.3 miles reach USFS Road 42/69 and the end of this section. There is parking available for about four cars at this trail crossing. The GPS coordinates are N34 39.815 W84 07.787 for those who have a GPS devise in their vehicle.
If your planning a thru hike of the AT you should check out the following books to help plan your hike, Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers' Companion (2017) and Appalachian Trail Data Book (2017). We also suggest checking out Appalachian Trail Guide to North Carolina-Georgia and Appalachian Trail, Springer Mountain to Davenport Gap (National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map) to help plan your Appalachian Trail adventure.
Start of the Appalachian Trail Approach Trail
Plaque & blaze with hiking boots on Springer Mountain
View from Springer Mountain
Long Creek Falls
Hawk Mountain Shelter
Appalachian Trail Hiking Guide - Georgia
Hiking guide with descriptions and maps for the 78.5 miles the Appalachian Trail travels in Georgia. The guide is broken down by five sections of the AT. The book comes to you delivered as a pdf file via email. Use the buy now button and we will send you the file via email usually within 24 hours of receiving payment.
Appalachian Trail in Georgia
Springer Mountain to Hightower Gap
Hiking guide with descriptions and maps for just this section of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. The guide comes to you delivered as a pdf file via email. Use the buy now button and we will send you the file via email usually within 24 hours of receiving payment. Happy Hiking!
Appalachian Trail GPS Tracks $1.97
Get the complete GPS Tracks for the AT in Georgia for ONLY $1.97! This .gpx file includes waypoints for all trail shelters along the trail in Georgia and many of the official AT parking areas. Use the BUY NOW button below and we'll send you the file via e-mail! Happy Hiking!
NOTE: Some trail relocation may have occurred, which may not be reflected with our GPS Tracks. The tracks are very close to the current trail.
We recommend purchasing any of the following books for those looking for more information on hiking the Appalachian Trail in Georgia:Appalachian Trail Guide to North Carolina-Georgia
Exploring the Appalachian Trail: Georgia North Carolina Tennessee
How to Hike the A.T.: The Nitty-Gritty Details of a Long-Distance Trek
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