• Activities:

    Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    2.2 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    644 Feet

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Scenic

Take a short hike on the Appalachian Trail (AT) to Preacher’s Rock for arguably the best mountain view in Georgia. The view from Preacher’s Rock is an expansive one, facing Cowrock Mountain and Yonah Mountain to the East, and Columbia Ridge and Meadow Gap to the South.

The hike to Preacher’s Rock along the AT starts at the Woody Gap trailhead.  There is usually enough parking, but I would still recommend either getting there early in the morning or later in the evening.  From the trailhead, you will follow the white blazes of the AT heading Northwest, through the Rhododendron and Hemlock forest.  The trail begins relatively flat, with only a gentle climb.  There are a couple backcountry campsites scattered along this section of trail closest to the trailhead.

After about 0.7 miles, the trail gets markedly steeper.  A series of switchbacks will climb over 400 feet in about 0.4 miles.  Since this climb is fairly short and not sustained over a significant period of time, I would not consider it particularly strenuous.  However, it is definitely enough of a workout to make you break a sweat.

Just after you complete your first mile, you will see that the trail begins to flatten out again, before it opens up to Preacher’s Rock at 3,510 feet of altitude.  Preacher’s Rock is a spectacular rock feature that boasts a wide open view.  The rock slopes down the mountain for about 100 feet, giving you great visibility above the tree-line.  If you are dedicated enough to either camp at one of the campsites near the top or to come early enough, catching a sunrise here rivals any spot in Georgia. 

After you are done soaking in the magnificent Appalachian view, an easy return hike will find you back at the parking lot in no more than 30 minutes.  With a good amount of down-time at the top, you could be finished with this trail in an hour and a half.  If this is not enough for you, you can extend the hike significantly by heading towards Blood Mountain, or you can check out other short hikes in the area, such as the Hike to Desoto Falls.

Pack List

* Hiking Boots

* Water

* Camera

* Small day pack

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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Christian Murillo Explorer

My love for natural landscape photography is what first got me outside. Now, I can hardly stay indoors. My sense of adventure has led me to travel all over the US (mostly in the SE), and also drove me to complete a +42,000 mile trip around the world.

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