Hike to Springer Mountain

Georgia Amicalola Falls Lodge

Added by Matthew Ady

Follow the footsteps of hikers beginning their 2200 mile journey along the Appalachian Trail to Mount Katadin, Maine.

Begin your journey from Amicalola Falls State Park. Despite the steep climb, you should park at the base of the falls and climb the steps for a great view of one of the grandest falls in the South. (For more on that hike, see: "Climb the Stairs to Amicalola Falls"). From the top of the falls, follow signs to the Appalachian Approach Trail.

The trail is clearly marked by blue blazes on rocks and trees until you reach Springer Mountain. The trail rolls with a gentle increase in elevation over the first 6 miles. The last 2 miles of the trail have a decidedly unyielding upward climb, but the incline is also gentle enough for an intermediate hiker to surmount. The Appalachian Approach Trail terminates at the summit of Springer Mountain (3780'), where the famous white blazes of the Appalachian Trail begin.

On the return, you have two options. First, you can take the exact route from which you came. However, it is recommended that you go left at the 12-mile split for the Lenn Foot Hike Inn to check out the hikers-only hotel in the woods and grab a great view of Atlanta, about 70 miles to the south. From the Hike Inn, follow the signs and green blazes back to Amicalola Falls. The vista of Atlanta is on the left side of the trail.

In total, the hike with the detour to the Hike Inn clocks just under 19 miles, roundtrip. If you're just looking to make it to Springer Mountain, the out-and-back comes to just under 17 miles.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Hiking shoes or boots: Depending on pack size and steadiness on your feet
  • Backpack: Size depending on whether you intend to camp overnight at Springer Mountain or the Hike Inn
  • Lots of water: The trail is devoid of water sources for the most part and during the summer it can be very hot. You should consider bringing 3-4 L of water, depending on their personal intake
  • Sunscreen: The trail is mostly under canopy, but you will be out there for a while, regardless
  • Lunch and snacks (e.g., a sandwich and nutrition bars)
  • Optional: Hiking poles, hat, sunglasses
  • For hikers staying overnight: Sleeping bag, additional food and water, camp stove and fuel (if intending to cook), tent, flashlight, and fire starter (check local fire bans)
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Activities:

Backpacking, Camping, Fitness, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Advanced

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Loop

Distance:

19 Miles

Elev. Gain:

4346 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Forest
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers

Are we missing something?

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How to Get There

5 months ago

View Is 'meh'

View is 'meh', but it is kind of cool to see where the Appalachian trail starts. Took me approx 1 hour to get to the top from the parking lot. Warning: getting to and from the parking lot can be difficult due to the crazy roads! Service isn't feat at the top, so when I was leaving my Google maps went haywire and I got lost for over 2 hours trying to leave. That in itself wasn't the worst though. Some of the roads around there are terrible for vehicles not designed for off-roading like my poor Honda Civic. Don't rely solely on your GPS if you have AT&T. Be aware of how you came in and follow that exact route on the way out! Overall, I would just go visit if you're itching to see where the AT starts.

5 months ago

9 months ago

First Solo Backpacking Trip

About two years ago during spring, I set out to backpack the trail to Amicalola Falls, to the top, then all the way to Springer Mountain, and possibly further. I had 2-3 days to explore and inhale some good nature. I couldn't find anyone who wanted to go with me during the time I planned the adventure, so I went by myself. This was one of the first long hikes (5 miles+) I've been on. It was incredibly rough since I was new to a lot of it but it is one of my most memorable experiences. I enjoyed the quietness of the wooded trails and the challenge of occasional steep climbs. But my favorite was reaching the Springer Mountain summit as the sun was setting, feeling rewarded with beauty for treading so fiercely for hours alone. But I didn't end that evening alone. I got to the shelter and found a handful of others setting up camp for the night. After some time, more backpackers kept arriving. It was a kick-off weekend for those backpacking the Appalachian Trail. I got to sit around a huge fire with fellow lovers of the outdoors and talk about the journey ahead. Even though I wasn't actually backpacking the AT, they gladly included me... Even tried to persuade me to drop my plans for the next months and join them. I couldn't, because I was unprepared. But maybe soon. One day. Anyhow, for an experience like mine, of solitude and connection with nature but also connecting with new, adventurous friends, try hiking this trail during spring around March-April!

9 months ago

Added by Matthew Ady

Atlanta-based and outdoor-inspired adventurer, traveler, runner, photographer, and Emory University law student.

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