About the Appalachian Trail in Georgia
Underrated. That’s my one-word description for the AT through the peach state. If you’re heading northbound from Springer Mountain and getting used to hiking with a full load, you may be in tune with your calf muscles more than the scenery, but the area put enough of a hook in me on my section hike to add it to my “must return” list.
As topography goes, Georgia has enough ups, downs, and viewpoints to get you used to mountain trail hiking, which is a good thing, because you’ll really need to be in shape when you get to the Smoky Mountains!
*Based on 2006-2011 data compiled by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Selected Highlights on the AT in Georgia
The southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail is wooded and doesn’t offer much in the way of views. Nonetheless, it’s an exhilarating feeling to be there. You’re likely thinking, “Wow, I can’t believe I’m here” either because you are beginning a 2,000-plus mile journey or that you’ve finally made it here after getting it done (as shown here, with my hiking buddy, Wayne. Either way, congratulations!
Just 1.25 miles from Woody Gap and sure worth the climb! On the day I visited the viewpoint with my hiking buddy, a few locals showed up to take in the panorama. It’s terrific whatever the season.
While kicking back on the summit, a couple of college students scrambled up from Woody Gap to take in the view. After about 20 minutes, one turned to me and said, “Well, time to get back to reality” (referring to getting back to the grind).
“What do you mean?”, I asked. “THIS is reality.”
He paused for a second, looked back at me and said, “Man, you just blew my mind.”
Food for thought anyway.
At 4459′, it’s the highest point on the AT in Georgia. If you climbed southbound out of Neel’s Gap to get there, you had to work a little harder for it than the north bounders, but as I always say, the view always seems commensurate to the work it took to earn it! The most photographed viewpoint is the one I am standing at in this photo, just north of the summit. There’s also a great view from atop the giant boulder behind the summit shelter.
Best Section Hike on the AT in Georgia
Dicks Creek Gap to Amicalola State Park (N to S) - 75.6 miles
This is one great hike. Dicks Creek Gap (8.9 miles south of the GA/NC border) is the northern access point for this trip. At the southern end, you’ll hike to the summit of Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the AT.
Note: I included the 8.8-mile hike out to Amicalola State Park as part of the above trip. You can shave that mileage off by parking .9 mile north of the summit of Springer Mountain in the trailhead lot, then doing the nearly 2-mile “up and back” to Springer’s summit. That makes the alternate trip total just shy of 68 miles.
Get Ready to Hike the AT
Interested in hiking the AT? You may find Appalachian Odyssey a useful resource. I section-hiked the AT over nearly three decades with a good friend and we learned a lot! Includes profile maps of all 28 section hikes, 80+ color photos and a great feel for what it’s like to hike the various sections.
Interested in the history of the AT? How the trail came into being is the subject of my book, Blazing Ahead.