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Appalachian Trail: Amicalola Falls to Springer Mountain


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Distance: 8.1 miles

It's not the officially the AT but this 8.8-mile hike climbs past Amicalola Falls to Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail.
  • Amicalola Falls State Park Shelter

Shelters: Black Gap Shelter: sleeps 8; no privy.

Start: From Amicalola, GA take GA 52 E for .1 mi. to High Shoals Rd. Go. .3 mi. to trailhead.

End: From Dahlonega, GA take US 19 S to GA 52 W. In 8.7 mi., turn right on Nimblewill Church Rd and go 2.3 mi. Turn right on NF 28-1. In 2.2 mi., continue straight on Winding Stair Gap Rd. In 5 mi., turn left on NF-42. Go 2.4 miles and park.

Trail Reviews & Comments


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Mark Linker
Apr 29, 2013

Springer Mtn Trip Plan/Report Springer Mtn, GA
- -

1 night overnight Backpacking Trip Report / Plan Jan 18-20, 2013 -

by BSA Venture Crew 173, Guntersville, AL (includes suggested improvements to plan)
The days are very short in January; Doing this trip later in the spring or in the fall would ad another hour or two or more of daylight to use & allow more relaxed pace to do everything in the plan.

Amicolola Falls State Park (GA), Dawsonville, GA 30534 ph: 706-265-8888 Camping & Shelters Reservations (800) 864-7275 - Park (706) 265-4703 GPS Coordinates: N 34.5547660 | W -84.2600160 @ bottom, click on " View Close-Up Map" for PDF MAP of park + trails

A.T. Southern Terminus Appraoch Trail

Appalachian Trail southern terminus

Len Foote Hike Inn (5 mi from Amicalola Falls St Pk, accessible by hiking trail only)

Fort Mtn State Park

@ bottom, click on "View Close-Up Map" for PDF MAP of park + trails
Departure: 3:30 pm Friday afternoon - Return: 7:00 pm Sunday night

Trail Distance: 7.8 mi from St Pk to Springer Mtn / start of A.T. + 2 mi side Trip to Hike Inn

Distance hiked in 2 days: 17.6 miles. Moderately strenuous IF PROPERLY CONDITIONED.

(Note: loop trails in St Pk can add milage for BSA Backpacking MB requirements, but shedule is very tight as is unless backpackers already conditioned for hiking 2 mph up & down mtns.)

LV Scout Hut 3:30pm FRIDAY: allow 4 hr drive time + 30 min for supper to go or bring bag.
Route: US72N to S.Pittsburg,TN, I-24E to I-75S, I-75S to US76 at Dalton, 76E to Chatworth,GA, St Rd 52E to Amicolola Falls St Pk. Check-in at park Lodge. Drive time: 4 hrs with a brief rest stop & brief drive-thru supper.
Arrive 8 pmCST/ 9pm EST All campsites are RV sites, cost: $25 ea w/ limit of 2 tents /site (no primitive tent only sites).


NB: ADHERE STRICTLY TO DEPARTURE TIMES OR YOU WILL NOT REACH SPRINGER Jan Sunrise at 7:20am EST; WAKE-UP @ 7:00 boil water, eat breakfast, dress for hike, strike camp; TARGET DEPARTURE AT 8:30 AM ESTor may not be enuff time to make Springer Mtn Sat Breakfast shoud be boil H2O only (coffee, oatmeal, breakfast-in-a-baggie) to depart asap. Lv campsite, drive to AMICALOLA FALLS; view falls from top; drive to parking lot across from Lodge to Lv vehicles overnight. Don't waste time @ lodge or not enuff time to get to top of Springer before sunset. Due to novice backpackers, it took us 7 hrs to arrive at shelter 6.8 mi from lodge first day (1 mph) yet did return trip Sunday in only 4 hrs.

Idea: encourage hikers to hike 8 mi w/pack once or twice during week prior to departure to condition hikers to a first day speed of faster than 1 mph. The Slow pace of non-conditioned hikers will take too much time, making it impossible to get to top of Springer before dark. (or don't go in Jan, when days are the shortest)

MANDITORY FULL-PACK SHAKEDOWN MEETING several days BEFORE DEPARTURE IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL FOR ROOKIES. MUST HAVE ALL GEAR, CLOTHES,FOOD AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW BY LEADERS. Failure to observe this required us to re-distribute nearly ALL gear from a newb to others & re-pack very early Sat.

Take "Appalachain Approach Trail" one-tenth mi N of Lodge (BLUE blazes): 6.6 mi to shelter (up&down 3x) (due to a late am departure & 7 hrs hike time, we arrived at shelter just before dark; no time for 1 mi hike to Springer Mtn; Advisor went to recon, & all tent sites were taken. IMPORTANT!!! NB: MAKE CAMP AT SHELTER (Springer Mtn sites will be full), set-up tents, etc. Jan SUNSET at 5:20pm EST; must arrive shelter by 3:30 to set-up camp & take 1 mi hike to Springr Mtn; see sunset from there, Lv for return to camp @ shelter immediately after sunset from top of Springer to arrive before total darkness (avoid hiking after dark when possible.) WATER AVAILABLE at shelter; IMPORTANT: BE SURE to filter, re-fill all canteens SAT NIGHT; do not waste time pumping & filtering & filling H2O bottles Sun am in order to depart asap after sunrise for free breakfast at Hike Inn, requiring 2-mi side trip.
Jan Sunrise at 7:20am EST; WAKE-UP @ 7:00 am, SKIP BREAKFAST, dress for hike, strike camp; TARGET DEPARTURE BY 7:30 AM EST - eat breakfast at HIKE INN, (GREEN blazed Trail about 1.5 mi from shelter. HIKE INN offers FREE Continental breakfast incl COFFEE to hikers! Trail to Hike Inn is 1 mi one-way (2 mi round side trip) detour from return to Amicalola St Pk.

* Target Arrival Hike Inn by 9:30 am EST for FREE Continental Breakfast + COFFEE Allow *1.5 hr at Hike Inn to eat, site-see;

Depart Hike Inn by 11 am for return to vehicle . Allow *3 hrs for return 5 mi hike from Hike Inn to Amicalola St Pk (mostly down hill). Return to vehicles by 1:30/ 2 pm EST
GO BACK TO CAMPSITE BATH HOUSE at Amicalola Falls St Pk to SHOWER. (Lodge said OK; no time to use Fri night; folks leaving already gone; folks arriving not there yet. (Lv fresh travel clothes incl shoes in vehicles for odor-free 4 hr return ride home + dinner out)

Depart Bath House by 3:00 pm;

@ Lillijay, take GA St Rd 52 W (GA SCENIC BYWAY) to FORT MTN STATE PARK. Beautiful vistas along spine of mtn on way to Chatsworth, GA.

Option if time allows: enter Ft Mtn St Pk, tour Lodge, eat supper there @ lodge ($)

@ Chatsworth, take US 76W back to Dalton & I-75N to Chattanooga, I-24W to S Pittsburg.

RETURN GUNTERSVILLE SCOUT HUT by 7pm CST Sun night (Gain 1 hr on return to CST.)

Star Star Star Star Star
Dec 04, 2012

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