SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – January 2011

Rip & Go: Approach Trail Loop, Chattahoochee National Forest, GA

Relax in a hiker-friendly lodge at the Appalachian Trail's southern tip.

by: Marcus Woolf

Amicalola Falls, GA. (Pat & Chuck Blackley)
Amicalola Falls, GA. (Pat & Chuck Blackley)

TAKE IT WITH YOU
Download a printable version of this entire trip right here.

DO IT

Whether you want to hike all of the AT or just sample the best, this 16.2-miler--alternating between flame azaleas set among deep-green mountain laurel and airy ridgelines—is the place to start. Begin just above 729-foot Amicalola Falls (1) and bear right at the Y junction (2) onto the Hike Inn Trail. Climb through dogwoods, sourwood, and oaks while looking for wildflowers, including dwarf iris and trillium, as you approach the Len Foote Hike Inn (3)at mile 4.7. If you stay overnight, allow plenty of time to lounge on the terrace overlooking Blue Ridge vistas. Continue on the Hike Inn Trail and follow the Ridge Trail left (4). Bear right onto the Appalachian Approach Trail (5) and head toward Springer Mountain. Here, the going gets so rough, so fast, that many would-be thru-hikers question if they can make the trip to Katahdin. Leaving Frosty Mountain (3,382 feet), start the steep, rocky descent to Nimblewill Gap (6). Cross Forest Service roads 46 and 28, and immediately climb to a small clearing with a fire ring. The trail eases up, dropping to Black Gap Shelter at mile 7.5; find water here. Next, summit Springer Mountain (3,782 feet) and enjoy the views from an outcrop surrounded by a stand of short, twisted white oaks (7). For AT trekkers, this is the first official stop. “I like to pause and talk with excited thru-hikers to hear their stories of starting the trail for the first time or 10th,” says Kelly Stewart (next page). Overnight at Springer Mountain Shelter (with reliable water). To continue, backtrack across Nimblewill Gap and rejoin the Approach Trail. Go right and crest Frosty Mountain for a series of heart-pounding climbs over knobs with westerly views matched by steep descents into poplar-shaded hollows. Pass the first of three possible campsite areas with fire rings (8) and then descend from the ridge to cross Little Amicalola Creek. At the trail junction (9), continue straight and close the loop at the Amicalola State Park visitor center (10).


ice age trail
Trip Planner
Get there
From the Amicalola State Park visitor center (a mile north off of GA 52 E), drive 1.1 miles to trailhead.

Gear up
North Georgia Mountain Outfitters, 583 Highland Crossing, East Ellijay, GA. (706) 698-4453; hikenorthgeorgia.com
Permit $3 parking fee

Map Appalachian Trail Conservancy North Carolina/Georgia Guide ($28; atctrailstore.org)

Contact Chattahoochee National Forest, (404) 536-0541; fs.fed.us/conf

Trip data backpacker.com/hikes/384038





Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Dave
Feb 03, 2011

Wow, I just did that trail 2 months ago, nice. when I saw the photo, I knew exactly where it was taken, I have the same picture, just with less color and some ice. Very nice trip.

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Trailhead Register
Stop me if you've heard this...
Posted On: Jul 25, 2014
Submitted By: desert dweller
Gear
Do you use a PLB?
Posted On: Jul 25, 2014
Submitted By: High_Sierra_Fan
Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions