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AT Approach Trail

 3.8 (5)
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7.5 Miles 12.1 Kilometers

2,083' 635 m


-870' -265 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (16°)

3,766' 1,148 m


2,552' 778 m


Shared By Dan Timko


Minor Issues 28 days ago
Muddy, Fallen Trees History

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The unofficial southern start to the Appalachian Trail beginning at Amicalola Falls State Park.

Dan Timko

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Waterfall


The Approach Trail connects Amicalola Falls State Park to the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mountain. For many, this is where their journey to Maine begins.

The trail departs from the trailhead located just above the crest of the falls, at the same trailhead for the Len Foote Hike Inn Trail, which forks right after roughly a third of a mile on a green-blazed trail. The Approach Trail forks left and is marked with blue blazes from the start until it meets Springer, where it turns to the white blazes of the AT.

The trail soon exits the Amicalola State Park boundary and enters the Chattahoochee National Forest. The trail gains elevation steadily over its entire length, with constant climbs and descents throughout. Most of the route is through thick forest, with gorgeous views popping up through clearings along the way.

At about 4.25 miles, the Len Foote Hike Inn Trail intersects back with the Approach Trail. The Len Foote Hike Inn is roughly 1 mile down this trail off of the Approach Trail.

At 4.9 miles, the trail crosses Nimblewill Gap and a gravel road. There is a small plaque here commemorating the crash of a small plane in 1968.

After Nimblewill, you climb for a few hundred feet to Black Mountain. You'll then descend into Black Gap. Here, you'll find an AT shelter and another path to a seasonally available water source. This is the only shelter on the Approach Trail, although there are numerous campsites.

The final section of this trail is roughly 1.5 miles and climbs close to 500 ft in elevation. At the summit, you'll find some fantastic views as well as two plaques recognizing the official start to the Appalachian Trail.


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Your Check-Ins


Dec 22, 2018
Jim D
Hiked from the overnight parking area at Amaicalola Falls State Park to the summit of Springer Mountain on Saturday. Return hiked on Sunday. 18.5mi — 4h 30m
Oct 14, 2018
Michael Smith
Jun 23, 2018
Sam Park
did this along with the Len Foote in loop 17mi
May 23, 2018
Mary shirani George
finished 7.5mi
Aug 11, 2017
Isaac Lee
8-11-17 approach trial by myself.
Aug 19, 2016
John Reynolds
Did entire approach trail then back to Amecalola Falls 8.5mi
Apr 25, 2016
Jonathan Weber
Screw then steps
Jun 1, 2015
Timothy Baker
Nate Cost & Me 7.5mi — 2h 00m

Trail Ratings

  3.8 from 5 votes


  3.8 from 5 votes
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