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AT Approach Trail

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.3 (12)

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


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Map Key

7.5

Miles

12.1

KM

Point to Point

3,766' 1,148 m

High

2,552' 778 m

Low

2,083' 635 m

Up

870' 265 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

28%

Max Grade (16°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Waterfall

Description

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

Dan Timko

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 12 votes

#5476

Overall
  4.3 from 12 votes
5 Star
42%
4 Star
42%
3 Star
17%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#80

in Georgia

#5,476

Overall
126 Views Last Month
3,257 Since Jul 17, 2017
Intermediate/Difficult

7%
0%
47%
13%
33%
0%

Photos

Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
Jun 22, 2016 near Dahlonega, GA
Overlook at the southern terminus of the AT, Springer Mountain GA
Nov 27, 2017 near Dahlonega, GA
Enjoy phenomenal views of Amicalola Falls from the East Ridge Trail.
Mar 1, 2017 near Dahlonega, GA
A field of wildflowers along the AT approach trail from Amicalola
Aug 18, 2019 near Dahlonega, GA
This area is located near the top of Nimblewell Gap Rd. There are three trail/road choices. Runners must take the trail behind this gate!
Mar 10, 2017 near Dahlonega, GA

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Check-Ins

Jun 6, 2020
Elijah Thomas
Beautiful hike. For beginners it may be a little strenuous. Majority of the trail is uphill. But, me and my buds had a great time hiking and camping.
May 23, 2020
Dohyung Lim
7.5mi — 4h 00m
Dec 15, 2019
Sean Jones
Sep 21, 2019
Nathan Fitch
15mi
Sep 21, 2019
Brennen Graves
excellent hike, view from Springer Mountain was not that inspiring 7.5mi — 6h 00m
Aug 1, 2019
Chris Oakley
Jun 28, 2019
Heather Jones
15mi
Jun 21, 2019
Kate H