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

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Point to Point

3,766' 1,148 m


2,552' 778 m


2,083' 635 m


870' 265 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (16°)

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.


Shared By:

Dan Timko

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 15 votes


  4.1 from 15 votes
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Trail Rankings


in Georgia


21 Views Last Month
5,031 Since Jul 17, 2017



Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
Jun 22, 2016 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
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



Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 39 days ago
Add Your Check-In


Mar 6, 2022
Russ Austin
8mi — 3h 28m
Apr 16, 2021
Bob Brown
3 days 2 nights. April 2021 with Matt 26mi
Mar 27, 2021
Liam Middleton
Heading to nimblewood g 4.3mi — 9h 56m
Oct 20, 2020
Private User
Jul 13, 2020
Tony Green
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.
Jun 2, 2020
Clay B
Started at lower waterfall parking lot and went slightly past Springer Mtn and then back 19.6mi — 6h 37m
May 23, 2020
Dohyung Lim
7.5mi — 4h 00m