Springer Mountain Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, GA
There And
Back Again
Springer Mountain

A pilgrimage no southern hiker should miss, even if you don’t have the time and ability to take on the Appalachian Trail in its entirety, Springer Mountain is within reach. While some northerners think the trail begins in Maine, we in the South know the AT starts here in Georgia atop Springer Mountain, marking the beginning for most thru-hikers of this epic trail. If you’re looking for something longer, check out Springer Mountain Loop Trail.

Don’t kid yourself when your GPS tells you how long it will take to arrive. Any way you come, you will spend at least 10 miles on rough, unpaved, gravel roads, adding at least another 30 minutes to your drive. The parking lot is marked with a Springer Mountain sign and can accommodate around 20 vehicles.

To begin the hike head toward the end of the parking lot to the left, away from the information signs. Following the AT, the path quickly crosses the road and begins to ascend gradually, with a couple moderate sections thrown in for good measure. This section of pathway is very rocky and many times forming stone staircases; however, for the most part it is easily travelled. On the left in the warmer months are several types of wildflowers. Possible winter views on the right side.

At .7 miles the trail crosses a junction with the Benton MacKaye Trail. This trail is dedicated to Benton MacKaye, the man with the original conception for the Appalachian Trail. It is marked with several signs and you should have no problem continuing on the AT toward Springer. Shortly after this, another side trail to the left leads to several campsites, a shelter, and available water. Backpackers are encouraged to stay in this area as opposed to staying the night directly on Springer due to high Bear Activity in the area. Near the shelter are bear cables, as well as two privies. This area is definitely worth checking out.

Once you reach the top of Springer Mountain, you will immediately notice the view to the West. The summit is mostly tree covered and doesn’t offer expansive views but the view is still worth the short hike to the top. Look for the two bronze plaques and the metal box containing the hiker log. On the other side of a large, gnarled tree lies the approach trail from Amicalola Falls State Park. During nice weather, expect to have a lot of company. After you’ve taken in the view, head back the way you came in.

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Elevation Map Length (miles) by Elevation (feet)
Slope Breakdown
Elevation Gain
Elevation Range
Grade Range
Elevation Gain
0 - 250 ft/mi
~ 0 - 5 %
0.4 mi
40 ft
250 - 500 ft/mi
~ 5 - 10 %
0.4 mi
167 ft
500 - 750 ft/mi
~ 10 - 15 %
0.3 mi
181 ft
750 - 1000 ft/mi
~ 15 - 20 %
371 ft
56 ft
1000+ ft/mi
~ 20+ %
293 ft
66 ft
For out-and-back hikes, elevation loss is the same as the gain.
Terrain Map Click to control map
length2.3 miles
difficulty3 Easy
duration1 hour
features Dog Friendly  History  Summit  Views 
trail typeThere And Back Again
blazeWhite Rectangle
elevation gain460 ft.
state Georgia 
park/forestChattahoochee-Oconee National Forest
ranger districtBlue Ridge Ranger District
2042 Highway 515 West
Blairsville, GA 30512
parking feeNone
trailhead coordinates 34.637631, -84.195217 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 34°38.26, W 84°11.71 (Degree Minutes, MinDec)
N 34°38'15'', N 34°38'15'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Trailhead Directions
34.637631, -84.195217 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 34°38.26, W 84°11.71 most GPS units use this one
N 34°38'15'', N 34°38'15'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Google Map It
Make sure to give yourself plenty of time traveling on the Forest Service roads, many of them are very rough.
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Reviews / Comments
Average Review Rating
4 (1)
hikethesouth-6 years ago
Shortest Path to Springer
This is the shortest trail to Springer Mountain and the start of the AT. Even if you have no plans of hiking the AT, definitely check out this hike and meet the people just beginning (or ending) their 2K plus mile trip.
Easy | Hiked Fall 2012
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