The Appalachian Trail in Georgia extends 78.6 miles through the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, passing through five federally designated wilderness areas, a national recreation area, and a protected corridor.
The Trail follows the southernmost segment of the Blue Ridge chain of the Appalachian Mountains, reaching elevations above 4,000 feet at several locations. With 50 miles of connected, maintained side trails, hiking opportunities of challenge, variety, and breath-taking views abound.
The Trail's southern terminus, located on the summit of Springer Mountain, is marked with an Appalachian Trail plaque and white blaze. Forest Service Road 42 crosses the Appalachian Trail approximately one mile trail north, and provides vehicular access off of Double Head Gap Road in Gilmer County. Springer Mountain Summit is connected to the south by the 8.8 mile Springer Mountain Approach Trail, beginning behind the visitors Center at Amicalola Falls State Park, of off SR 52. A detailed guide book with maps is available from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Book Store.
The A.T is marked with both signs and blazes, the latter being the most common. These 2” X 6” vertical white rectangles are painted on trees and sometimes, rocks. Similar sized blue blazes mark recognized and maintained side trails connecting with the AT. Two blazes marked one above the other alert hikers to a change in direction.
There are 12 shelters located close to the Georgia AT. These are intended for use by Appalachian Trail hikers on a first come first served basis.
Privies are near each shelter. With the exception of the stone cabin on Blood Mountain, spring water sources and food hanging cables are near the shelters.
Water sources, mostly springs, can be found along or near the trail at the lower elevations. Access to these is frequently marked with blue blazes. All water should be boiled, filtered or chemically treated before consumption.
Mountain hiking is a strenuous activity. Appalachian Trail hikers should anticipate that and be prepared for it. The Trail passes through a natural environment, the home of poisonous snakes and plants, stinging insects, and animals that enjoy eating hikers’ food as much as they do. Reasonable precaution should be taken. The AT also passes through public lands open for seasonal hunting. The encouraged precaution is the wearing of blaze orange during hunting season.
Management of the Trail
The Appalachian Trail in Georgia is managed, maintained, protected, and promoted by the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, first entered into in 1930.