Start of the AT
Every year thousands of people attempt to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, a 2000+ mile path from Georgia to Maine. Springer Mountain is the start of this journey.
From the Springer Mountain parking lot, cross the road to access the trail. (This area can be confusing as from the parking lot the trail leads north, but the .9 miles to the start is actually behind you, across the road, the AT just crosses the road at the parking lot).
Less than a mile to the top, it is almost all uphill. They are not steep strenuous climbs, but with all the rocks and roots jetting out most of the trail it can be difficult. At .65 miles you will find a trail on your left, the Benton MacKaye. A short hike down the path leads to a large plaque marking the trail and is worth the photo opp. (return to the main trail)
Back on the AT, at .7 miles is the path to the Springer Mountain shelter. You will notice the shelter is quite large and has a picnic table in front. (return to the main trail)
As you finish the last .2 miles, you will see a large rock outcrop over looking a beautiful view. On the rock is a plaque commemorating the start of the AT. If you do a 180 from the plaque you will notice a large rock. Around its side is a built in compartment with the AT sign in log. Take a look at who has been there and add your name.
Although it’s not officially part of the AT, the trail continues on what is known as the approach trail. It leads 7.5 miles down to Amicalola Falls.
When you return to the parking lot, if you would like a longer hike you can continue down the AT. Long Creek Falls is 4 miles down the trail. You can read about it on this website under its own name.
From the Lodge, turn right on Camp Wahsega road (away from town). Follow all the way to the end of the road (about 3.5 miles). At the stop sign turn right onto Cooper Gap Road. This turns into a dirt road almost immediately. Follow Cooper Gap Road 3 miles up to the first intersection. At the intersection turn left onto FS 42-2 (there are no road signs here). Follow 42-2 about 4 miles to another intersection, to the left is FS 42-2 and the right is FS 69. Take the left to stay on 42-2. Another 4 miles up is another intersection. There is a sign that reads Ed Jenkins National Forest. From here keep following 42-2 just over two miles and you will see the Springer Mountain parking lot on your right.
Mountain Views on the AT
Preaching Rock is one of the easiest sections of the Appalachian Trail to get to, as well as an easy hike with a great payoff. This is one of the most popular hikes in North Georgia.
Upon arriving at Woody Gap, you will want to start the trail from the parking lot on the right side of the road. (The left side of the road has the Woody Gap sign.)
The Appalachian Trail is marked with white 2″x6″ rectangles (blazes) on trees and other landmarks. Starting this trail, you will notice a blue rectangle trail leading to the left (this is to a watersource) and a white trail going straight. Follow the white blazes. It’s a fairly easy mile hike with gentle rolls throughout the forest. Towards the end, the trail makes a moderate to strenuous switchback up to Preaching Rock, your destination. The large rock outcrop makes an excellent place for a picnic while you are entertained with the limitless mountains as far as the eye can see.
From the Lodge, take a left on Camp Wahsega road (heading back to town). When you reach the stop sign, turn left onto BUS 19. Follow BUS 19 for 2 miles to the stop sign. Take a left onto HWY 60 / 19. Follow until 60 and 19 split. You will notice a large pile of rocks in the intersection of the road. This is a Cherokee Indian princess’s burial called Trahlyta’s Grave. Follow HWY 60 to the top of the mountain. On the left parking lot you will see the large Woody Gap sign. Park on the right side of the road to hike to Preaching Rock.