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.