Appalachian Trail Georgia: Your Quick Reference Guide For Access & What To Expect

Posted by Tom Telford on Tue, Jan 24, 2012

The challenging Appalachian Trail in Georgia is a beautiful trek. Reaching over 4,000 feet above sea level and traversing the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest for over 75 miles, this southern edge of the Blue Ridge Mountain chain offers over fifty miles of connected side trails, breath-taking views, trail shelters and privies.

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Great Smokey Mountains Photo by Kirk Thornton on Unsplash

Appalachian Trail Access Starts In Georgia

Access to the trail is made on foot. Starting with the 8.8 mile approach trail at Amicalola Falls State Park, the trail winds its way across the western edge of Springer Mountain and ends at an area called Bly Gap on the Georgia North Carolina Border.

Throughout the length of the Georgia Appalachian Trail there are many day hikes and paths you can enjoy. Or for the more adventurous, this could be the start of hiking the entire trail to its end north in Maine.

Animals on the Appalachian Trail

When hiking in the Georgia Mountains, keep in mind that the wilderness is home to bears. While they normally avoid humans, garbage and food left on the trail has attracted them to shelter areas looking for food.

Possums Raccoons and other small animals will steal your food if not secured properly on the bear cables found at many of the trail shelters. Rattlesnakes and Copperhead snakes will typically avoid humans but watch for snakes warming themselves on rock outcroppings, or nestled against crossover logs.

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Amicalola Falls State Park Photo by Christopher Carson on Unsplash

Weather on the Appalachian Trail

The elevation varies from a low point of about 2600 feet at Dick's Creek Gap to a peak elevation of about 4500 feet at Blood Mountain.

The higher elevation along the length of the Trail means the temperature will remain considerably colder than in other parts of the state.

When hiking in the Spring, be prepared for cold-weather camping, and be adaptable towards rain throughout the year.  

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Photo by Savannah Lakes Village on Unsplash

Trail Markings

The Trail system uses blazes to mark the trail. 

A blaze is a white or colored stripe that is painted on the trail or on rocks or trees marking the direction of the path. White blazes mark the path and blue blazes mark side or approach trails and trails leading to water.  A double stripe blaze indicates a change in direction or turn. 

These marking are consistent throughout the 2,100 miles of trails from Georgia to Maine.

Safety on the Appalachian Trail

Crime is rare on the Trail but common sense should prevail. 

Don't tell strangers where you are camping and stay away from sleeping near forest roads that have seen recent vehicle use. It is always a good idea for hikers to imply that they are hiking with a larger group, even if hiking alone.

Before setting out, hikers should inform someone, a relative or friend (or the innkeeper) of their hiking itinerary and expected return time as a precautionary measure that could save a life in the event of  an accident or lost hikers.   

Wrapping Up

Hiking in the mountains in Georgia promises to be a fun and rewarding experience.  Keeping the trail pristine is an important part of using the trail in order to preserve it for future generations to enjoy. 

The Georgia Trail is maintained by the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club through an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service.    

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Rocky Mount Photo by Shep McAllister on Unsplash

Additional Appalachian Trail Hiking Resources

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Topics: North Georgia, Nature, The Outdoors, Waterfalls, Hiking & Trails
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