Buy Hiking Maps and Guidebooks :: Backpacking :: Trekking

Springer Mountain Day Hike
AT Southern Trailhead

Hiking Trail Map & Guide

AT Summit Plaque
 Plaque at Southern Terminus of the AT on Springer Mountain, Georgia  

Springer Mountain Day Hike - Back Door to AT Southern Terminus

PDF Printable Version of Springer Mountain Hike

If you follow the typical approach path to the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail AT on Springer Mountain 3782 ft. in Chattahoochee National Forest, you will find yourself hiking an arduous 8+ miles from Amicalola Falls State Park in North Georgia.  However, you can use a short cut to sneak in the "back door" on this easy 2 mile round trip day hike to Springer Mountain by parking at the first AT trailhead north.  The trick is you have to navigate and bump along USFS gravel roads for many miles beforehand to get to the Springer Mountain day hike.  We took a 4 wheel drive Explorer which we felt got beaten up by the gravel road on the eastern approach.  The western approach was gentler on our way out (see below).

The infamous and much glorified Appalachian Trail (AT) begins in north Georgia on this otherwise inconspicuous peak along a wooded ridge line in Chattahoochee National Forest. From here it traverses over 2000 miles of the Appalachian Mountains, ending on Mt. Katahdin, ME.  The hike to the summit is along a dirt pathway in a hardwood forest that climbs several hundred feet. The climb is not steep but is steady.

There are two approaches to the trailhead that we are familiar with though in amongst the maze of other Chattahoochee National Forest service roads, there appear to be other approaches.  However, we present two approaches.  Both are a challenge and should be taken by those who are comfortable reading maps and navigating.  Our directions are based on recollections and maps and may have flaws.  However, we present them to provide a general sense of the approach.

For the eastern approach, travel west appx 9 miles on GA 52 from Dahlonega, GA.  Bear right onto the second North Church Rd intersection toward Nimblewill, GA (the first intersection with the same road crosses GA 52 approximately 7 miles west of Dahlonega - however, take the second intersection at 9 miles with the same road for these directions).  In approximately 1 mile Nimblewill Gap Road (FS 28-2) bears left.  Stay to the right.  In a short distance bear left onto Chattahoochee National Forest Road 28-1.  After 2 miles, bear left onto Chattahoochee National Forest Road FS-77 (Winding Stair Gap Rd) near wildlife check station.  In the spring of 2008, this gravel road was very rough.  In approximately 4 miles, bear left onto FS-42.  After approximately 3 miles bear right into the gravel parking lot at the trail head (Approximate GPS Coordinates 3438'15.43"N  8411'43.10"W).

The other approach is from the west along Chattahoochee National Forest Road FS-42 which in the Spring of 2008 was a smoother, better graded gravel road than the eastern approach.  The key to this route is finding Doublehead Gap road ("paved road" on road map below) which runs between Swan GA on the north and the Cartecay/Oakland GA areas on the south.  From Swan GA near GA 60 travel appx 10 miles south on Doublehead Gap road and bear left onto FS-42, which in Spring 2008 was marked with a "Springer Mountain" sign (see picture below).  From the Cartecay/:Oakland GA areas on GA 52 tie into Doublehead Gap Road by use of maps and dead reckoning (when we were there, the road signage was not clear). From this area travel north appx 10 miles to bear right onto FS-42 with the "Springer Mountain" sign.  Once on FS-42, travel 6.5 miles east along FS-42 and bear left into the trailhead parking lot.  There are lots of nice views along this road.  Once you are there, pat yourself on the back.

The shortcut Springer Mountain Day Hike begins across the gravel road from the parking area (south side - look for signs - see trail map below).  The trail follows the Appalachian Trail (white blazed).  It climbs 400+ feet in 1 mile to the rounded and wooded summit at an elevation of 3,782 feet, the Appalachian Trail Southern Terminus. There are two plaques on the summit to commemorate this terminus.  Just before the summit, there is a spur path to the left (east) to a camping area, lean-to shelter, privy and a source of untreated water. On the summit there is an open rocky face with views toward the southwest.

Return along the same route.  Be careful to return along the Appalachian Trail.  The Benton MacKaye Trail uses the same footpath for a short distance from the summit north before veering to the right. Stay left on the AT.

Springer Mountain Day Hike Trail Map Georgia Chattahoochee National Forest

 

Springer Mountain Day Hike Profile Image
 Springer Mountain Trail Profile  

 


Area Guides     Hiking Trails of North Georgia
    North Georgia Mtns Pocket Companion
    Trekking the Southern Appalachians
    Other GA Guides
    USA Guides
    Georgia Atlas & Gazetteer

 

Springer Mountain Day Hike Approach Roads Map Chattahoochee National Forest
  Approach Roads to Springer Mountain Trail Head (parking)  

Springer Mtn GA from West
 Springer Mtn from West on FS-42 

Springer Gap parking area for AT Trail Head Chattahoochee National Forest Road FS-42
 Trail head at Springer Gap 

Appalachian Trail for the Springer Mountain Day Hike
 AT Approach to Springer Mountain 

View toward South West from Springer Mountain Georgia
 View toward SW from Springer Mtn Summit

US Forest Service - AT Summit Plaque
 Chattahoochee National Forest Service Plaque at Southern Terminus of AT on Springer Mountain 


Camping Area/Shelter Map
 Camping Area/Shelter Map

Springer Mountain Shelter
 Springer Mountain Shelter 

Sign for Chattahoochee National Forest Road FS-42 on Double Head Gap Road
 Sign for Chattahoochee National Forest Road FS-42 on Double Head Gap Road