Appalachian Trail: Springer Mountain to Hightower Gap

PointToPoint • 9 mi • 0 ft

The summit of Springer Mountain, a broad dome with thin oak woods and a rock outcrop, has excellent northwest views of the Cohutta Mountains. Two bronze plaques mark this as the terminus of the AT. Natural history features: Long Creek Falls; old-growth hemlocks. Social history features: Southern end of AT.
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Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Suches
Length: 9 total miles
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Trail Type: Point-to-point
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 5-6 hours
Trailhead Elevation: 3,782 feet
Top Elevation: 3,782 feet
Local Contacts: Appalachian Trail Conference, 304-535-6331
Local Maps: ATC Chattahoochee National Forest
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Great hike with plenty of water and shelters. One of the easiest sections of the AT in GA.


This trail was cool mostly for the fact that it is the start of the AT. I thought that Hightower would be a more interesting spot, but it is just a parking area. It was a slight let down but the views on the trail were great and the walk wasn't too steep. Great overnight hike!


8.7 miles total for us. This was second day after AT approach trail and camped on top of Springer Mtn. First half is very easy and cross a stream a few times. Longcreek Falls was halfway and a nice small falls to see. It was about a tenth mile side trip. A couple small climbs second half and a somewhat steep downhill for over a mile. Rangers were there at bottom doing a training exercise! Not many views as in the forest, but some of the ridges were neat with the change of color just starting.


STOVER CREEK Nice Shelter, THERE IS A PRIVY. The trail guide is wrong. Nice set of bear cables. Lots of water even though it has been dry. LONG FALLS-great hike. Nice cool water. CEMETARY-Worth hiking to. The 2 man mari-g0-round is gone.


Hiked the trail as a backpacking trip with Troop 4900. Went great. lots of water available. Left Springer Mtn with loaded packs at 9:00 am. Got to Hawk Mtn shelter at 4:00pm. Moved pretty slowly with two new 11 yr old scouts..


Did a quick visit just to see if I could find the trailhead, and then I tacked on the 0.9 mile walk out to the summit of Springer Mtn. Trailhead is located at the end of a 6.5 mile drive up and around a very narrow gravel road. Wouldn't want to make this drive in a car as there are small rocks and tree branches all over the road. Visiting the official start of the AT was exciting. Nice shelter / camping area near the summit. It began sleeting as I walked back to the car. Be sure to return down the mountain the way you came or risk a very long drive around the Blue Ridge WMA (a mistake I wish I hadn't made). I will be back to do a longer hike -- hopefully in warmer weather.


Easy downhill start and allot of nice trail all the way through. Hawk Ridge and it's shelter are top notch. The creek with the hemlocks are unusual for this far south and the falls were wonderful. I'd consider doing this section again except for one small detail - getting to Springer, there's no straight way to get there without driving around the world. ATT cell worked on Hawk Ridge fine!


Great trail. The water sources were dry that were next to the shelters, but finding water along the trail is easy to do. (11/19/2007) The trail was maintained well and the leaves were perfect. Highly recommended


Started at the Visitors center near Amicalcola Park and went along the AT towards Springer Mountain. Started late at about 1530, weather was in the high 60s with cloudy conidtions for the first two hours. Hailed for 2.5 hours and rain was on and off all night. Made it just below the end point at Springer Mountain to get out of the conditions at about mile 7.5. Trail was clean with very little hikers along the route. Found a good campground past the water sign on the AT and made a quick lean to shelter. Trail was strenous and challenging.


Took this route in reverse, starting from Hightower Gap and ascending to Springer Mountain and then down the approach trail to Amicalola Falls State Park. Trails were in great shape, as were the shelters at Hawk Mountain and Springer Mountain. A little crowded for my taste, especially atop Springer, but we enjoyed the company and the foiliage. Would not recommend attempting to find the Hightower Gap trailhead parking lot in the dark in the National Forest, the USFS roads are poorly marked and the directions given by the ranger were misleading.


Trail is in good condition. Very windy and tempture of 37o at start. Trail is very clean except at two road crossing.


2 adults and 4 15-18 year old Boy Scouts did a couple of Appl. trail - Benton MacKay trail loops, camping at Three Forks. 18 degrees when we started Saturday AM, warmed up into the 30's. Set up camp, cooked supper and at 5:30 PM the cold drove us all into our bags. Slept toasty in my Big Agnes Encampment. Oatmeal & coffee for breakfast. Hiked to Long Creek Falls Sunday AM to a very impressive falls. Then back to the base of Springer Mt. The boys like one cold weather hike every year, but I'm more of a Spring and Fall man, but you gotta do what you gotta do. All and all, a very nice weekend.


This section of the AT is a moderate hike with nice trail and plenty of water. Make sure you enjoy the Cathedral Hemlocks along Stover Creek. Also, don't miss Long Creek Falls. It is a nice place to take a break and have a snack. This is one of my favorite sections of trail to hike.

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