Georgia Appalachian Trail: our favorite hikes

Georgia Appalachian Trail hiking guide

Hike, trail run or backpack the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, climbing to mountain summits, diving into mossy creek valleys and catching some seriously stunning views.

The Appalachian Trail’s rectangular, white blazes – over 100,000 in total, pepper the length of the trail. They’re painted on trees (and, occasionally, on rocks on tree-barren mountain summits) to guide hikers along the AT’s mammoth stretch through fourteen states from Georgia to Maine.

The AT starts its northbound trek to Maine’s Mount Katahdin – a 2000+ mile journey – in the rolling southern Appalachians of North Georgia. The Appalachian Trail hikes 78.6 miles in Georgia from the southernmost blaze at Springer Mountain, where the trail’s start is commemorated with a bronze plaque. There’s also a Springer Mountain trail log in a vault, inscribed by hikers beginning their journey to Maine – or enjoying a summit celebration at the finish of their epic hike.

Hike the Appalachian Trail in Georgia to Long Creek Falls - a stunning, double-tiered waterfall

Departing Springer, the AT winds through the southern Appalachian Mountains, meandering through North Georgia’s rolling Blue Ridge Mountains. The AT crests its highest elevation at Blood Mountain – one of the most popular day hikes on the trail in Georgia.

Wildflowers, rhododendron, laurel, shady deciduous trees and towering pine line the trail in an ever-changing mix of plant and tree life. Catch an explosion of blooming wildflowers, including the beautiful trillium, on the AT’s high elevations in Spring.

And traveling over, under and through the lush North Georgia foliage, wildlife frequent the trail, including wild turkey, black bear, deer, wild hog and songbirds. The AT crosses wind-swept summits, rolling ridgelines, and mossy, creek-filled valleys as it arcs northbound to the Georgia border.

Georgia Appalachian Trail: our favorite hikes

These are our favorite AT day hikes and backpacking trips in Georgia, listed south to north. While they vary in length and difficulty, they pay off the effort with stunning views from lofty mountain summits, rushing waterfalls and boulder-filled creek valleys in shady North Georgia forest. Looking for a shorter hike? Check out our favorite day hikes on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, all under six miles.

Springer Mountain to Woody Gap

These hikes trail the southernmost end of the AT. Hike to the final southern AT blaze on Springer Mountain’s summit, backpack through the shady, creek-filled Three Forks valley and climb to beautiful views at Ramrock Mountain and Woody Gap.

 
Appalachian Approach Trail

APPALACHIAN APPROACH TRAIL

Catch beautiful summit views and Georgia’s tallest waterfall on this 15+ mile hike or backpacking adventure. Hike from Amicalola Falls State Park, climbing elevation to the AT’s Georgia start on Springer Mountain.

15.6 MILES, OUT-AND-BACK

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Springer Mountain Trail

SPRINGER MOUNTAIN TRAIL

Hike the Appalachian Trail a short but challenging mile to Springer Mountain. The hike ascends to beautiful views at the Springer summit and visits the AT’s southernmost blaze.

2 MILES, OUT-AND-BACK

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Springer Mountain Loop Trail

SPRINGER MOUNTAIN LOOP TRAIL

Hike this Springer Mountain loop trail to multiple summit overlooks and through a stream-filled valley. The hike treks two trails, the Appalachian Trail and the Benton Mackaye Trail, named for the AT’s founder.

4.75 MILE LOOP

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AT: Three Forks to Springer Mountain

THREE FORKS TO SPRINGER MOUNTAIN

Hike from the rhododendron-filled Three Forks valley south to Springer Mountain, crossing through beautiful creek-filled valleys. It’s our all-time favorite on Georgia’s stretch of the AT.

8.6 MILES, OUT-AND-BACK

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Three Forks to Long Creek Falls

THREE FORKS TO LONG CREEK FALLS

Hike the AT through the creek-filled Three Forks valley to the most beautiful waterfall on the AT in Georgia. Long Creek Falls spills in double cascades beneath towering hemlock – a perfect mid-hike snack or picnic spot.

1.9 MILES, OUT-AND-BACK

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Three Forks to the Hawk Mountain Shelter

THREE FORKS TO THE HAWK MOUNTAIN SHELTER

Hike the AT to Long Creek Falls before continuing an eastbound hike to the Hawk Mountain Shelter. A short mid-hike detour visits a centuries-old, weathered cemetery with rustic gravestones.

9.1 MILES, OUT-AND-BACK

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Hightower Gap to Sassafrass Mountain and Cooper Gap

HIGHTOWER GAP TO COOPER GAP

Hike a shaded stretch of the Appalachian Trail from Hightower Gap, just north of the Hawk Mountain Shelter. The trail rolls elevation before plunging to Horse Gap and climbing to Sassafrass Mountain, and then dives down to Cooper Gap. There aren’t any stunning summit views on this stretch – but the North Georgia forest is beautiful.

6.9 MILES, OUT-AND-BACK

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Hiking the Appalachian Trail in Georgia: Woody Gap to Ramrock Mountain & the Gooch Mountain Shelter

WOODY GAP TO GOOCH MOUNTAIN SHELTER

Grab views from Woody Gap, then hike the AT south to double summit overlooks at Ramrock Mountain and the Gooch Mountain AT shelter. Fantastic campsites, too!

10.6 MILES, OUT-AND-BACK

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Woody Gap to Neels Gap

These hikes trail though the wildly beautiful, wildflower and peak-filled Blood Mountain Wilderness south of Neels Gap. This stretch of the Georgia Appalachian Trail is the most popular, most-hiked and most-backpacked – and for good reason: the views are stunning.

 
Woody Gap to Jarrard Gap via Big Cedar Mountain

WOODY GAP TO JARRARD GAP VIA BIG CEDAR MOUNTAIN

Hike to sweeping views at Big Cedar Mountain, trailing the AT north from Woody Gap to Jarrard Gap. From fern-filled valleys to soaring summits, this hike explores North Georgia’s diversity.

11.6 MILES, OUT-AND-BACK

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Jarrard Trail and Slaughter Creek Trail Loop Hike

APPALACHIAN TRAIL, JARRARD TRAIL & SLAUGHTER CREEK TRAIL LOOP

Hike the Jarrard Trail from the glassy Lake Winfield Scott. Then loop on the AT and Slaughter Creek Trail to Blood Mountain’s lower elevations in a creek & wildflower-filled forest.

5.6 MILE LOOP

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Blood Mountain: hiking the Appalachian Trail to Georgia's highest AT mountain summit

BLOOD MOUNTAIN TRAIL

It’s THE most popular hike on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. This hike trails the Byron Reece Trail to the AT, climbing through switchbacks and scrambling over boulders to grab stunning views at the lofty Blood Mountain summit.

4.3 MILES, OUT-AND-BACK

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BLOOD MOUNTAIN LOOP ON THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL

Hike the Byron Reece Trail, AT and Freeman Trail, climbing up, over and around the Blood Mountain summit. This six mile loop hike catches solitude on some of Blood Mountain’s lesser-traveled trails through rocky forest.

6 MILE LOOP

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Vogel State Park to Blood Mountain

VOGEL STATE PARK TO BLOOD MOUNTAIN

Hike from Vogel State Park to the Blood Mountain summit, trailing the Bear Hair Trail and Coosa Trail to the AT. This hike has the most ample & available Blood Mountain trailhead parking, too.

8.5 MILE LOOP

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Neels Gap to Unicoi Gap

Hiking north from Neels Gap, the AT rolls elevation through the Raven Cliff Wilderness, visiting soaring mountain summits and diving through sunlight-dappled, fern-filled gaps. Backpacking? Don’t miss our favorite campsite on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia at the Wolf Laurel Top summit.

 
Hike the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, climbing from Neels Gap at the base of Blood Mountain to stunning summit views from Cowrock Mountain

BLOOD MOUNTAIN TO WOLF LAUREL TOP & COWROCK MOUNTAIN

This 13-miler makes a fantastic, challenging day hike or an even better overnight backpacking trip. Hike the AT from Neels Gap and camp at Wolf Laurel Top or Cowrock Mountain.

13 MILES, OUT-AND-BACK

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Tesnatee Gap to Cowrock Mountain

TESNATEE GAP TO COWROCK MOUNTAIN

Hike the AT south from Tesnatee Gap to stunning Cowrock Mountain views. With a paved trailhead, it’s one of the most popular short-distance hikes on Georgia’s stretch of the AT.

2.25 MILES, OUT-AND-BACK

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Unicoi Gap to Chattahoochee Gap

UNICOI GAP TO CHATTAHOOCHEE GAP

Hike the AT from Unicoi gap north of Helen, climbing Blue Mountain to the Blue Mountain shelter. The trail meanders through a lush, fern and wildflower-filled, rocky forest to the headwaters of the Chattahoochee River at Chattahoochee Gap.

8.9 MILES, OUT-AND-BACK

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Unicoi Gap to Bly Gap

Departing Chattahoochee Gap and crossing the headwaters of the Chattahoochee River, the AT reaches Unicoi Gap north of Helen, Georgia. From Unicoi Gap, the trail crosses Rocky Mountain and Tray Mountain before hiking northbound through Dicks Creek Gap, crossing the North Carolina state line at Bly Gap. Continue the northbound adventure on our favorite North Carolina Appalachian Trail hikes near Asheville.

 
Unicoi Gap to Rocky Mountain and Indian Grave Gap

UNICOI GAP TO INDIAN GRAVE GAP

This challenging hike trails a heart-pounding climb of Rocky Mountain from Unicoi Gap before cresting at the summit. Descend Rocky Mountain’s eastern slope to Indian Grave Gap before climbing the mountain again to return to Unicoi Gap.

5.1 MILE LOOP

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Unicoi Gap to Rocky Mountain and Tray Mountain

UNICOI GAP TO TRAY MOUNTAIN

Hike a double summit adventure on the Appalachian Trail from Unicoi Gap, scaling Rocky Mountain and Tray Mountain to some stunning summit views. At just under 10 miles, it’s a fantastic, challenging day hike or a great overnight backpacking adventure.

9.9 MILES, OUT-AND-BACK

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Indian Grave Gap to Tray Mountain

INDIAN GRAVE GAP TO TRAY MOUNTAIN

Hike the AT north from Indian Grave Gap through a gnarled laurel forest, and grab stunning views of the surrounding rolling Appalachians and Lake Hiawassee from the Tray Mountain summit.

4.6 MILES, OUT-AND-BACK

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Dicks Creek Gap to Powell Mountain

DICKS CREEK GAP TO POWELL MOUNTAIN

Hike the AT southbound from Dicks Creek Gap. The hike summits Powell Mountain to catch views of Lake Burton nestled in the distant, rolling Appalachian mountains.

5.2 MILES, OUT-AND-BACK

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Dicks Creek Gap to Bly Gap

DICKS CREEK GAP TO BLY GAP, NC

Backpack the AT north from Dicks Creek Gap to this gnarled, old oak just across the Georgia state line at Bly Gap. Explore beautiful, fern-and-moss-filled forest – and overnight at one of many great campsites.

17.4 MILES, OUT-AND-BACK

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Appalachian Trail in North Carolina

APPALACHIAN TRAIL IN NORTH CAROLINA

North of the state line, the AT continues its northbound journey to Maine, climbing rugged mountains capped with historic fire towers, exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and rolling over view-packed, grassy balds covered in wildflowers and wild berries.

AT IN NORTH CAROLINA

Appalachian Trail hiking & backpacking: what to pack?

What to pack hiking the Appalachian Trail in Georgia’s remote backcountry? Check out our favorite, trail-tested hiking and backpacking gear that’s in our backpacks on day hikes in the North Georgia mountains.

What to Pack Hiking? Our hiking gear lists feature our favorite, trail-tested gear.

Our fave hiking gear

What to Pack?

Ready to hit the trail, but wondering what to pack?

Our gear lists feature our favorite, trail-tested hiking gear for day hikes on local trails and in the Georgia backcountry.

hiking gear list: local hikes

hiking gear list: backcountry

Camping & backpacking the AT in Georgia

Campsites dot the length of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. Our favorites? The view-packed campsite on the Wolf Laurel Top summit and the trailside campsites at the Ramrock Mountain summit top our list of high-elevation AT camping sites. And the campsites lining the AT in Three Forks‘ mossy, boulder-filled creek valley top our list of favorite backpacking and car camping sites in Georgia.