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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.