Springer Mountain: hiking the Appalachian Trail
Hike the famed Appalachian Trail to Springer Mountain, visiting the southernmost blaze of the AT in Georgia, and catching gorgeous summit views.
This relatively short, two mile Springer Mountain hike climbs Springer Mountain via the Georgia Appalachian Trail on a moderately challenging, rocky trek to the summit.
Springer Mountain is well-known and well-loved by hikers and backpackers. The mountain’s summit views are outstanding, looking west into the southern Appalachians, and its close proximity to Georgia’s popular weekend getaway cities of Ellijay, Dahlonega and Cleveland draw hikers to its network of trails. View our favorite hiking and backpacking trails to the Springer Mountain summit.
Springer Mountain on the Appalachian Trail: the hike
The hike departs the Springer Mountain parking area (view maps and driving directions), traveling west to cross the gravel forest service road, following the iconic, white rectangular blazes of the Appalachian Trail. Climbing from the trailhead, the hike begins its ascent to the Springer summit, quickly gaining elevation as it turns southward in a wide curve. Views begin to extend from the right side of the Appalachian Trail through tree trunks and foliage, partially revealing the rolling, mountainous views awaiting at the summit.
The forest landscape becomes increasingly rockier as the hike ascends, crossing patches of hewn rock and large rock outcrops.
Wildflowers are a common sight in warmer months here on Springer’s western slope, fed by the trickling runoff from the mountain’s higher elevations. In winter months, freezing temperatures turn these trickles into icicles, dripping in long spires of ice from the rocky outcrops lining the trail.
The Appalachian Trail crests briefly at .7 miles at a signed intersection with the Benton Mackaye Trail. The BMT departs left from the intersection, creating an alternate loop around Springer’s eastern slopes. (Check out the BMT Springer Loop Trail for incredible views from an alternate summit overlook.)
The hike passes a second intersection, this one leading to the Springer AT shelter and campground, before grabbing its final elevation gain to the summit. The trail reaches the mountain’s summit at .95 miles, where the final white blaze of the Appalachian Trail is commemorated with a bronze plaque.
Views from the Springer Mountain summit are impressive in any season, but our favorite in Fall, when autumn’s cooler temperatures trigger vibrant leaf color in the valley below and across the rolling, distant mountainscape. The hike departs the mountain summit, retracing the Appalachian Trail in a northward descent to the FR 42 trailhead, completing at just under 2 miles and a total elevation change of 750 feet.