The Appalachian Trail begins its northbound trek to Maine’s Mount Katahdin in the rolling southern Appalachians of North Georgia, beginning a 2000+ mile northbound journey through fourteen states. The epic-length trail travels 78.6 miles in Georgia, beginning at the southernmost blaze at Springer Mountain. On the Springer summit, a bronze plaque commemorates the trail’s southern beginning, and a vault holds a trail log, inscribed by hikers beginning their journey to Maine, or enjoying a summit celebration at the finish of their incredible adventure.

Departing Springer Mountain, the AT follows its iconic, white trail blazes through the southern Appalachian Mountains, meandering through North Georgia’s rolling Blue Ridge Mountains and exploring some of this state’s most beautiful terrain. Wildlife frequent the trail, including wild turkey, black bear, deer, wild hog, and songbirds. Throughout the state, wildflowers, rhododendron, laurel, leafy hardwoods and towering pine line the trail in an ever-changing mix of plant and tree life. And in springtime, the trail explodes in an array of abundant blooming wildflowers, including the beautiful native trillium.

New to the trail, or looking for a shorter, beginner-friendly hike? Check out our favorite Georgia AT day hikes under six miles.

Hike, run or backpack the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, climbing to mountain summits, exploring mossy creek valleys, visiting waterfalls, and catching some seriously stunning views. #hiking #running #camping #backpacking #atlanta #georgia #travel #outdoors #adventure

Appalachian Trail in Georgia: our favorite day hikes and backpacking adventures

Plan a day hike or a backpacking adventure with our guide to the best hikes on this iconic white-blazed trail. Explore some incredible North Georgia beauty on our favorite AT day hikes and backpacking trips, divided into the trail’s major sections in our state, and listed from south to north. Or check out these hikes plotted on our Appalachian Trail Georgia Map. Wherever your adventures take you, please remember to pack out everything you pack in, and to leave no trace, to help preserve the trail and its surrounding natural beauty.

    Springer Mountain to Woody Gap

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

  • AT Approach Trail

    Appalachian Approach Trail

    15.6 MILES, ROUND TRIP

    Catch beautiful summit views and Georgia’s tallest waterfall on this fantastic 15-mile day hike or overnight backpacking adventure. The adventure begins at the towering, tumbling waterfall at Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia’s tallest waterfall. From Amicalola, the Approach Trail climbs through a scenic forest to the southernmost end of the AT at Springer Mountain.
    VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS


  • Springer Mountain

    2 MILES, ROUND TRIP

    Hike a short, but challenging, one mile to the trail’s southernmost end at Springer Mountain. The hike ascends to beautiful views at the Springer summit and visits the AT’s southernmost blaze, commemorated with a bronze plaque.
    VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

  • Springer Mountain Loop on the Benton MacKaye Trail

    Springer Mountain Loop: Appalachian Trail and Benton MacKaye Trail

    4.75 MILE LOOP

    Hike the Springer Mountain Loop to multiple summit overlooks and through a stream-filled valley. The hike follows the Appalachian Trail to the Springer Mountain summit and then loops to beautiful views from a quiet overlook on the Benton MacKaye Trail, named for the AT’s founder.
    VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS


  • Three Forks to Springer Mountain

    8.6 MILES, ROUND TRIP

    Hike from the rhododendron-filled Three Forks Valley south to Springer Mountain, crossing through a beautiful creek-filled forest. With a staggering amount of terrain diversity and scenic beauty, it’s one of our all-time favorite day hikes in Georgia.
    VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

  • Long Creek Falls

    Three Forks to Long Creek Falls

    1.9 MILES, ROUND TRIP

    Hike the AT through the creek-filled Three Forks Valley to one of North Georgia’s most beautiful waterfalls. Long Creek Falls spills and tumbles in a series of cascades beneath a forest filled with towering hemlock, vibrant green moss, and gnarly-branched rhododendron.
    VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS


  • Three Forks to the Hawk Mountain AT Shelter

    9.1 MILES, ROUND TRIP

    Hike the AT to the tumbling cascades at Long Creek Falls, and then continue eastbound, hiking to the Hawk Mountain Shelter. Take a short mid-hike detour to visit the Hickory Flatts Cemetery, a centuries-old, weathered cemetery with rustic gravestones.
    VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

  • Hightower Gap to Cooper Gap

    Hightower Gap to Cooper Gap

    6.9 MILES, ROUND TRIP

    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 hike explores a beautiful, wildflower-filled stretch of North Georgia forest.
    VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS


  • Woody Gap to the Gooch Mountain Shelter

    10.6 MILES, ROUND TRIP

    Grab beautiful views from this hike’s trailhead at Woody Gap, then hike southbound to stunning summit overlooks at Ramrock Mountain and the Gooch Mountain AT shelter. This stretch has fantastic campsites along the trail, making it one of our favorite short-distance overnight backpacking adventures in Georgia.
    VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

  • Woody Gap to Neels Gap

    These hikes trail through the wildly beautiful, wildflower- and peak-filled Blood Mountain Wilderness south of Neels Gap. This stretch of the AT in our state is the most popular, and for a very good reason: the views are stunning and the forest is particularly scenic.

  • Preachers Rock from Woody Gap

    Woody Gap to Preachers Rock

    2 MILES, ROUND TRIP

    This low-mileage hike follows the AT from beautiful sunrise views at Woody Gap north of Dahlonega, and then climbs to the rocky, view-packed overlook of Preachers Rock near the summit of Big Cedar Mountain. It’s a moderately difficult climb, but relatively short, and one of the most popular AT segments in North Georgia.
    VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS


  • Woody Gap to Jarrard Gap

    11.6 MILES, ROUND TRIP

    Hike to sweeping views from Preachers Rock at Big Cedar Mountain, and continue following the AT north to the wildflower-filled Jarrard Gap. From fern-filled valleys to soaring summits, this hike explores a staggering abundance of North Georgia’s unique terrain.
    VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

  • AT Loop at Lake Winfield Scott and Slaughter Mountain

    Appalachian Trail Loop at Lake Winfield Scott and Slaughter Mountain

    5.6 MILE LOOP

    Hike the Jarrard Trail from the glassy Lake Winfield Scott, then loop on the AT to Blood Mountain’s lower elevations in a wildflower-filled forest. Then loop back to the trailhead on the Slaughter Creek Trail, exploring a fern-filled creek valley and tunneling under dense canopies of rhododendron and mountain laurel.
    VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS


  • Blood Mountain via Neels Gap

    4.3 MILES, ROUND TRIP

    It’s perhaps THE most popular hike on the AT in Georgia. This hike follows the Byron Reece Trail to the AT, and then climbs through switchbacks and scrambes over boulders to grab stunning views at the lofty Blood Mountain summit. Towering rock outcrops on the mountaintop, the highest point on the AT in Georgia, offer stunning summit views.
    VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

  • Blood Mountain Loop

    Blood Mountain Loop

    6 MILE LOOP

    Hike the Byron Reece Trail, AT and Freeman Trail on this ultra-scenic six mile loop, climbing up, over and around the Blood Mountain summit. This loop explores some of Blood Mountain’s lesser-traveled terrain and catches solitude on the rocky, challenging return route on the Freeman Trail.
    VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS


  • Vogel State Park to Blood Mountain

    8.5 MILE LOOP

    Hike from Vogel State Park to the Blood Mountain summit, following the park’s the Bear Hair Trail and Coosa Trail to the AT. It’s a fantastic alternate route to the summit, and compared to the popular Byron Reece Trailhead at Neels Gap, offers ample parking for a small fee.
    VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

  • 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 at the Wolf Laurel Top summit.

  • Blood Mountain to Cowrock Mountain

    Blood Mountain to Wolf Laurel Top & Cowrock Mountain

    13 MILES, ROUND TRIP

    This 13-mile adventure 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, catching stunning summit views from sun-drenched, rocky mountaintops.
    VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS


  • Tesnatee Gap to Cowrock Mountain

    2.25 MILES, ROUND TRIP

    Hike the AT south from Tesnatee Gap to stunning views from the oddly-named but view-packed Cowrock Mountain. With easy trailhead access and parking off a paved highway, it’s one of the most popular short-distance hikes on Georgia’s stretch of the AT.
    VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

  • Unicoi Gap to Chattahoochee Gap

    Unicoi Gap to Chattahoochee Gap

    8.9 MILES, ROUND TRIP

    Hike the AT from Unicoi Gap north of Helen, climbing Blue Mountain to the Blue Mountain shelter. This stretch of trail meanders through a lush, fern and wildflower-filled, rocky forest to the headwaters of the Chattahoochee River at Chattahoochee Gap.
    VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS


  • Hogpen Gap to Unicoi Gap

    29 MILES, ROUND TRIP

    While it lacks any stunning summit views or tumbling waterfalls, this segment makes a fantastic long weekend backpacking adventure and offers a load of scenic forested beauty, thanks to dense carpets of fern, towering hardwoods, and loads of springtime wildflowers. Follow the AT from Hogpen Gap just north of Helen on a rolling adventure to Chattahoochee Gap, the headwaters of the Chattahoochee River, and then make a steep descent into Unicoi Gap. Multiple campsites along this stretch offer a great place to recharge before the return hike to Hogpen.
    VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

  • Unicoi Gap to Bly Gap

    Departing Chattahoochee Gap, 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 and 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 Indian Grave Gap

    Unicoi Gap to Indian Grave Gap

    5.1 MILE LOOP

    This challenging hike makes a heart-pounding climb to the summit of Rocky Mountain, catching beautiful views of the nearby Yonah Mountain. The hike dives through tunnels of mountain laurel at Indian Grave Gap before looping back to Unicoi Gap on the Rocky Mountain Trail. It’s one of the most challenging workouts on the AT in Georgia – but the summit views are well worth the effort.
    VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS


  • Unicoi Gap to Tray Mountain

    9.9 MILES, ROUND TRIP

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

  • Tray Mountain from Indian Grave Gap

    Indian Grave Gap to Tray Mountain

    4.6 MILES, ROUND TRIP

    Hike the AT north from Indian Grave Gap, climbing through a gnarly forest of mountain laurel. Grab stunning views of the surrounding rolling Appalachians, Yonah Mountain, and Lake Hiawassee from the Tray Mountain summit, some of our all-time favorite views in Georgia.
    VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS


  • Dicks Creek Gap to Powell Mountain

    5.2 MILES, ROUND TRIP

    Hike the AT southbound from Dicks Creek Gap, exploring a leafy hardwood forest. The hike summits Powell Mountain to catch views of Lake Burton nestled in the distant, rolling Appalachian mountains on the far horizon. It’s a great hike year-round – but it’s especially stunning during autumn’s beautiful leaf color display.
    VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS

  • Dicks Creek Gap to Bly Gap

    Dicks Creek Gap to Bly Gap, NC

    17.4 MILES, ROUND TRIP

    Backpack the AT north from Dicks Creek Gap to a 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.
    VIEW TRAIL INFO & MAPS


  • Appalachian Trail in North Carolina

    North of the Georgia 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.

    Hike the AT to some of the best views in the South at Roan Mountain, the grassy mountain balds in the Roan Highlands, and on the grassy, sun-drenched summit of Max Patch. Climb to stunning views from the historic fire lookout towers at Albert Mountain and Wesser Bald. Or climb the rocky Lovers Leap at Hot Springs, catching beautiful views of the French Broad River.
    EXPLORE THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL IN NC

  • Hiking gear list: our favorite backpacks and trail essentials

    Our favorite hiking gear

    What to pack?

    Ready to hit the trail, but wondering what to pack? Our hiking gear list features our favorite, trail-tested hiking gear for day hikes in the Georgia backcountry, and our backpacking gear list features our favorite packs, tents, sleeping gear and cookware for a night (or a dozen) out on the trail. We print and stitch our Atlanta Trails shirts and hats locally in Atlanta and Asheville, and they’re our favorite for trail adventures all over the South. Our outdoor apparel reviews feature our favorite trail-worthy hiking boots, running shoes, jackets, and layering essentials for the South. And no matter what you pack in, pack it all back out. Please leave no trace and help preserve Georgia’s beauty.
    OUR HIKING GEAR LIST

  • Camping & backpacking the AT in Georgia

    Campsites dot the length of the trail. 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 at Three Forks in a mossy, boulder-filled creek valley top our list of favorite backpacking and car camping sites in Georgia.

 
Leave No Trace: Atlanta Trails, Asheville Trails and Trailful are official Leave No Trace partners

Please Remember

Always leave no trace, tell someone where you're going, pack safety and wayfinding essentials, don't rely on a mobile phone to find your way, and follow these trail etiquette tips.