Hike the Appalachian Trail in Georgia from Dicks Creek Gap, climbing to stunning views of Lake Burton from the summit of Powell Mountain.
OFFICIAL MAP: Appalachian Trail, Trails Illustrated Map
This Georgia Appalachian Trail day hike spans 2.6 miles outbound, hiking south from Dicks Creek Gap. It’s a nearly continuous outbound climb from the gap to the summit, but rewards with some stunning, lofty views at hike’s end.
The Powell Mountain summit is a sun-soaked, rocky peak that catches views of Lake Burton and rolling Georgia mountainscape to the South – a great mid-hike resting spot. And this hike’s return to the Dicks Creek Gap trailhead is nearly all downhill, making it a favorite stretch on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia.
Dicks Creek Gap to Powell Mountain: the hike
The hike departs south from the paved-access Dicks Creek Gap trailhead (view maps and driving directions), crossing GA Highway 76 from the parking area. The Appalachian Trail follows its iconic white rectangular trail blazes as it hikes southbound, immediately beginning to climb elevation through a towering, spindly deciduous forest. The trail passes a small, trickling cascade on trail right as it ascends. Several old-growth trees pepper the trail, their massive trunks dwarfing the surrounding, relatively young forest.
The trail levels briefly at .5 mile, passing a large campsite on the left before descending through switchbacks over the next .3 mile. Nearing 1 mile, the Appalachian Trail continues its ascent toward Powell Mountain, passing a seasonally-available water source and a second campsite at 1.2 miles.
The Appalachian Trail unwaveringly ascends elevation, climbing nearly due South. The hike climbs through a thick grove of twisted, gnarled mountain laurel, switching back sharply at 1.9 miles and climbing northwest to the Powell Mountain summit. After cresting at 2.25 miles, the trail descends briefly through McClure Gap before ascending again. The Appalachian Trail reaches a wooden sign and blue-blazed side trail at 2.5 miles.
The hike departs the Appalachian Trail, turning to follow the blue-blazed side trail southeast toward the overlook. Reaching the outcrop-dotted summit, the hike rewards with sweeping, long-range views to the south.
South of the summit, the distant Lake Burton nestles into the surrounding, rolling southern Appalachian mountains. The summit is a perfect place to grab a snack and some sunshine – or hang out in an ENO hammock – before the return hike to the trailhead.
Departing the Powell Mountain summit, the hike flips to retrace its steps to the trailhead, following its outbound journey in reverse. Remember that calf-burning ascent on the outbound? The return hike is almost blissfully downhill. The hike traces the Appalachian Trail to return to Dicks Creek Gap, reaching the trailhead at 5.2 miles.
Dicks Creek Gap to Powell Mountain: camping
Several campsites dot the Appalachian Trail’s length from Dicks Creek Gap to Powell Mountain – all first-come, first-camp. See the trail map below for campsite locations. And whether spending the night or passing through, please leave no trace to preserve the beauty of the forest.
This map is not a substitute for official trail maps or topographic maps.
Free parking is available at the Dicks Creek Gap trailhead.
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