Hike Woody Gap to Jarrard Gap on the Appalachian Trail, catching stunning views from Preachers Rock on North Georgia’s Big Cedar Mountain.

georgia hiking trails: 6 or more miles 11.6 miles
(round trip)
? Your mileage may vary! Accuracy of your GPS device, weather conditions, and stops along your route will affect your own recorded distance.
georgia hiking trails: moderate to difficultmore
difficult
?Our difficulty estimate, based on distance, terrain, elevation change, & ease of wayfinding. May vary daily due to weather, trail reroutes, downed trees, etc.
georgia hiking trails: dog-friendly Dog-
friendly
?Leashed dogs are allowed on this trail. We’ve loved hiking this route with our trail-loving Labrador Retrievers! Check out more of our favorite dog-friendly trails in Georgia for a great hike with your pup.

LOCATION:Appalachian Trail near Helen, Georgia

GEAR: Osprey Stratos 24 Backpack, our hiking gear list and Canon 6D Camera

WEAR: Our ultra-soft Atlanta Trails shirts and mountain logo hats

OFFICIAL MAP: Appalachian Trail, Trails Illustrated Map

This view-packed hike departs from Woody Gap, located just North of Dahlonega, following one of the most popular and most beautiful stretches of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. The hike catches beautiful summit views on Preachers Rock at Big Cedar Mountain and rolls through mountain ascents on meandering trail switchbacks, wandering through wildflower and fern-filled mountain gaps in the lush, mountainous Blood Mountain Wilderness.

Woody Gap: hike the Appalachian Trail to stunning views from Preachers Rock on Big Cedar Mountain

This is one beautiful hike, filled with lush, green forest, abundant warm-weather wildflowers, and some of North Georgia’s most exceptional summit views. And the trailhead is one of the most easily accessed on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, adding to this hike’s popularity. The trail departs from a paved highway, one of Georgia’s few AT trailheads with direct highway access and ample parking.

Hike Woody Gap to Jarrard Gap on the Appalachian Trail, catching stunning views from Preachers Rock on North Georgia's Big Cedar Mountain. #hiking #running #camping #backpacking #atlanta #georgia #travel #outdoors #adventure

Appalachian Trail, Woody Gap to Jarrard Gap: the hike

The hike departs from Woody Gap (view maps and driving directions), catching views of the nearby rolling Appalachians from the trailhead’s overlook south of Highway 60. After pausing to take in the view, the hike follows the Appalachian Trail north from the gap, meandering past several trailside campsites and diving into a fern-filled deciduous forest. The trail steadily gains elevation through a series of switchbacks at .8 mile.

The trail crests near the Big Cedar Mountain summit at 1 mile, catching stunning long-range views from the summit’s broad, exposed expanse of rock, nicknamed ‘Preachers Rock‘. The views from the rock outcrop are superb, and easily some of the best on the AT in Georgia.

Woody Gap to Jarrard Gap on the Appalachian Trail

For many hikers, the hike turns here to return to the trailhead, a short 2-mile hike with a fantastic summit view. But the AT treks beautiful forest north of Big Cedar Mountain, worth a deeper hike into the wilderness. This hike departs the summit, following the iconic, white rectangular blazes of the Appalachian Trail and trailing northbound toward Blood Mountain.

The trail descends elevation after passing a campsite at 1.45 miles, diving through a fern-filled, shady forest.

Hike the Appalachian Trail from Woody Gap in North Georgia, exploring a lush, green, fern-filled forest

The AT loops in a wide arc through Augerhole Gap at 1.75 miles, trailing through sharp switchbacks. Rolling mountain views emerge through the treeline in a rocky, ferny deciduous forest before the trail crosses a trickling stream at 2.3 miles. The Appalachian Trail begins a descent at 2.6 miles, passing two large campsites. The AT passes a junction with the Dockery Lake Trail on trail right and a large campsite on the left at 3 miles. The AT levels elevation, crossing Lance Creek at 3.35 miles via a wooden bridge in a beautiful foliage-filled creek valley. Level tent pads offer fantastic creekside campsites near Lance Creek, accessible via a side trail at 3.5 miles.

The AT continues its northbound journey, gaining elevation as it departs the Lance Creek campsites and crossing a stream at 4 miles. The trail levels elevation at 4.4 miles, grabbing views of neighboring summits through the treeline on trail right. After passing a campsite at 4.6 miles, the trail rolls elevation through a series of wide switchbacks in a leafy hardwood forest.

Hike the Appalachian Trail from Woody Gap to Jarrard Gap in North Georgia, exploring a forest filled with native wildflowers

The trail crosses a spring just before reaching Jarrard Gap at 5.8 miles. From here, the Appalachian Trail continues north towards Blood Mountain, passing a large group campsite on the trail’s left. The Jarrard Trail departs to the left, hiking 1.15 miles to the glassy mountaintop waters of Lake Winfield Scott. Wildflowers, including native trillium, carpet the forest floor near Jarrard Gap in late spring.

This hike turns around, hiking south to retrace its steps on the AT over Big Cedar Mountain, reaching the trailhead at 11.6 miles and completing the adventure.

Woody Gap backpacking & camping

Excellent campsites dot this hike’s length, including campsites near the stunning, long-range views at the Big Cedar Mountain summit. Backpack to one of the many campsites along the Appalachian Trail (view the trail map for locations) – or camp at one of the sites near the parking area. All campsites on the Appalachian Trail are first-come, first-camp, so start your hike early the best pick of the campsites.

The campsites are located in the Blood Mountain Wilderness, where black bear are active. Overnight food storage in a bear-resistant canister is required at campsites on the Appalachian Trail from Jarrard Gap to Neels Gap from March 1 through June 1. And due to heavy campsite use near Blood Mountain, campfires are prohibited on the AT from Jarrard Gap to Neels Gap.

More Appalachian Trail adventures at Woody Gap

Easily add mileage to this hike, or create an overnight backpacking adventure by continuing on the Appalachain Trail from Jarrard Gap to Blood Mountain. The AT passes the Jarrard Trail and the Slaughter Creek Trail, and an intersection with the Duncan Ridge Trail, which connects to Vogel State Park via the Coosa Backcountry Trail. The AT descends from Blood Mountain to Neels Gap, and continues its northbound journey to Cowrock Mountain.

And departing south from Woody Gap, the Appalachian Trail hikes to Gooch Gap, catching beautiful views from the Ramrock Mountain summit.


Appalachian Trail, Woody Gap to Jarrard Gap Map, Directions & Details

This map is not a substitute for official trail maps or topographic maps.

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This trail is maintained thanks to the hard work of countless volunteers and donations from supporters of the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club. Please support them by making a donation or joining a volunteer day. Let's work together to keep these fantastic trails maintained and open for use!

Driving Directions



Parking

Free parking is available at the trailhead.


GPS Coordinates

34.677883, -83.999550     //     N34 40.673 W83 59.973

Elevation Profile

Appalachian Trail: Woody to Preachers Rock at Big Cedar Mountain and Jarrard Gap Elevation Profile
 
 
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Eric Champlin
Author

Eric Champlin is a writer and photographer who loves to hike, run, backpack, kayak and cycle the southeast. He’s the editor and founder of Atlanta Trails, Asheville Trails, and Trailful, digital magazines that highlight the South’s best outdoor adventures and top Southern-worthy outdoor gear. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.