Springer Mountain: hiking the Appalachian Trail
Hike the Appalachian Trail to Springer Mountain on this two mile adventure, visiting the southernmost blaze of the AT in Georgia and catching gorgeous summit views.
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 proximity to Ellijay, one of Georgia’s favorite weekend getaway cities, and the tumbling cascades of Georgia’s tallest waterfall, Amicalola Falls, draws hikers to its network of trails. This rocky mountain summit is most notably home to the southernmost blaze of the Appalachian Trail, the epic-length, much-revered long distance trail that spans over 2,000 miles from North Georgia to Maine.
This relatively short Springer Mountain hike climbs to the much-loved summit on the Appalachian Trail, making a moderately challenging, rocky ascent. It’s a beautiful hike in any season, but especially scenic when wildflowers bloom in abundance along the trail in warm summertime months, and when autumn’s colorful hues paint the surrounding hardwood forest in an array of beautiful fall color.
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, and following the iconic, white rectangular blazes of the Appalachian Trail. The hike begins its ascent to the mountain’s summit, quickly gaining elevation as it turns southward in a broad curve. Views start to extend from the right side of the trail through tree trunks and foliage, partially revealing the beautiful views waiting 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, reaching a signed intersection with the Benton MacKaye Trail. The BMT departs left from the junction, creating an alternate loop around Springer’s eastern slopes. (Check out the Springer Mountain Loop on the Benton MacKaye Trail for incredible views from a nearby summit overlook.)
This hike continues its ascent on the Appalachian Trail, and passes a blue-blazed side trail leading to the Springer Mountain AT shelter and campground. The trail reaches the Springer summit at just under one mile.
A bronze plaque on the summit commemorates the final, southernmost white blaze of the Appalachian Trail, the start (or end) of an epic adventure for thru-hikers on their 2,000+ mile journey. 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. A blue-blazed trail, the AT Approach Trail, leads southbound from the summit, traveling just over 7 miles to the crest of Amicalola Falls and connecting to the Len Foote Hike Inn Trail.
After soaking in the view, this hike departs the mountain’s summit, retracing the Appalachian Trail in a northbound descent to the trailhead. The hike reaches the parking area at just under 2 miles, completing the adventure.
Springer Mountain on the Appalachian Trail Map, Directions & Details
Free parking is available at the Springer Mountain trailhead. Trailhead access is via a gravel Forest Service road.
34.637467, -84.195317 // N34 38.248 W84 11.719
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