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Springer Mountain via AT Approach Trail, GA
mini location map2019-06-04
13 by photographer avatarDaytripper
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Springer Mountain via AT Approach Trail, GA 
Springer Mountain via AT Approach Trail, GA
Hiking avatar Jun 04 2019
Hiking19.59 Miles 4,225 AEG
Hiking19.59 Miles   9 Hrs      2.33 mph
4,225 ft AEG      35 Mns Break12 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This hike starts by Amicalola Falls, Cherokee for tumbling waters, the tallest cascading falls east of the Mississippi, then leads to the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, and by using the Hike Inn trail you can also travel by the Len Foote Hike Inn, often the first or last stop for thru hikers,it’s only hiker accessible. You enter the Amicalola State Park near Ellijay ,Ga. , pay the $5 parking fee and go to the visitor center where you can start and take a short path leading to the base of the falls. Just a note here if one does not want to hike the approach trail there is info on locals that will shuttle you to Springer Mountain trail head which only leaves you a less than 2 mile hike to the start of the AT. Would recommend this for thru AT hikers to save a day. Back to the hike it starts with a bang, one wonderful cascading waterfall and then 175 steps to climb ! After the top of the falls the blue blazed Approach Trail shares a stretch with the green blazed Hike Inn Trail which it also intersects with later and could provide a 10 mile loop hike if the summit is not desired. At the first gravel road crossing came up on 2 overnight backpackers with their dog Nelson a look alike for my own golden doodle. Soon walked by a tent campsite while being passed by a trail runner, then 2 high school age boys flew by who I later met at the summit. Along the way two other backpackers one of who reported a bear encounter earlier in the day. Another 10 coming down from doing the 10 mile loop, suffice it to say there otherwise are significant stretches of solitude on this trail. The hike travels through typical deciduous forest with occasional views between foliage and trees but not suitable for decent pictures. After ascending Amicalola Mountain the trail gradually then steeply descends to Nimblewill gap before ascending Black Mountain, some stretches of trail littered with white marble rock was not expected. Before Black Mountain is the intersection of the Hike InnTrail about 3 miles from the summit and at Nimblewill gap a plaque about a 1968 plane crash. Continuing on there is an available water source when your about 6 miles in to the hike, then in a short distance the Black Gap AT shelter appears and another water source is nearby. To finish this portion it’s a workout to the summit with a steep climb via several switchbacks. There were about 15 people at the summit most coming from the Springer Mountain Trailhead, the summit is not a bald so don’t expect to get any awesome view pictures. Opened the trail register , many entries from day hikers to the summit, did not see any thru hikers today but its late in the season, after about 20 minutes of resting and gathering info from locals started back down. The descent and ascent from Nimblewill gap is challenging when tired still but decided to return by the Hike Inn Trail , adding an extra 2 miles, Glad I did , the grade seemed gentler , views were better and there were several picturesque stream crossings plus you can tour the Len Foote Hike Inn. I went to the desk at the bunk house and spoke to the gentleman at the desk , said they can take 40 hikers per night, only 35 there today, it appears like a dormitory or barracks like facility. Bath house with multiple restrooms,showers etc. ,dining facility were long tables for family style eating. This was empty but they had snacks and containers of tea and coffee available, so I grabbed a coffee and put a 1/4 pound of sugar in it and had a slice of the best pound cake ever. To ease any guilt I put a few dollars in their donation box. Despite the caffeine and sugar high the 5 miles back to the Approach Trail junction seem to drag on. Very long and enjoyable day with temps in the 60’s and 70’s all day,still used all the 3 liters of water carried.
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