MORE INFORMATION: Appalachian Trail Conservancy 799 West Washington Street Harpers Ferry, WV 25425 (304) 535-6331
HIGHLIGHTS: The southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail is located at Springer Mountain in the Chattahoochee National Forest. The nearest road is U.S. Forest Service Road 42 which is located 0.9 miles northbound on the A.T. Many hikers that plan a day, overnight, or long distance trip on the Trail start from this USFS parking area. The lot, however, is about two hours from Amicalola Falls State Park and many long distance hikers choose to start their journey on the A.T. from the base of the falls at the State Park.
The Approach Trail is a connector trail to the Appalachian Trail and the 8.1 mile blue-blazed route starts at the visitors center in Amicalola Falls State Park. It is a very difficult ascent and a surprisingly challenging descent. The reason is that Woody Knob, Frosty Mountain and Black Mountain are located on this route and there is a fair amount of elevation change regardless of your direction. If you choose to ascend from the base of Amicalola Falls (1,700 feet) to Springer Mountain (3,782 feet) you will climb well over 2000 feet by the time you reach Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the A.T.
I’ve hiked the Approach Trail numerous times in both directions, but my most memorable is undoubtedly the first trip in 1994 when I started my thru-hike. After lugging 57 pounds up and down mountains all day, I was really happy to reach the summit of Springer Mountain and see the last blue blaze of the Approach Trail and the first white blaze of the Appalachian Trail.