Springer Mountain in southern Fannin County in Georgia is the start of a two thousand plus mile hike to Maine's Mount Katahdin known as the Appalachian Trail.
View From Springer Mountain
Most people hike the trail Georgia to Maine. As the trail follows the eastern ridge of the Appalachian Mountains it passes through fourteen states. Since hikers like to start the six month hike in April, Georgia's warm climate plays a role in this. When hikers are in condition to handle it, the roughest part of the trail in Maine and New Hampshire is saved for last.
Running from Springer Mountain on the Fannin Gilmer line to Bly Gap, where the trail enters North Carolina, Georgia has almost eighty miles of the Appalachian Trail. Those who decide to hike the Georgia portion of this National Scenic Trail, some excellent backpacking adventures await.
To the Springer Mountain Parking lot, the Appalachian Trail begins at Springer and follows a rocky ridge line nearly due north. Before reaching Three Forks, it ascends and descends Rich Mountain. To form Noontootla Creek, this is the well known confluence of Chester, Long, and Stover Creeks.
One of the area's most popular waterfalls is nearby, from here the trail climbs near and along Long Creek to Long Creek Falls. The Duncan Ridge Trail begins and the Benton MacKaye Trail comes off to the left a few steps after this waterfall.
Long Creek Falls
From here the Appalachian Trail begins the climb to Hawk Mountain and makes a wide right turn. You leave Fannin County and enter Union County, as you walk along the ridge before Hawk Mountain. From the top of this peak there is a scenic view of the Etowah River Valley headwaters.
Hawk Mountain Looking South
At Hightower Gap, the Appalachian Trail then returns to Forest Service Road 42. Home to the Swinging Bridge on the Benton MacKaye Trail and the Chattahoochee Fish Hatchery, this gap is where Forest Service Road 69, ends.
Swinging Bridge On The Benton MacKaye Trail
There are three shelters for hikers on the Appalachian Trail:
Springer Mt. Shelter
Hawk Mountain Shelter
Note: 14.9 miles, the next shelter is on Gooch Mountain, after Hawk Mountain.
Gooch Mountain Shelter
One parking area on FS 58 at Three Forks that is heavily used because of Long Creek Falls, and two parking areas on FS 42, Hightower Gap and Springer Mt. So, there are a total of 3 day use parking lots, covering the Fannin County portion of the Appalachian Trail.
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