Springer Mountain in Southern Fannin County, GA is the Start of the Appalachian Trail!


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
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.

Appalachian Mountains
Appalachian Mountains, springer mountain

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
Long Creek Falls, springer mountain

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
Hawk Mountain Looking South, springer mountain

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
Swinging Bridge On The Benton MacKaye Trail, springer mountain

There are three shelters for hikers on the Appalachian Trail:

  • 0.2 miles after the start of the Appalachian Trail, Springer Mountain Shelter - Privy and spring for water

Springer Mt. Shelter
Springer Mountain Shelter, springer mountain

  • 2.5 miles, Stovall Creek Shelter - Water from Stovall Creek

  • 7.6 miles, Hawk Mountain Shelter in Union County - Privy, water from headwaters of Long Creek

Hawk Mountain Shelter
Hawk Mountain Shelter, springer mountain

Note: 14.9 miles, the next shelter is on Gooch Mountain, after Hawk Mountain.

Gooch Mountain Shelter
Gooch Mountain Shelter, springer mountain

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.

Hightower Gap
Hightower Gap, springer mountain

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