Dedicated to Mara's travel and hiking adventure journals as well as her words of wisdom and suggested resources for hikers and travelers.
Approach Trail from Amicalola to Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail starts on top of Springer Mountain in northern Georgia. The nearest road is a U.S. Forest Service dirt road, about a mile up the trail from the summit of Springer Mountain. The nearest paved road goes to Amicalola Falls State Park, where the Southern Terminus Approach Trail leads about 8.5 miles from the park to the summit of Springer Mountain. It's much easier to get to the park than the Forest Service dirt road.
Many thruhikers consider the approach trail to be a sort of honor badge. Many other hikers consider it to just plain be easier and cheaper to get a ride to the park than it would be to the Forest Service road. Yet other hikers could care less about the approach trail, considering it just plain "extra" miles that aren't on the A.T. and therefor have no desire to hike the approach trail. A few weeks down the trail, and most hikers are grumbling about an extra couple of tenths of a mile to get to town, much less extra miles.
Many hikers planning their thruhikes wonder whether or not it's worth it to do the approach trail.
At the start of my thruhike, I did the approach trail and thought it was a nice hike. I am glad I did it. When I went back to Georgia two years later to hike for a week in March, I didn't do it but that was because the timing wasn't going to work out with the limited time I had.
It does seem to make a difference if you're in shape or not. I talked with a bunch of other people on the trail and those who were used to hiking in mountains seemed to like the approach. Those who weren't, didn't like it. There's a lot of climbing compared to starting at Springer.
Whether or not you hike the approach trail, the falls at Amicalola are well worth a short detour. You don't see them if you drive straight to Springer.
One more thing; if you ever want to offer an educated opinion about whether or not to do the approach, you've got to have done it, right? ;-}
Last updated, August 3, 2006.
Tips and Tricks
Gear Reviews and Discussions
AT FAQ and Stats
Trip Reports Gear Lists Mail Drops About Me Acknowledgements Photos Updates Fun Email Mara