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Fun hike. Rim of the gap trail gets a bit technical in parts. Trail is very well blazed but its important to pay close attention while on Rim Of The Gap (yellow), some parts are a bit iffy but I always found a blaze within 50 feet of questionable areas. All and all great trail. Would recommend to any experienced hiker.

Went in counterclockwise with some nice rock scrambles but up on the rim the storm has almost made it impassable.We went about a half mile in a hour then just gave up on following the trail and went cross-country until we finally picked the trail up later.Made us late getting into Sawmill and we exited the River trail on Sunday which in a nice workout.Overall a good weekend but would have liked to have had a heads up on the storm damage on the rim trail

great hike, but be prepared. it is not an easy trail. this loop transitions from a well maintained trail to steep stone steps, to rock hopping across areas where no trail is defined. the stagecoach rd is amazing, when you think of how it was built, hiking up it, know it is a long steep grade on a rock road. the rim trail leaving the stagecoach rd is your typical trail, and easy hiking untill it gets back around to the point it has to cross Collins river. it becomes more difficult there with some rock hopping.

overall I liked it, the camp sites are nice, water is plentiful, while it is not an easy loop, it is not overly difficult. it is well marked.

[TL;DR: Solid trail, good workout. Varied terrain so you won't get bored. Watch out for false trails.]

First, if you're reading this close to the date of this post, go now. The leaves just started really changing color about a week ago, and now it is in full swing. Lots of pines, but in the deciduous areas it is all red and gold. The trail is casually beautiful, with the occasional stunner just laying nonchalantly in full view of the trail. Waterfalls, cliffs, boulder fields, etc.

Second, someone below said this is harder that Fiery Gizzard; I would disagree. I would say it is equal to Fiery Gizzard to Raven's Point Loop, but with a different kind of difficulty. I would compare it more closely to Lower Loop at Fall Creek Falls, but with rougher paths and more and longer scrambles.

You will have a scramble on either side of the trail head. The one to the right (counterclockwise) is more continuous, with no real flat spots until you're out of the scramble. The one to the left (clockwise) is not a continuous scramble, but seemed more difficult due to a number of odd angles and weird transitions. I would call them equally difficult, but in different ways. I would recommend going to the right from trailhead, though, if only because the left-hand side gives you a beautiful spot to appreciate once you get close to trailhead on the way back.

Outside of the scrambles the path tends to be very broken and rough, but nothing worrisome. You will need to cross 4-5 streams, so keep an eye on the rain and prepare accordingly.

The ascent on the way back is fairly rapid, but not too much so.

I will note that I cut the loop close to the end: I cut across the connector trail by the sawmill campsite instead of completing the last nub of the loop, trying to save 30 minutes to an hour as I was racing sunset (late start, thanks Google Maps). It was a good choice, as I made it back to the parking lot just in time for a golden sunset. I carry night gear, but doing a scramble in the dark on a new trail did not seem like a good idea.

One important warning I haven't seen anyone else mention: there are false trails everywhere. Some seen ike abandoned paths, some for locals, some seem natural, but it is very easy to go off trail here. I went down two false trails (one even had a wooden ramp along a cliff edge), and I ran into two groups that had lost members further back on the trail, which I hadn't seen. One very tricky spot is when you cross the suspension bridge when heading couter-clockwise. Once over that there'll be a small footbridge. At that point the trail will be slightly behind your right shoulder; take an immediate right. Someone has tried to block the false trail (immediately in front if the footbridge) with a wall of branches, but it just looks like trail debris. Lots of blazes down, so when in doubt, just stop and break out the app, otherwise you'll be off trail and have no idea.

All in all, a good day trail. I completed 13 miles in about 8 hours, counting breaks, without being in any great rush (cutting to the connector did help). Bear in mind with the varied terrain and scrambles your speed is not going to remain steady. Also remember that you've have a moderately long scramble wanting for you at the end of the trail no matter which way you go, so don't exhaust yourself. Everyone I met on trail was overnighting, but you shouldn't have a problem doing a day hike.

Stunningly beautiful day and nobody is at Springer Mountain which is unusual

did this trail Oct 13. nice trail. not the best rim trail. there is a huge mistake on this trail map. I took the trail to the gulf first on advice from a hiking pro. saving the bolder field for last. better than a 3 mile up hill out of the gulf. If you do this route please note that when you get to Sawmill Camp take the connector trail to the right just past the foot bridge. The map on here shows you going on the river bed and making a large loop to the stagecoach trail. I tried to blaze this trail but lost track of the trail. Had to backtrack to the bridge. If there was a trail there it would add around a mile and a half. Which it did add 1 mile on my hike going in and back out. Just watch for the connector trail on the right past the bridge. It takes you to the Stagecoach.

October 15-16. This was rated hard and I agree. We hiked half a day stayed the night just after the “Cheesecake Factory “ water source but just before Tray Mountain shelter (we knew the shelter was going to be full, and wanted some peacefulness) we had a beautiful view. Watched the sunrise the next morning from our tent. I can’t say enough about this spot. Then hiked out. It was a great hike to test and challenge yourself.

Ps. If anyone could share WHY that water source is called “the Cheesecake Factory” please do.

This trail can be started from several different points. The Alltrails map guide has you starting at the bottom of the 425 steps of the falls (which are a must see). I think you might enjoy it better if you view the falls and then drive to the upper falls parking lots. The trail is rated as moderate which I think may deserve an asterisk * verifying with or without overnight pack. I did the hike with a 36 lbs. pack that made it much more than moderate. The trail was well marked and well maintained, there was a point were I reached a fork in the trail the right trail led to the Hike Inn and the left was the AT approach trail. Looking at my app it didn't look as if the trails came out at the same spot but they do at the 3.4 miles to go sign beyond the Hike Inn, so that would have been nice to know I really wanted to walk through the Lenn Foote Inn.

This is a great section of the AT. I have done this hike several times and still enjoy it just as much as I did the first time.

Ok, view of woods mostly, not any water source until towards the end of hike near Springer.

I completed the trail on Oct 3, 2018. Some challenging ascend in certain sections but overall it was a good work out with some beautiful views. After multiple hikers asked me for wasp nest , I was eventually got stung by one and it hurt and last few days but its all part of the wilderness experience.
Since it was a week day, the trail was not crowded at all. I came across maybe 10 hikers and one gentleman who was there to maintain the trail.

It was a great trip!
we went South to start, did river crossing 1st and 2nd day, hiked falls spur 2nd day without packs, climbed 1400 ft 3rd day. North end from spur to parking lot going east, I didn't like that part. But I'm not in the best of shape, that s*** straight up folks! Trails were mostly easy to see at river crossing, just gotta look for blue (mostly-some white) blazes across the river.

I feel like it should be rated Hard instead of Moderate! Lots of fun!

Our 2nd time hiking Jacks River in, and like last time the river crossings can get very slippery on the rocks with many crossings containing a moderately heavy current. We set up camp where Jacks River and Penitentiary Branch trails met, and took Jacks River Trail a little further all the way to the falls.

First time taking Penitentiary Branch Trail out and it was rough the next morning as it’s mostly incline. Saw bear droppings but luckily no bears! Lots of horse droppings on both trails.

Be mindful of nature and pick up after yourself if camping! Saw lots of plastic bottles, cans, and wrappers. :(

~19 miles total

We attempted this loop last winter. After reading how much work, and not a lot of payoff the Old butt knob portion was, we decided to take the Shining Creek Path up to the Art Loeb trail, and finish the loop back from there. First off, either way you cut it, that trail was absolutely NO JOKE. As a pretty seasoned hiker and recent Army vet with tons of rugged terrain and rucking under my belt, that first stretch to the Art Loeb absolutely destroyed us. We had every intention of taking 2 1/2 days and doing the full loop, after the 1st day of getting my butt handed to me from almost sun-up to sun-down, we decided to turn around and call the trip early and hiked back down and out the next day. Will not be attempting this one again without better conditioning.

Great trail with beautiful views. We stared at the Unicoi Gap trailhead next to the App Trail sign and logged 11.6 miles out and back.

This trail is a more strenuous than “moderate”. I really enjoyed it but considering the elevation and the steep climbs, many quite rocky I would err to rate this more “hard”. I took this trail and veered off to the the Len Foote Hike Inn trail, this was an 11 mi loop back to the park and well worth it as the Hike in trail was a good balance to this strenuous trail.

In my opinion some of the best views and waterfalls in the park. We started at Collins West trailhead and made the trek to Sawmill campsite #2 then dumped our packs put our tents up then decided to take the short trip over to the historic cabin built in 1910 .Very cool little cabin sitting in a green field. The next morning we took the Connector Trail over to Stagecoach and then over to the South Rim Trail and out to the Savage Gulf Ranger Station. I'll spare you the true details about how we ended up waaay over there at the ranger station instead of the CG loop back to to Collins West trailhead...

hiking
2 months ago

I started around 7:30am and got to the top of springer mountain at about 10. The ascent to Springer is pretty rough, but well worth it. I also took the Len Foote trail back to Amicalola Falls which I’m happy I did. There is a little more to look at. Overall, this is definitely one of my favorite hikes to date.

This trail has it all without busting your hump.
The only thing missing is a big expansive view hence not (busting your hump) but it certainly gives you everything else. Jacks river is a clean and healthy river with lots of shallow swimming holes. Rhododendrons abound alongside wild azaleas under large trees of every kind.
Very nice campsites with fire rings.
There are trees down from a recent storm.
We didn’t see anyone during the week and only a few over the weekend.
A Great leisure trail for hikers of all kind.

Trail was good even with all the blow downs from past storms. The trail crews hadn’t made it all the way down Jacks River Trail so if you’re not confident in your ability to spot a trail when it’s not clearly marked I’d suggest maybe avoiding this one alone. The river wasn’t high at most thigh deep in some spots and I’m only 5’9. Overall great overnight trip and will repeat in the future.

awesome hike!!!! not for the inexperienced

We did the loop from Looking Glass overlook in an anticlockwise direction, and omitted Black Balsam for a total of 11 miles and 2300 ft of rise. Very nice moderate walk with a variety of scenery. The trail is quite overgrown by Ivestor Gap but not so much that you loose it. Watch out for the stream crossings on Greasy as the rocks can be slick but the water depth is usually low.

Rim trial is very narrow, some places almost non existent. Lots of rocky river bed trail on Jones Gap. Do not recommend taking dogs on this loop. a few ladders to climb.

Hit the trail at 7am just as the sun was coming up. Made it to Springer by 10. Very quiet, peaceful trail. Not much in the way of views until you get there. Chose to take the Hike Inn loop on the return. Was happy I did. There are more views on this trail and a couple pretty little water features. Made it back to the car just after 2pm finishing 17.5 miles. I brought a 3L camelpak and drank almost all of it. It was a great hike and one I’m happy to check off my list.

backpacking
3 months ago

Parked at Amicalola and headed up around 2:30, hoping to make it it Spring before dark. Hike was moderate in most places with some flat breaks. No water sources in the first 2/3 of the trail so bring plenty of water. Plenty of camp sites for those who may not want to go the distance. No views, just calm forest trail. Great community of hikers up at Springer.

This was my third hike and my first one in August. The area looks completely different in the summer and not nearly as pretty as winter or fall. The spring was just a trickle. According to my tracker which is Wickiloc it was right at 14 miles, which when you are dead tired at 12.6 that extra mile or so is a killer. Do this COUNTER CLOCKWISE. Get the really bad boulder field out of the way at the beginning. This is really more suited as an overnight hike that a day hike. Just take plenty of water and give yourself way more time than you think you will need. The difficulty is up there with the Fiery Gizzard (maybe even more difficult). You are gonna feel it for a few days afterwards.

Very nice loop if you like a challenge! We did it without modifications. Sometimes the trails are hard to find. Two unexpected river/creek crossings. Dicey and some got wet boots. Did this August 23. Trails were completely overgrown in places and covered with grasses. It moved slow. It took us 10 hours. Our total miles were 13.8 instead of what AllTrails said. I would not have rated this hike moderate with a total of over 3000+ elevation gain. Very diverse and the river and falls were beautiful. I could not have done this without the AllTrails GPS helping me find the right trails. Many are unmarked and confusing.

We hiked this trail by accident. we were actually trying to find another trail head and finally gave up and decided we'd do the trail we could find which ended up being the AT Approach. we only did about 5.5 miles in and then 5.5 miles back as we got a late start. we really enjoyed this trail and two weeks later decided to go back and do another trail that meets up with this one (Len Foote Trail I believe it is called). great shade cover and a decent amount of elevation change so it feels challenging in both directions. we hiked this trail on Saturday 7/28/18.

I completed this trail as a day hike. It is extremely beautiful. The mileage and strenuous rating are accurate. The path is extremely rocky along the old stagecoach section, and there are boulder scrambles in both directions from the beginning of the loop. This is a really nice hike, but I would recommend less experienced hikers build up to this trail and allot plenty of time for completion. Big Creek Gulf and Rim trails are easier and may be a good test run before venturing this way.

This place is tranquil and glorious. The hike is quiet and let’s you get into nature without the loud packs of people and airplanes over head. If you’re trying to get out of town and hike your heart out this is the place. The falls are beautiful. Don’t miss this!

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